My Dad Never Taught Me How to Argue

It’s Affecting My Relationship.

In the 20 plus years I’ve been breathing, I have never seen my parents fight. So, I am ill-prepared for this battle…

It’s Friday night after 9. I’m walking past my house to the other side of a parking lot and see a silver car with the headlights on. It’s mid-July, so it’s dark but not midnight black outside. I walk up to the car’s back window and make a goofy face to the person in the back. All I hear is “hehehe” faintly through the window. 

My girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter (Who I’ll call N to protect her privacy) is laughing at the faces I’m making. I’m smiling. She’s smiling. N’s mom is not smiling.

I hear the driver’s side window roll down, and my girlfriend Jessica starts staring into my soul. Her face is screaming “How dare you” as she doesn’t say a word.

Finally, Jessica says “What happened babe” in a voice appearing calm but has a hint of anger.

I don’t answer, but suggest we can talk inside.

I was supposed to meet her over an hour ago. Instead, she and N have been sitting in her car waiting for me to arrive.

I know I’m in trouble. This is an argument waiting to happen. 

Problem is, I suck at arguing.

It’s a skill my father never taught me.

In the 20 plus years I have been breathing, I have never seen my dad feud with my mom.

So, I am ill-prepared for this battle.

After about a minute, Jessica hops out of the car and grabs her stuff. Jessica, N, and I take the 2-minute stroll from the parking lot to my house. Jessica and I are quiet. N is screaming in joy as we are walking.

We get inside, head up the stairs to my room, and N proceeds to play with her toys. The tension is thick. After 10 or so minutes, I look at Jessica and say “Babe, let’s talk”. 

She says “Okay”. She proceeds to tell me she feels I wasted her time, and if I didn’t want to see her, I should’ve just told her. I can see the disappointment in her eyes.

I know I’m wrong, but rage starts to cloud my mind. I begin thinking about all the times I waited for her. I think of all the times I sat in my car and never complained.

My mind makes a mental checklist of all the reasons Jessica is wrong:

  • I should be upset she is questioning me! 
  • I made one mistake and now I’m the bad guy! 
  • I’ve done right by her, so why not let me slide once!

I let those thoughts come in. 

Then I think about my dad. I’ve seen my dad disagree with my mom, but they always seem to find a solution.

I tell Jessica “I’m sorry. I never intended for you to feel that way. I know it seems like I don’t care about your time. I did and I do.”

We talk it out and begin to see each other’s viewpoints. 

We didn’t raise our voices.

We didn’t disrespect each other.

We expressed how we both felt.

After talking for ten minutes, we squashed our argument and moved on.

This is how my girlfriend and I deal with our issues. A quick ten-minute talk followed by apologies. 

The way we disagree wouldn’t make the cut of everyone’s favorite reality show, but that works for us. 

We’ve both had contentious relationships and learned that’s not what we want. 

I’ve never seen my parents argue, and they are about to celebrate 35 years of marriage.

Our goal is to have a relationship mirroring my parent’s success.

Shaquille Telford
A millennial trying to understand love.

1 Comment

  1. This was a good read . You’re very fortunate to have never seen your parents argue .

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