Conflict is a natural part of relationships. A lot of conflict in relationships presents the opportunity for growth and a better understanding of your significant other. However, sometimes the conflict is completely unnecessary and is a result of pettiness from one-half of the couple.
Let's take a look at some stories of couples with self-inflicted conflict.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I flew halfway across the world to Vietnam for a twenty-day vacation after going on three dates with this guy.
One evening, I was sitting with my friends in a dingy but awesome restaurant in Hanoi. The house was old and had like five floors and several different dining rooms with long shared tables. Vietnamese and tourists alike ate elbow to elbow. We were having a lot of fun.
Suddenly, there was some kind of commotion. I saw waiters and runners talking rapidly to each other, and going back and forth and it looked like they were looking for someone. It disturbed everyone's dinner and it took them like half an hour to give up, and the place calmed down again.
When I got back to my hotel and connected to better WiFi, I got a dozen messages from the guy saying he had called the restaurant I was at to ask them to send me a drink and charge it to his credit card. He had seen where I was because I checked-in at the restaurant on Facebook. He said he had spent half an hour on the phone with several members of the staff who barely spoke English, and none of them could understand what he wanted except that he wanted them to look for a girl with short red hair.
I got really mad. I was on the other side of the world having a good time and this guy I barely knew was trying to woo me by buying me a long-distance drink, disturbing the restaurant staff and diners. I'm very reserved and introverted, and I think that if it had worked out it would've mortified me.
To this day I cringe when I think about it. He spent a lot of money on that phone call, too.
Oh, maybe I should mention we're married now."
"I must have been the most horrible girl in the world. I met a guy who went to a different school. We weren’t dating, but he was visiting his friend who went to public school, like me. We spent most early evenings together for half the summer.
He was hilarious. We would laugh, play on words, and tell gigantic tall tales about our very experienced past lives. All of which were lies that led to stories of our majestic, heroic plans. Some evenings when I had to go in, my face would hurt from smiling and laughing so hard.
So along came the homecoming bonfire at my school. I knew he was waiting for me to ask him, yet I didn’t. I had all new friends at the high school and really liked them. But he wasn’t handsome. He had a big, hawklike nose. Though I found it adorable after a while, with us laughing and having a blast every night, in the light of day it scared me. What would my friends think of me liking that nose? I made the call not to ask him.
That was the meanest, most selfish, and heinous thing I ever did. I didn’t have to deal with my friends' opinions but I lost a guy that I still think would have added a ton of joy to my life.
I was a selfish teenager. I have paid for it ever since. I still wonder what might have been, and think of him longingly when I need a good laugh, or a strong, caring shoulder to rest on. I think he was my first love and I squashed him. He was a lucky guy to have escaped teenaged me."
"I have a huge collection of cookie cutters because I love to bake. I kept them immaculately organized in small boxes and bags in the drawers of my kitchen island. Some had small pieces because they were things like snowflakes you cut multiple ways, some had tiny individual letters for stamping messages. I also really have a lot of other kitchen things because I love to cook.
He texted me at the start of an eight-hour barista shift that he was reorganizing our kitchen as a surprise for me and getting everything consolidated. I remember freaking out and begging him to not do it and he was like 'No, it’s good I promise! It’s too late! Don’t worry!'
And then I got home, and he had dumped all of my cookie cutters into two huge reusable grocery bags, threw out any boxes or bags that were keeping sets and pieces together, so everything was loose and now impossible to find small bits, it was a huge disaster. I still think he threw out some actual cutters because almost two years later I still can’t find some pieces. I cried for hours because I had been so careful over the years with my collection and in one afternoon it all went out the window. Some of them got bent because they needed to be handled with care.
He also emptied out some teas that were 'old' which had actually been favorites I ration for bad days. Most of which weren’t made anymore.
I feel bad that I went a little crazy and cried, but he just didn’t get how much he had messed up my collection that I spent years building and keeping neat."
"I'm in the military, and at the time I had a pregnant military wife who owned a car in poor condition. It was not fit to travel to her family that lived states away.
I worked on my credit score for two years prior and was finally capable of getting a vehicle reliable and big enough to support us and our incoming fetus. This was around Christmas at our squadron holiday party with the newborn.
I decided this was going to be my gift to her that year because I loved being a little extra on events like birthdays and holidays.
I had found the perfect vehicle that was affordable and I could get approved for. It was even exactly the one that she said she wanted. I even bought a giant bow to put on the hood. I got the vehicle a week before the squadron party, and had a friend drive it to test it out and hide it from my wife. It ran perfectly with no problems. I asked my friend to bring it to the party and promised I would give him a ride home. I put the bow on the hood while my wife thought I was using the bathroom.
On the night of the squadron party, I didn't ask anyone to come and make a spectacle of the situation, they were all focused on the party. I just asked my friend to drive up while I covered my wife's eyes. He drove up with the vehicle with the bow on the hood and I make the big reveal, 'Merry Christmas babe, I'm so happy we're starting a family together and I think this is the perfect investment into our future.'
She looked at me with disgust and said, 'Really? You had to give me this at your Christmas party? How selfish can you be to make this about you?'
At that point, I felt smaller than a mustard seed.
She didn't speak to me the rest of the night and drove home in the new car. I took my friend home in our old car and he kept apologizing like it was his fault. I felt terrible all around.
Unfortunately, we didn't make the marriage work and there were a slew of other things that were red flags to her personality that unfortunately, I didn't know until too late."
"His entire back was covered in acne. I don’t mean small patches or even a trouble spot. I mean from top to bottom, full cysts and bubbling whiteheads everywhere. I realized that same day that the shirt he had taken off actually had pus stains from infected acne that had popped or burst while he wore the shirt.
I dropped him the same day, and he caught on to why.
He said he didn’t need to see a doctor and I disagreed. I still feel bad about it, but it was honestly a massive turn-off and how many more arguments could we get into in the years to come if you refuse to seek medical help for treatment for other conditions? No thanks."
"I meal prep and track my calories and macronutrients. I eat a decent amount of vegetables and lots of protein. My significant other and I were long-distance and sometimes he would get a food delivery service to deliver a 'healthy' lunch to my workplace whenever I was upset at something or just extremely exhausted. He would tell me the night before so I wouldn't need to bring my prepped lunch the next day. I initially thought it was really sweet.
The way I prepped is that I cooked the veggies over the weekend and cooked some meat every morning that I had marinated the night before. He thought all that was tiring to me, hence food delivery service so I would have more relaxed mornings.
But he didn't realize that I had already planned out my meals for the week and those mystery meals he kept getting delivered to my workplace aren't as 'healthy,' according to my standards, as he thought. For example, chicken with brown rice that was obviously fried in butter or a salad with hardly any protein and lots of dried fruit. I ate them anyway.
I told him I really appreciated the gesture, but to tell me ahead so I can pick out the food whenever he wanted to treat me for lunch."
"There was this drop-dead gorgeous girl who was tall, blonde and had beautiful blue eyes from Denmark in my dorm my freshman year of college. We hit it off pretty well because I loved learning about distant places having grown up in the boonies, and she liked talking about home and finding out stuff about the United States that aren't really in the textbooks. So we would talk just about every day, went to the dining hall together, had a few similar interests.
Well, one day we were chatting and I saw some stubble on her legs. Nothing crazy, she probably just hadn't shaved in a couple of days. Well, since I had next to no experience on the matter, I leaped to the stereotype that European women didn't shave their legs, and that life wasn't for me.
This was dumb because it was woefully incorrect and we had great chemistry.
I cooled my jets on it, and kinda distanced myself for reasons that were still just really lacking.
Anyway, she became Ms. Denmark a few years later."
"We met online and talked a good bit, and I kind of liked that he was the exact opposite of the guy I had recently broken up with. He was classically gorgeous, blonde, and tall. He also ran his own super successful biotech company and he was a former Green Beret. Like on paper he was a stupendously amazing catch.
But the second he opened his mouth, an alarm somewhere deep in my brain went off and I had a full-body cringe. He had a very masculine, booming voice, but it was so high-pitched I could barely focus on a word he was saying.
By the second sentence, I knew I was out. I made an excuse to leave early.
The next week, my ex-boyfriend and I met up to catch up as friends. The moment I heard his gorgeous voice I realized everything that went wrong was fixable. We're moving in together in a few months."
"I went to a fair with a girl and it was really busy that day. We were there a few hours when I asked if she was hungry and she said no. It was really hot that day so I found a shady spot for her to sit and wait for me. There was no reason for both of us to suffer waiting in line in the direct sun.
Like twenty minutes later, I finally got my food and went back to the table. I sat it all down and realized I didn’t get napkins so I left to get a couple of them.
I came back a minute later to my corn dog and Coke half devoured. She was in the middle of eating my funnel cake when I sat down. I thought she was just messing with me and would go buy me another one or something. She wasn’t. She said she changed her mind about being hungry and didn’t think I would mind too much.
I ended up getting a ride home from a friend and never spoke to her after that day. I'm still really annoyed about it as I think about it now. I would have split it with her if she just asked. I hope that corn dog was worth it."
"I had this friend who was a gnarly control freak. He went on a date with a girl one time and brought her to the restaurant I worked at. He sat in my section so I had a front-row seat.
When I came to take drink orders, he ordered his drink and without hesitation ordered her a glass of one of our more expensive drinks.
As she opened her mouth to ask for another drink instead, he said, 'That's it for now,' and pushed me away.
I saw that she went to the bathroom when I brought their glasses. He quickly swapped his cheap glass for hers and started relishing the glass.
Then it was time for the food orders. He started with Brussel sprouts because he was a health freak. She asked for the poke bowl but he told me to scrap that order and get her a salad instead.
She kinda laughed until she realized that I was staring at her for confirmation. She didn't say anything, so I made the change to the order after asking her to confirm if that was okay, but my buddy just said yes and pushed me away again.
Later, I walked up to take the entree orders and asked what they would like. He ordered a cheap steak for himself and the most expensive surf n turf we have for his date.
He said, 'The steak for me, the surf n turf for the lady.'
Before the food arrived, she got up to use the bathroom again. He pulled me aside and said to bring the food anyway because it would be a nice surprise for her to return from the restroom and see her food there.
I brought the food and saw that he immediately started going to town on her dish while she was away. As I was checking on my tables, I saw her at the bar downing like four shots in a row. Then she returned to the table to find her food tampered with.
She asked me why her dish looked awful, and I looked at my buddy who destroyed it. He looked at me like I should have been the one to take the blame.
So I threw him under the bus and told her he picked at it already. He ate more than half of everything on the dish, and then was just eating his dish when she returned so it would look normal.
When the check came, she wanted to split down the middle, but he pulled a fast one on her. He said he wasn't going to pay for her end of the meal, because she got a twenty-dollar drink and salad, and a seventy-dollar entree, whereas he spent a total of forty-five dollars on his side of the ticket. Despite eating and drink her orders that she didn't want in the first place. She paid and left and they never saw each other again.
He was at my house the next day crying because she didn't want to talk to him again.
He repeated, 'I treated her like a queen last night and she didn't even kiss me.'
It was one of the most pathetic things I had ever witnessed. He also tried to micromanage my life to better suit his needs. Needless to say, we aren't friends anymore."
"When I was fourteen or fifteen, my first boyfriend gave me a small square of folded up pink paper just as he was leaving the house. He told me to open it very slowly and carefully and then he left. I was so excited about this bit of paper I could barely contain it, but I still forced myself to stand on the doorstep and watch him walk away until he was out of sight like I always did.
Then I rushed inside and unfolded the paper, hands shaking, thinking maybe there was glitter in there. Why else would he have told me to unfold it slowly? It had been folded so many times and the whole process felt like it went on forever. Finally, I reached the end of it and there was absolutely nothing. Just a blank piece of paper with crease marks all over it. I turned it over in my hands looking for some small clue. Nothing.
I was so disappointed that I rang him crying. He confessed he made it up because he did not like how I stand on the doorstep and watch him until he's out of sight and was hoping that unfolding that piece of paper would distract me from doing it. I felt embarrassed, of course, because I thought it was our romantic thing. However, I did remember how he had hesitated before he left. He had probably already realized how his plan would backfire.
Anyway looking back after all these years, what on Earth was I doing standing there waving and blowing kisses as if he was going off to war each time? The poor guy was probably sick of it."
"I met a girl through a rec volleyball league and we hit it off pretty well. I found out we were in the same industry and she got me an interview at her workplace.
It was a great place to work and probably more money than I was making at my current job. My interview time was split around their lunch break, which I spent with the girl who got me the interview. For her lunch, to my horror, she grabbed a can of beefaroni, opened it up, and ate it with a spoon directly from the can. There was a stove and a microwave right near us.
I tried to get through the afternoon part of the process as quickly as possible. I declined the job offer and dropped the volleyball league as I’m sure we would’ve started dating and more and I didn’t want that amount of crazy in my life."
"When I was twenty-two, I was hanging out with a girl for about two weeks. Then, she said it wasn't going to work out was because I didn't point all the A/C vents in her direction in my car.
To clarify, I didn't point them in my direction. I had mine on the left, the center ones just shooting straight back, and then she had hers on the passenger seat. I had dated women in the past that had complained about the A/C being too cold. I assumed she was an adult and could adjust her level of air as she wanted.
Apparently, not having the thought to instantly point all the middle A/C vents in her direction was a sign that I wasn't selfless enough or something like that and that it was a red flag for her.
We otherwise got along great and she actually tried to re-connect with me maybe half a dozen times later over the next few years, after like a six-month hiatus after she ended things. I always felt that was so petty and insane that it was my own red flag against her so nothing ever came of it."
"One of my exes, early in the relationship, asked me to help him go Christmas shopping for a female friend. His reasoning was because he didn't know what women like. He didn't share any other information other than she was a special friend and he really wanted to make her happy. He thought my input would be best.
We spent all afternoon going from store to store, accumulating a number of expensive trinkets. We picked out a necklace, perfume, expensive candle holder amongst other things. I'd ask about her personality and interests, but he would just awkwardly ask if I liked the item. I'm not into most typical 'girly' things though so it all felt like a guessing game to me.
At the end of the day, he revealed all the gifts were actually for me but none of them were things I wanted or could use! I had selected things based on little things he said here and there about this fictional friend.
It was very sweet and I could tell he had put a fair bit of thought into figuring out a way for me to choose my own gifts without knowing it. But the reality was I just spent hours confused thinking my boyfriend was clumsily trying to get help from me to shop for his mistress or something.
He could have just said something like, 'She's a lot like you and into the same hobbies, so anything you'd like she'd probably like too,' It wouldn't have been nearly as weird as it was. I didn't have the heart to look into his hopeful, earnest eyes at the end of the evening and tell him he'd spent a bunch of money on stuff I would never ask for and didn't want.
I've never had a partner who put so much effort into surprising me with gifts or romantic gestures so I don't hold it against him. There were other incidents The fact that he tried so hard to create fairytale or romantic moments, even if they didn't come out right, made me swoon even if a big part of me was cringing deep down."