Friday, December 28, 2012

Relationships: Do You Fight Fair? I Don't.

"... To have a SUCCESFUL long-term relationship, you and your partner need to learn how to talk, fight, visit and revisit issues - and how to leave some things well-enough alone. Successful relationships are those in which both partners feel they share basic values and approach big-picture issues as a TEAM..."

Do you fight fair in a relationship?


I came across an article in the newspaper the other day - a question and answer type of article - about relationships. A man was having problems with his girlfriend and everytime they argued, he said she was dismissive and acted like whatever he said wasn't a big deal.

Something like this would piss me off because everything I say is a BIG deal. So here I am now writing a blog post about fighting fair in relationships to resolve conflicts.

Dr. Phil says, "How you argue — especially how you end an argument — can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship."

We're adults, but sometimes adults can act like children, especially when it comes to disagreements. People tend let pride and ego's get in the way of what is right and wrong, and sometimes relationships crumble because one person refuses to budge even when they're wrong.

Me personally, I hold grudges. This is a HUGE problem of mine. I'm quick to shut someone out and then I'll stay in my little bubble. I do this in relationships and in friendships. If I'm pissed at someone and I never talk to them again, I'm completely fine with it and I brush it off with no problem.

Also, when I'm mad I tend to talk over the other person and my voice only gets louder and louder to a point where I'm almost screaming to get my point across. The last thing I'm guilty of always doing is bringing up old issues and rehashing the past.

Dr. Phil suggests:
  • Keep it relevant.
    Don't bring up old grudges or sore points when they don't belong in a particular argument. Put boundaries around the subject matter so that a fight doesn't deteriorate into a free-for-all
There is even a time limit on how long arguments should last and they shouldn't last forever and if they do, you have a problem.
  • There's a time limit.
    Arguments should be temporary, so don't let them get out of hand. Don't allow the ugliness of an argument to stretch on indefinitely.
Check out some of my favorite tips below from Woman's Day on how to fight fairly (I'm guilty of doing all of these.):
No third parties
Complaining to friends and family about your partner’s slights only “muddies the issues and leaves bad feelings." Sure, there are times you need a sounding board, but when you are actually in an argument with your partner, yelling something like, “Well, my friend Carol thinks you’re wrong, too!” won’t exactly enhance harmony.
 
Focus
If an argument comes up, “stop doing whatever else you’re doing."  That means no texting, watching TV, etc. until a resolution is met. Also, try to deal solely with the issue at hand, without bringing in other problems (you can have those fights later!)
 
Take a break
If either or both of you are getting super-heated, and taking a short breather hasn’t done the trick, you may need a longer time-out. Just say, “I need a break,” and separate for long enough to really cool down. Forty-five minutes is ideal to recover physiologically. “But don’t use cooldowns to retreat completely from the fight; you have to promise to come back to it later.” When arguments reach a boiling point, we react physiologically, with increased heart rate and blood pressure. “When you’re physiologically wound up, it’s virtually impossible to fight productively or fairly.”
 
Skip the silent treatment
Surprise: Turning a cold shoulder accomplishes nothing. “What you’re doing there is expecting your partner to read your mind about what’s wrong." You may think you’re avoiding conflict, but you’re only making things worse, creating something else to fight about.
 
Agree to disagree sometimes
You’ll never resolve every argument, so sometimes it’s best to give in for the sake of your relationship. A useful question to keep in mind is, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?” The idea is to respectfully agree that there are things you’ll never see eye-to-eye on.
 
No blaming
The aim of a fair fight is for both of you to take responsibility and work together to solve a problem. “If you put blame on your partner, the burden’s all on him to fix it." And, to be fair, you shouldn’t place all the blame on yourself, either.
 
No below-the-belt remarks
In the heat of battle, it can be tempting to say the things you know will twist the knife in further. Hold your tongue; saying something like “No wonder your old girlfriend left you!” is the kind of mean slap that’s hard to take back later.

Start your journey towards change for your partner and for yourself if you want to make it work!

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