Claire Meyer and Alan Linic, a twentysomething couple in Chicago, have been keeping a public record of every fight they have fought since August. The two started dating eight months ago and moved in together at the end of September; they report that their relationship is "going really well." Their shared Twitter account, titled We Fought About, lists every quarrel, spat, and argument the couple undergoes. There have been 79 so far.
We Fought About does not attempt to catalog the big themes of relationship conflict: freedom, jealousy, prioritization, selfishness, pettiness, betrayal, meanness. It focuses on the immediate circumstances that prompt Meyer and Linic's fights. Such as baby carrots — a topic that arises with some frequency. Meyer and Linic fight about fighting about Armageddon. They fight about not helping the other in Dominoes.
Other flashpoints for the twosome:
Alan said that he respected all women.
Alan sent me an article that put Prince in a bad light.
I thought Claire was using a "tone." She wasn't.
Alan wasn't texting me. I could see him liking stuff on Facebook.
Alan called me "man".
Claire yelled at me in a museum because I made eye contact with this painting for too long.
The couple was happily surprised when I told them that the specificity of their fights was relatable.
"We thought our fights were just ridiculous and way too bizarre and that’s why we started it," Meyer said. Instead, "We kept hearing the same feedback of, 'This is exactly what we go through.' ... It actually has made me feel like more of a sane girlfriend."
They report that they're always careful to wait until a fight has been resolved before writing it up. Besides, Meyer said, in the middle of a furious spat it can be difficult to tell how they got there. But after the fight has concluded, they look for the spark and find that it's usually amusing. Both Meyer and Linic are funny people; they met through the Chicago comedy scene. They have a safe word for when they have to stop joking about something and take each other seriously (it's rainstorm).
Though their account is well-curated, they promise that they neither edit out boring fights nor look for topics to fight about. "We're both so fiery and passionate, and we're both so sensitive. It's a deadly combination," Meyer said.
"It's a weird combination," Linic said. "There's no sane one in our relationship. There's no grounded one."
The feed has allowed them to see the other person's triggers. But even with this data, certain topics appear to be perennial triggers. Sometimes one affront ("I made a date with Claire and then double-booked myself") appears a few times in a row.
In some ways, the project sounds like a couple's therapy exercise for the social-media generation. It's a project that involves accountability, keeping a record, identifying triggers, and working together as a team.
"It sort of put this mindset in us like that we're allowed to disagree," said Linic. "We know that we'll be able to resolve it and put it up in a wording that will make us both kind of laugh about it."
"It really has become therapeutic," Meyer agreed. "It's helped cool me down after a fight ... I feel like it's definitely brought me even closer to Alan than I was."
Even among a generation where seemingly everything is documented, a project that seeks to record a couple's every fight stands out as intimate. But by excising the context, they've managed to keep the account vague enough to not seem invasive, specific enough to entertain. What remains of a conflict when the psychology is removed? Pears, Draco Malfoy, armpits, transition lenses, and buying bread for other women.