When it comes to arguing, 13th century Persian poet Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi once said, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” His advice is just as relevant today, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

It takes mistakes and resolving issues as a team to grow as a couple. But that wasn’t necessarily the case with 33-year-old Nompumelelo Zungu* who recently broke up with her ex-boyfriend of two years, after an accumulation of heated arguments that almost turned violent during the last days of their courtship.

She says, “I’ve always been the type that would do anything to maintain peace with my ex-boyfriend, even if it meant taking the blame for everything that went wrong. Thabo* was quick- tempered and moody, which was emotionally exhausting for me. We’d argue about almost everything, even small stuff, like me wanting to spend time with my family and friends.”

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At first, Nompumelelo brushed it o because she assumed it was part of a relationship’s DNA. “It was really exhausting how we never went weeks without fighting. What hurt me was how he handled our differences. He’d shut me up, say demeaning things and harbour grudges for months on end. Over the years, I grew resentful, because no matter how much I tried to reason with him, he still didn’t make any e ort to compromise,” she says. Yet, she still felt this was normal. “I know couples fight, but it was becoming a reality I just didn’t have the energy for, especially since we never resolved issues. We didn’t know how to fight without hurting each other. We rarely involved our families anymore because we constantly fought. He never physically assaulted me, but I feared it would lead there.”

 

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