Mutually Assured Lack of Communication

On a wondrous Tuesday afternoon, I was passing some time at home. A couple of hours later, the entire course of the following few days would be entirely changed. The love of my life lived about forty minutes away from me at the time. Driving to and from was excruciatingly boring but well worth the time. On this specific day, my beautiful girlfriend visits a doctor which just happened to be only a couple minutes from my house. This provided a great opportunity for me to spend the rest of the day with her. However, I already had a very important event occurring on Tuesdays, Youth Group. I had to make the difficult decision of attending Youth Group or spending the day with my girlfriend.

Initially, the communication between her and I was very fluid and calm. She presented to me her idea of going to the beach together. I began preparing but soon remembered that I had Youth Group that afternoon. I asked her when we would be leaving the beach and told her that I had to be at the Youth Group leader’s house by seven that evening. Instead of trying to find a compromise she turned down the offers and simply told me to attend Youth Group. I understood why she would not want to spend just a few hours with me. This was the first sign of many signs that I had missed that day. Her anger and frustration at me were already building up like a volcano ready to erupt. The remainder of the day she was silent and distant from me, I assumed she was busy. After the event at Youth Group, the silence continued. I had seen this before, and I feared for the worst. At midnight, I questioned her asking once more if everything was alright.

Pompeii finally exploded minutes later. All the accrued frustration and tension were released in a flurry of text messages that she sent me. I was surprised to see that she had responded so rapidly after having been quiet the entire day. She questioned my loyalty to her as I had chosen to attend Youth Group rather than spend the day with her. She stated that she would have been much more understanding if it were an actual Bible Study, but it was a dinner at Steak N` Shake. I did not disagree with this point; she had every right to state it. The conversation continued into her mentioning that she was unsure of whether I still loved or even cared for her. Her reasoning was that only five people attended Youth Group including me and one of those people that attended was a person she did not really like. Essentially, she viewed the events of that night as me having chosen other people over her. Thus, she believed that she was less valuable to me than the people at Youth Group.

Obviously, I did not handle the situation well at all. The correct choice would have been to calm down the situation and explain myself properly, but instead, I began writing my own novel in an attempt to defend myself. I began by telling her that Youth Group did not mean as much to me as she did and that I very much still loved her. I made the mistake of saying that she had done the same to me before and that I was perfectly okay with it as we often must make difficult choices. She instantaneously rebutted this statement with a response along the lines of, “I’ve never done anything like this to you before,” which was incredibly untrue as I brought up examples of occasions that she had. Unsurprisingly, these examples were weak under her eyes and she considered them incomparable to the atrocity that I had committed that fateful day. My further attempts at reasoning were unsuccessful and only flamed the fires. Her emotions dominated the argument, forcing me into submission. She ended the argument by stating that she was heading to sleep as I was “giving her a headache,” and it was clear that I had lost.

The following days were quiet and there was little communication between us. I tried at every moment to make amends with her, but she would avoid me at all costs. Once Friday came everything had changed. She had forgiven me and was in a good enough mood that I was able to visit her. During my time with her that afternoon I was able to prove to her that I did care about her through a series of events that I will keep private for her sake. After these events, the talk of what occurred on Tuesday was brought up. I stood by my position that I had not made a mistake and that I truly believed I had made the right choice. Her frustration rose again, except this time it was much less aggressive. Then an amazing mediator arrived, her mother. She questioned why my girlfriend was doing exactly what she accused me of doing the following day. My girlfriend would spend the day with a friend, but under her logic, this would be betraying me because should just as easily be spending the day with me. Of course, I do not agree with this mindset, but it shows the absurdity of her position at the time. Afterward, we resolved our issues and agreed that the argument was only harming our relationship and she admitted her fault.

Ultimately, there was no true winner of the argument. It is not possible to win an argument where both parties suffer from the consequences. Logically, our arguments were very unsound. We maintained positions of pathos and ignored and logical positions entirely. We brought in our own emotions instead of confronting the problem together which only caused further divisiveness. Her argument was incredibly unsound with it having a slippery slope fallacy. She argued that because I chose Youth Group, it was more important than her. If Youth Group was more important than her then that meant that I truly did not love her. Beyond this, we both presented faulty warrants in our arguments. We both assumed that we valued Youth Group as much as the other. Of course, the entire issue would have been resolved if I had communicated myself better that Tuesday night. I did not tell her that if I did not attend Youth Group that night then they would have canceled it. I personally believe that the Youth Group leaders work extremely hard for the youth at the church, so I viewed my potential lack of attendance as incredibly disrespectful. Furthermore, it was one of the final times I would have attended Youth Group. If I had mentioned these two points, then perhaps the entire argument may have never occurred. Yet, maybe it would not have improved. It is much easier to put out embers than a fire blazing through a forest.

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