I have a theory.
For this theory, I'm going to divide people into two groups: those who are intense, and those who are moderate. Let's shorten that to I's and M's. If there are two types of people in the world, that means there are only three types of matches that can result: I+I, I+M, or M+M. Have I lost you with my algebraic equations yet?
Let's define our variables. I's are intense. These are the people with strong opinions, who have a hard time going with the flow, who don't tend to let the little things go. They demand better from the people around them. They are usually pretty extroverted and are comfortable being the center of attention. They fight for what they believe in and don't let people get away with bad behavior.
M's are moderate. These are the people who prefer to take a backseat and often keep their opinions to themselves. They don't mind letting someone else take the lead. They can be more introverted and often follow along in conversations. They're not comfortable with conflict and like listening rather than speaking.
Of course, these are generalities. Not all of this is completely accurate for each group. But it's a good place to start.
So where does the math come in?
I think that there are two kinds of relationships: those that are I+I, and those that are I+M. Earlier, I mentioned M+M. Let's discount that early on. M+M doesn't really exist because someone will assume the role of an I in order to propel the relationship forward. You can have two people who are M's individually, but when they are put together, one of them will take more initiative than the other.
Okay, so with M+M relationships out of the way, let's get to the crux of the matter.
I think fighting in relationships is a positive good. Not fighting and yelling and calling each other names, but disagreeing in a respectful way. Now, I may have this opinion because...wait for it...I'm in an I+I relationship. That means that both my husband and I are very intense. We argue because we expect each other to grow - we are not comfortable with either one of us remaining stagnant. We argue because we disagree on the things that matter and we demand respect from one another. Of course, you have to pick your battles. Fighting over the small things isn't worth the bickering that follows. In those moments, it's good to try to picture an M+M relationship and recognize that some things take time or aren't as important as you think. But I believe that having two I's in a relationship forces each partner to be better, because you're constantly faced with that expectation from your other half.
I+M relationships have their positives, too. There will definitely be less fighting, that I can guarantee, and maybe none at all. Things will be comfortable. Things will remain as they are, for the most part. And these couples will be more comfortable viewing their relationship as M+M (in the times when something insignificant seems worth arguing over) because the M partner is already in that frame of mind. But I think there's one thing lacking in I+M relationships - the pushback from the M to ask that the I partner change. As someone who naturally avoided conflict in the past, I've been the M partner in an I+M relationship. And it's comfortable much of the time because you don't butt heads. But the time will come when your I partner will do something that should be addressed, and as the M, you should find the wherewithal to respond.
I tend to promote I+I relationships because even though things are less comfortable, there is a constant upward motion that is encouraging. There's an awareness that you are both fighting for the best version of yourselves and your relationship. I think mixing in a little I+I into your I+M relationship can be a strong positive good, and I encourage you to try it if you're in the latter.
What kind of relationship are you in? If you're in an I+M relationship, what are the positives that I didn't address? Let me know in the comments!
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Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!