The first time you fight with someone you love is always overwhelming. It is unfamiliar territory, and your emotions race ahead of your reasoning skills because your brain is stuck on This isn’t supposed to happen to us. But life has this tendency to not give a fuck about supposed-tos, and here it is happening to the two of you anyway. You are fighting. Words are being exchanged, and though you have said worse things and worse things have been said to you, and still worse things will come out of both of your mouths in the future, the sheer unexpectedness of these words stings. You’ve been slapped in the face before, but somehow him raising his hand to shush you hurts more. He’s a jerk to so many people, but he’s never been a jerk to you.
The first time you fight with someone you love, you will be surprised to find yourself meaning the things you’re saying. You are the one who talks him up all the time. You are the one who tries to convince everyone else that he isn’t so bad. But all of a sudden you’ll be sick and tired of defending him and defending the two of you to everyone all the time, and you’ll realize that maybe the reason you’re always asking him for massages is because he stresses you out. You can’t believe you never realized that before. You didn’t know all this anger was inside of you, but it will feel so natural and justified and somehow right coming out of you, and it will take you a moment to recognize that feeling for what it is: relief. And relief will make you feel guilty, so you’ll slam the door and walk down the hall and you’ll be preparing yourself to leave when he’ll come into where you are and try to make excuses. You’ve heard all of his excuses before, and now that he has directed his douche-y-ness directly at you for the first time (to this degree, at least), you won’t be able to be bothered with them. You’ll tell him that if he insists upon acting like a douche, you’ll have no choice but to believe he simply IS one, and he’ll tell you he’s considering ending this thing the two of you have going.
At the end of your first fight with someone you love, you will be stunned. You will sit quietly trying to wrap your head around what just transpired between the two of you, and when the nastiness of it all settles in, you will fall apart quite suddenly. You will dissolve with the knowledge that you are not as safe in this as you believed. Your breath will become shallow as you chide yourself for getting so caught up in this, because you know that people fight all the time and the world keeps spinning. But you will be so uncomfortable with the truth of what you said that you cannot stop the tears from coming. At the same time, though, it will feel like you finally let out a breath that you’ve been holding for so long you forgot what air tasted like.
At the end of your first fight with someone you love, you will be hopelessly conflicted and confused. You’ll want everything to be okay again immediately, but you won’t want to take back anything you said because you meant it, and you won’t want to compromise on any of your principles after you realize you’ve secretly been compromising on them for quite some time. You will still love him, and you will still value this suddenly-no-longer-perfect relationship, but you will want to demand that things change. You will be terrified of actually making any demands (hell, making any contact), lest you drive him to act on his consideration.
At the end of your first fight with someone you love, the very first thing you’ll need is to talk to someone else you love, someone who can soothe you in a way the person you’re fighting with only manages by accident. The next thing you’ll need is to contact him in an innocuous manner like a three-page text message to say you handled things badly, but are hurt and angry and to imply that you need to talk. Then you’ll find yourself in bed and pantless and wanting to masturbate to distract yourself and feeling guilty about that. You’ll find yourself with your teeth pressing into your nail and stop yourself just before biting through it, because you promised yourself you’d outgrown that habit. You will reminisce about how a mere 9 hours ago, you were cuddling and burying your face in his body. You will want that comfort and safety more than anything. Two hours after you sent your texts, he will not have responded. Sleep will seem both impossibly lonely and like your only viable option.
The first time you fight with someone you love, you will remember anew that anger cannot negate love. You will hope with all your heart that he remembers this, too.