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Counseling/wounds from criticism during arguments

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Question
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I've been dating and living with my girlfriend (until recently) for about 7 years now and we've been having problems with:

1) Me being too critical during arguments,

and

2) her always bringing up the past and avalanching it on me in all fights, which she justifies because it relates to a past issue.

I explained it to her that: I am a big believer in fairness in all things that I do, but it is very difficult to be non-critical when you are outraged by something that you find is unacceptable for your significant other to do.

For example:
For my girlfriend's birthday one month ago (we were engaged at that point), she went drinking and eating with her male boss one on one for 5 hours at two different restaurants on a Monday night and got home at 11pm. She told me that she was going with her boss, and told me it is okay because she kept me in the loop the entire time she was there.

After their dinner, her boss followed up with flirty texts saying:

- He's sorry he blew our her birthday candles because he doesn't get out much.
- He "really enjoys her company a lot" and they should celebrate her birthday more often.

After waiting one day, I told her it is a deal breaker for me for her to continue all these outside of work activities with her male boss including: weekly one on one lunches and coffee--- especially when her boss clearly likes her based on the things he says to her at work, the $160 he spent on her for her birthday dinner, and the 5 hours he spent with her on a monday night knowing that she has a fiance.

She argued that it is part of her weekly routine, and she finds her lunches fun because she can get away from the office. She then said it was like she is losing a friend if she doesn't go to lunch or coffee with her boss and she does not have any friends. I said she can always go take another person from the workplace with her, and she said there's no one else to take with them.

She said that it is too controlling to make it a deal breaker for her to go to lunch or coffee with her boss one on on one.

I told her then well if your fun is more important than your relationship with me then I will just do my own thing.

Fast forward, we fight all week about it, and the Friday immediately after the monday when she went out, we get into an argument about how I think she should take her attorney bar exam because she will remove herself from that job situation and make more than $24 an hour.

She then said she can't deal with my critical arguments of her anymore and i've been critical in so many arguments we've had and it hasn't changed in 7 years and people should never have these type of critical arguments.

So she said she wants to break off the engagement and take a step back where we are just dating each other.

It is absolutely impossible to not be critical in situations like this.

In regards to her one on one lunches with her boss, I settled with: I want her to do whatever makes her happy but I wanted to warn her that "work spouse syndrome" is a real thing, and even though she may go to lunch or dinner with innocent intentions, she's giving her male boss who clearly likes her many opportunities one on one to build emotional rapport by doing so many one on one lunches and coffee runs together.

Do you have any advice on how I should handle this matter about her thinking that i'm unjustified to be critical in situations?

And how do I heal her past hurt of 7 years worth of critical arguments that she is holding against me?

Thank you so much for your time and help

Answer
Hi George,

How are you?  I hope you are doing well even though you are in a kind of struggle in your current relationship.  

I also would like to thank you for your time to ask me question re: your concern.  I understand that you are having a dilemma whether or not you are able to continue the relationship or not with your current fiance.  

First thing first, I would like to ask you if you are happy with her.  Are you happy with your relationship with her in a way that when you think of her you feel smiling and giggly.  You will know it in your heart and in your gut that there is a spirit of zest or joy even if you are not with her just imagining her being together will give you that optimism.  If you do feel that, then I am sure your love and relationship is worth fighting for.  

You know, George, sometimes relationship is being hold on or being kept by both parties because of pride.  You may thought it is still love that is in there but... at some level you are holding on to each other because of peer pressure - that is you want to belong to a society of certain age group like " you should have a girl or a wife or vice versa for the opposite sex" for the reason that you are stable in your career, because you are old enough to get married and the like.   If you consider your relationship right now - you've managed to enjoy the argument with your fiance because you have forgotten to be more like real partners because you felt like you are more concern of getting into a serious plan - stability and having a family like others.   There is nothing wrong with that, I assure as everyone dreams about having one.  

But at the very end of your e-mail, your fiance requested to have a step back just like the way you guys were dating each other.   That is because you guys are missing the "childlikeness" in a relationship.  

The seven years of critical arguments that she is holding against you can never be mend as she can and will bring it back to you all the time depending on how serious you guys are going to be.  Not that I am saying being serious is wrong but life is serious enough and if you get serious all the time it will just make things worst.

So before getting back to her, consider your feelings for her if it is really real or not and are you happy about getting into commitment with her.  

Secondly, if you feel that you are seriously in love with her, be gentle to ask her for another option to speak with a counselor.  Never ever say that you want this by giving a command that is give her an option; listen without interfering, let her speak her mind and her heart and just have a note to write down all the things you need to patch up with her.  

After she speaks; give her a notepad.  Tell her to write down what you feel, not what you think.

Thirdly: make a solution out of those list that you guys have.  I am sure that you guys can get down to something worth working for.

Again, be with someone who can help you professionally if the suggestion above is still not working.  

Have a blessed one and hopefully you can still win her over.  

Maia  

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Maia

Expertise

I can answer any counseling concern related to coping with stress, emotional imbalance, sibling rivalry, marital relationship, spiritual confusion that affected/affecting and will affect your well-being. I am not the usual "what is in the box!" type of counselor. I am very polite and gentle but direct to help you understand your situation. I also use pastoral technique to help you understand that human needs supernatural power from the source in order to cope with stressors. Please be informed that I am very much welcoming in any questions you would like to ask but PLEASE DON'T BE RUDE in the stating the subject/concern. ANY FOUL LANGUAGE can restrict me to entertain your queries. Thank you very much.

Experience

I am a Counselor with BS Behavioral Sciences degree. I have experienced in counseling both individual and groupd sessions. I have conducted a lot of workshops related to peer counseling and healthy mind body and spirit related topic. I did a couple of thesis counseling session when I used to work in a Medical College. I have been commended for my research work. My passion is to listen and be able to assist anyone who needs problem-solving solution.

Organizations
Psychological Educators' Society (2001-2004)

Education/Credentials
BS Behavioral Sciences Counselor for 5 years Researcher for 2 years Psychometrician for 2 years Adept in counseling, use of psychological testing and administration and interpretation/use e-clectic technique

Awards and Honors
Graduated with Honours (CLINICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT)

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