Thought Catalog

When You’re Just Too Fucking Stubborn NOT To Love Each Other

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Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

I’ve long considered my boyfriend of five years (or eight, depending on how you count) the actual Man Of My Dreams. But sometimes, I wonder if we can do forever. I don’t doubt that I love him with every morsel of my being. Still, I wonder if we’ll make it as a couple long-term simply because shit happens, no matter how much you love each other, and because relationships are hard work.

Our love is the passionate kind, and things between us are often beyond storybook awesome. We are best friends and confidantes. We are each other’s biggest supporters and truest fans. We adore each other’s bodies and brains. We are aligned in our everyday hopes and future dreams. The sex is unbelievable, the intimacy unmatched, and the bond underlying it all remarkably strong.

But when we fight, things get ugly fast, and we drive each other absolutely insane.

He says the nastiest things, and I let him—goad him, even. Truthfully, I enjoy watching him tumble further and further into darkness, anticipating just how far he’ll go each time. It’s sickening, really, how much I love witnessing him fall down the rabbit hole.

He can be mean. He can be ruthless. He can be a fucking asshole.

But so can I.

By now, I know all the warning signs. I can see every battle approaching from wherever it’s been lurking on the outskirts of our life together, gaining momentum and legitimacy until it’s finally triggered by some tiny comment, unwelcome facial expression, or misinterpreted behavior.

Once we get into it, neither of us is really willing to let it go. We bark at each other and stomp around our apartment, competing to hurt each other, insults escalating in cruelty long after sensibility escapes the room. Armed with intimate knowledge of each other’s deepest secrets, vulnerabilities, and insecurities, we cut deeper and deeper.

I’m stubborn as fuck, he always says. And he’s right.

But so is he.

Could mutual pigheadedness be what keeps us together? And if so, is that such a bad thing?

Humans are complicated beings—sometimes wonderful, sometimes intolerable. If you want lasting love, don’t you HAVE to be too stubborn not to give up when the most ghastly version of your partner shows up? Don’t you HAVE to be too stubborn not to fall out of love with someone regardless of their most unappealing layers? Don’t you HAVE to be too stubborn not to let yourself believe that there’s a better option? That your relationship is worth holding onto, in spite of your bleakest moments as a couple?

Stubbornness is powerful.

I know my boyfriend’s not going to change. I know he’s going to keep being impossible to get along with sometimes. That he’s going to keep being a dick when he’s overtired or dealing with his ex-wife’s shit. That he’s going to keep reducing himself to mimicking me mid-argument like a two-year-old might. That he’s going to keep ranting in between screaming things he doesn’t really mean and then apologize profusely twenty minutes later.

And I am going to keep shutting down when he behaves in a way that I don’t like, pretending that I consider it a waste of time to address his accusations, or to deal with him in general. I am going to keep being a raging bitch when I feel attacked. I am going to keep jabbing at his Achilles heel before retreating into my interior world, hiding behind my icy, unbearably pretentious exterior.

Anger. Insult. Injury. Apology. Our pattern is so damn predictable.

Sometimes, it might seem like we don’t want to be together. Like we can’t stand each other. Like we’re intent on making each other miserable.

I’m not too scared or too fragile to take care of myself, I sometimes think. I’m not afraid of finding someone else to love. I’m not afraid to let him go.

Except that I am. I’m also too damn stubborn to—and so is he.

We’re both too fucking stubborn not to keep trying harder, not to keep fixing things, not to keep growing together.

Stubbornness is our glue. It binds us together, and it’s the reason I’m so damn sure we’re capable of forever. TC mark

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