I’ve always said that any company can be a good company as long as things go well.  It’s only when there is a problem that you can discover how good a company is.  The same is true for a relationship.  All relationships are good so long as things go well.  It’s only when things go badly that the true nature of a relationship is revealed.  For me, it’s what happens after a disagreement that tells me where I really stand in that other person’s life (or heart).  Following any argument, I expect a period of cooling off or even pouting.  It’s perfectly normal to distance your self from someone you’ve just had a disagreement with. What’s not normal is punishing someone for disagreeing with you.  What do I mean by punishing?  I don’t mean obvious punishment like a beating or taking someone away in retaliation (although that does happen in very abusive relationships).  No, what I’m talking about is not so obvious and is often disguised as something good (like ghosting that person and calling it “giving them space”).  There is a difference in someone being mad, offended, or hurt and acting aloof for a while versus someone who is punishing you emotionally.  It feels different on the receiving end.  It feels deliberate, mean spirited, and emotionally abusive.  It’s only when you experience this response from someone who “loves” you can you fully understand that the relationship was not founded on love at all.  When a disagreement results in psychological punishment, the relationship weakens and the distance between the two individuals only increases.  In a healthy relationship, disagreements eventually lead to a more honest, understanding, respectful, and stronger relationship.  You don’t have to spend too much time analyzing what exactly happened to know if you feel better or worse about the relationship and the other person following a disagreement. If you feel worse, then it really wasn’t a good relationship to begin with.  Diane Webb



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