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Friday, September 17, 2021

Column: Domesticity at its finest

I’m a housewife in training.

Living with my boyfriend Arthur has helped fine-tune all my domestic expertise, particularly in the fields of laundry, cleaning and nagging. (Arthur tackles the cooking. It’s a sign of the Apocalypse when I set foot in the kitchen.)

So while you and your friends are out partying, drinking a little too much and taking pictures that you’ll soon de-tag once they show up on Facebook, Arthur and I are at home, enjoying the pasta he made and hanging our jeans in the closet. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Take last Wednesday night, for instance. Instead of reading Jane Eyre for class like a good boy, I was in the living room, cuddled up with Arthur, watching TBS. Anticipating an upcoming “Sex and the City” rerun, I reluctantly sat through an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

From what I remember, Ray and Debra were in a huge argument over a can opener. The fight then grew to include Frank and Marie before becoming a “men versus women” shout fest.

So there I was, as happy and home-loving as can be, being bombarded with the less pleasant end of domestic life. I was content and cuddly, while the characters of the show were arguing worse than gays do while debating the age-old “Britney vs. Beyonce” squabble.

I got to thinking. Sure, I could easily tell you that home life with Arthur is always peachy and happy-go-lucky. But that’s not always true.

He and I have been Ray and Debra many a time, arguing over complete nonsense. To be honest, some of the things we argue about tend to not matter at all, nor do they deserve the huge dispute. One of us always ends up crying after a blowup over uncapped toothpaste, clutter or forgetting to put the juice back in the fridge. Our biggest tiff: I get angry because I think he’s ignoring me when he really isn’t. Stupid, right?

The point is even the best of us have tempers – and within a relationship, those tempers get tested. No matter how perfect you think your relationship is or how well you two get along – or even how great the sex is – arguments will happen. They’re natural and inevitable. So don’t be frontin’ about how you and your partner never fight or always agree on everything because that’s more of a fairy tale than Cinderella.

I’ll admit it: I’m really stubborn. I tend to not find anything wrong with what I did or said that made Arthur upset with me. I always see myself as the “right one” in the altercation and I’m quick to make Arthur apologize. (Sorry, baby.)

What a lot of us (including me) don’t always realize is there are two sides to every argument, and there isn’t always a right or wrong. It’s not fair to blame your partner for everything. (Unless the whore cheated on you – that’s when you push his or her ass in front of a moving bus.)

From my own experiences, I’ve learned that, yes, it’s a lost cause trying to avoid an argument. Something your partner says or does will get under your skin. It could build up if you don’t express how you feel from the very beginning. Then when you explode, the ugly side you don’t ever want your partner to see is revealed.

So my advice is this: If you get in argument with your other half, be rational and talk. We all know it’s best to talk it through, but sometimes we hold back. Don’t do that. Get everything out on the table, in the open, in each other’s faces. It may sting a bit, but you’ll be happier in the long run when you’re upfront with each other.

Don’t blame your partner. I doubt any of your partners would intentionally hurt you (save assholes) so give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t call them a liar, don’t say they don’t care about you and don’t ever get too dramatic.

Let your guard down. This can be hard if you’re like me because I’m rather hardheaded and think I’m always right. But if you really care for your partner, you’ll hear him or her out and remember that they have feelings, too.

Never get physical. Use words, not fists – unless your boyfriend is Tiger Woods and you caught him sleeping with 20 other women, in which case you can go ahead and do some damage.

If the fighting never seems to fade for you and your partner and you get into it every day, then perhaps staying in the relationship isn’t healthy. If you’ve done all you can to try to work your problems out and they don’t seem to get any better, maybe calling it quits is the only option. Constantly being at each other’s throats is not fair to either of you – you don’t need it. So take a deep breath and start thinking about the perfect “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.

So remember, arguments will happen. But hey, along with fights comes the hot, make-up sex.

MARIO LUGO is working on his stubbornness and trying not to let things get to him so much. If you, too, need to work on your temper, e-mail him at mlugo@ucdavis.edu for some assistance.

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