Tag Archive | fighting

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You Want

The Five Secrets to Fair Fighting and Getting What You WantIn any relationship worth having conflicts and fights are bound to arise.  The true test of the relationship is whether or not you feel that it is worthwhile to resolve these conflicts and if you are able to do so in a fair and objective way.

The five secrets to fighting fairly include sticking to the issue at hand, being open to listening to the other person, not involving others in the fight, not bringing up old issues and finally being willing to accept responsibility for your part in the issue and being able to let it go when the fight is over even if no resolution has been immediately found.

It’s important to know what you are fighting over and to stick to that issue in the argument.  If you allow things to build up over time and then explode neither you nor your partner will have a clear understanding of what the issue is or why you are fighting.

If there are many issues it is important to address each of them separately as they arise to alleviate resentment and fighting that does not have a clear focus.

Sometimes all you need to do is just listen

Listening is also a very important component of fighting fairly.  It is imperative to allow your partner to offer his side of the argument.  Fighting without listening will not be effective because it does not allow you to be open to the other person’s opinions and beliefs.

Your partner may have a very valid reason for their actions, thoughts and feelings but if you are only interested in what you have to say and are unwilling to listen you will not understand their point of view.

Another aspect of listening is to really try to understand what the other person is saying.  It’s very easy to not hear the intent of a person’s message.  In a fight you want to actively clarify your partner’s statements and give them the opportunity to affirm or deny your interpretation of their argument.

Bringing others into a fight, other than your counsellor, is also not a fair way to fight.  It is important that the fight take place between those directly involved and that neither party elicits the help of friends or family members to validate their position.

It doesn’t matter how many other people agree with you, that does not necessarily make you right, so don’t involve others in your fight.  This is not only unfair to your partner but it is also unfair to those who are dragged into the argument.

In a fair fight it is also important to not bring up old issues.  A fair fight will remain focused only on the issue at hand and bringing up the past will only distract and send the message that the past has not been forgotten.  If your partner feels that you are bringing up old issues, he may feel as if the current fight is not worth fighting because it will not be forgotten.

And if you convey the message that you are not willing to forgive and forget there is also the possibility that your partner will withdraw with a belief that there is no point in resolving this issue anyway.  Also, bringing up old issues is simply not relevant to the current fight.  A fair fight must simply be focused on a current conflict only.

Another secret for fighting fairly is to be willing to accept responsibility for your own actions and be willing to reach a resolution so you can both move on from the argument.  Those who fight fairly are prepared to concede the fact that they may even lose the argument.  Losing the argument means either that you admit that you were to blame for a situation or that you have come to understand and accept the others perspective.

Leave the fight in the past

What is most important in a fair fight is not who is right or who is wrong but that you are able to reach an amicable agreement and that you are both able to progress and leave the fight in the past.

Fighting fairly is crucial in a healthy relationship.  Disagreements are natural and resolving them in a fair way is imperative to a thriving relationship.  Not fighting fairly is indicative of a relationship that is not healthy.  A fair fight incorporates the key elements of focus, listening and resolution without involving third parties in the fight.  A fair fight is also left in the past after resolution.  Fair fighting leads to some kind of resolution even if that means you may have to agree to disagree.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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How to Fight Fair When You Disagree (Part Two)

A New Dance

How to Fight Fair When You Disagree - A New DanceIn my last article I wrote about some ideas I have about fighting fairly. Here are some more ideas for you.

One of my most important rules for fair fighting contains a strong resistance, even though it doesn’t always work, to defend myself, or to shut down completely.

I do this by taking whatever time I need to really, really understand as best I can what the other person is trying to say to me. Sometimes I have to put my own response aside for a moment and question the other person in the disagreement to ensure I really am as clear as I can be about what they are saying.

I also think about what it is I want or need from them and may even put this down on paper to clarify it for myself first in an attempt to prepare myself better for the conversation.

Finally I ask the other person if they are willing to take the time needed to hear me out as well before responding to what they think they are hearing.

I also strive to take full responsibility for my feelings and so try not to blame others for what is happening for me. I always try to keep in mind that it takes ‘two to tango’, so when considering how to communicate to the other what’s going on for me I try to use “I” statements rather than “You” statements”.

To put it simply, the difference between these two kinds of statements is this; “I” statements start with an “I” and “You” statements start with a “You”.

Consequently, if someone is constantly late, the message I want to get across to them is this; “I feel angry and annoyed when you are regularly late and you haven’t called me”. This is much better than saying, “You’re always late. You make me so angry!” One is about accepting my responsibility for my feelings and the other is about blaming another for what I’m feeling. And here’s another ‘NO-NO’- Be careful of using broad generalizations like:  ‘always’ or ‘never’. Be truthful about what is actually happening.

I also make a point when I am in conflict to attempt to be objective in hearing all sides of the argument. If I can hear all sides then I am more likely to be able to work with the other person to a better outcome.

And of course, humor, used appropriately, can be helpful too. Try and take a playful attitude towards developing the skill of emotional self-control in high conflict situations. If you are able to do this then it is more likely that the other person will relax and consequently get both of you to a better ending.

If you use all of these skills, conflict will not be as difficult to manage as it first might appear, and you might get to an even more satisfactory resolution, one that leads you both to a win/win outcome, rather than a win/lose or both lose.

Of course this is not always achievable, but if you both understand the importance of finding a good resolution to your conflicts then you can expect that your partner will help you here by being considerate of your feelings and thoughts and help you to explore them as you speak about what is bothering you.

This then opens up the possibility of finding a whole ‘new dance’, and a better way to resolve conflicts that steers you away from your old ways of doing it, laying the path for a more successful outcome, knowing that you can meet your needs in a more appropriate way.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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How to Fight Fair When You Disagree (Part One)

A Fair Fight

Many books and articles have been written on the topic of how to get through these really difficult times in your relationship and about how to ‘fight’ our way through them in a fair way. This means that the outcome will only be found in consideration of our own contribution to the conflict as well as to the others.

The one thing that’s common to all of the approaches is that when something is not working for you in your relationship, it needs to be brought out into the open, and discussed. In this way, rather than getting caught up in some old ‘out-of-date’ way of attempting to get your needs met you may come up with something more helpful that might result in actually getting your needs met in an appropriate way.

The Rules for Fair Fighting

Hence my rules for fighting fair are firstly; when I feel stressed, I take whatever time I need to compose myself while attempting to find the most effective way to share what I need to say with the person I’m in conflict with. The thing is you can’t fight fair when you are full of emotion whether it is anger, sadness or disappointment.

I use all of the interpersonal skills that I have learned, taking time to listen to the other’s point of view with as open a mind as I can and using phrases, as is fitting, like “I hear you”, and “I get what you are saying”, without negating that with a “but” but rather expanding on it with an “and”.

One word I really try to avoid using, despite Charlie Harper’s partial success in “Two and a Half Men”, is “I understand”. The truth is I can never really understand another’s perspective. In actual fact the best I can do is hear it and acknowledge their experience of whatever is going on as their truth even if it doesn’t fit with mine.

So a typical response then might sound more like this: “I hear what you’re saying about what you think is happening and I think …(put in here your own view)… might be happening too!” This is a much softer way of adding your thoughts on a topic that doesn’t leave the other feeling like they’ve been backed into a corner. They can feel that they’ve been heard so are more likely then to hear clearly what you are trying to say.

Try out these strategies over the next little while and come back to discover some more of the strategies I use in my next article.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Common Reasons Why Couples Fight and How to Solve Them

Common Reasons Why Couples Fight and How to Solve Them

Whatever stage of relationship you are in there will be some conflict. Disagreements are not only normal but are a necessary part of the development of a healthy relationship. Without them there would be insufficient motivation to want to move on and strive for something better.

The reasons couples fight are many and varied but all have their beginnings in at least one of an individual’s fundamental needs not being met in some way. You might recall from a previous article that the five basic human needs are Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Social, and Security well-being.

Some of the reasons couples fight may therefore include; to break a routine, an endeavor to establish some sense of control, to minimize differences, to be understood or to be appreciated, a way of trying to cope with your partner’s moods and/or actions, or to be right and not be made wrong..

Alternatively fighting can be a vain attempt to get back to like it was at the beginning of your relationship. It can even be a way of holding onto or breaking up old connections, or to ‘balance the scales’ of justice, so to speak, and that’s really about ‘getting even’. Fighting can be a response to an attempt to define, develop or express a separate identity or even as an attempt to find new solutions to old problems.

Each reason is important and needs to be considered so that you can discover how and why you deal with conflict the way you do. Again and again as these basic needs are not being met, we are thrown into some old belief, thought or behavior pattern that may then lead us to deal with the conflict in an inappropriate way.

Sometimes it can be simply understood as ‘dancing the old dance’, just as we were taught when we were given our ‘script’ as very young children which, as discussed in another article, was most often a consequence of our observations of our parents or other significant people in our lives. This most likely happened because there weren’t any alternative strategies offered at the time for us to model our behavior on. So if we’re not given appropriate alternatives then we’ll just go ahead and do what is demonstrated to us.

To begin exploring your own reasons for fighting firstly take a look at the five human needs to see if these are being met in your own life. Once you’ve done that take a look at the list of reasons couples fight as discussed above and see if there are any that feel familiar to you. Consider them in light of the five needs and then contemplate how you might more appropriately get those needs met.

In my next article I’ll look a little closer at the “Rules for Fair Fighting”. Make sure you check it out.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

When Partners Are Constantly Yelling At Each Other

So often I hear from couples that they get to a place in their relationship where they are just constantly yelling at each other. And not only do they complain of having constant yelling matches but also that the arguments are as often as not about nothing so that afterwards they are left wondering what was the point of it all anyway.

It may surprise you to know that there is actually a point and if you think that that is actually nothing to do with the topic of the argument you would be right.

The point is this. As you come through the honeymoon phase of your relationship there is a need to re-establish your own identity separate from each other. All this time you have been entangled with each other in a dance only for two. You now need to pull away from each other again in order to get on with your own lives.

This is totally normal and as it should be. You need to re-immerse yourself in your work, in your friendships and in your own interests to ensure that you continue your personal journey as you carry on with your couple’s journey.

To allow this you subconsciously start to find the flaws in each other. This includes the discovery that each of you are human after all with all of the faults and failings that comes with being human.

For so long you have simply only seen each other through rose-coloured glasses. This is now the time to take off the glasses and notice that your partner is not all you’ve attempted to convince yourself they are.

You struggle with this idea. Your prince or princess is really human after all just like you.

The only way you can humanly separate from another person is to create conflict. Just like an adolescent separating from his or her parents has to create conflict so too you do. Otherwise why would you move away from each other at all?

The tricky bit in all of this is firstly to recognise that the fights are for a good reason even if there seems to be no reason at all. Then, and maybe even more importantly, it is going to be critical for each of you to embrace the opportunity that you are providing each other here for growth ensuring in the meanwhile you don’t lose sight of your relationship in the process,

Something to note here is that there are people who are addicted to love. These people are likely to use these fights as a way of leaving the relationship and to seek another to replace it. Some people go their whole lives flitting from one relationship to another. They may even believe that the relationship is over so can’t even contemplate that maybe it’s just a phase.

Then there are others who just believe that they will never actually find love at all and give up even trying to find the way out of the current dilemma.

So if you find yourself yelling and arguing with your partner, pause a moment before making a decision about whether to quit or not. If the arguments really don’t have much substance, other than it being a tug of war to prove that you are right, maybe there is something else going on here.

If this happens take the time to really look deeply within yourself to check whether this is really just a phase and it’s worth the effort to work through or is this truly a sign that you are simply not compatible and maybe should separate from each other before too much damage is done.

If you can’t see the difference clearly seek some professional help before making a decision you may come to regret.

One strategy to really test this out is to commit to going all out for at least thirty days giving 100% of your effort to this relationship without question or regret. Love your partner unreservedly with all the love you have. This might even mean stepping back to allow that person some space to grow in as you take space for your own growth.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

It constantly amazes me how some people can remember the smallest details of everything that happened around a particular event while others don’t remember clearly what happened yesterday let alone last week, last month or last year.

Actually these attributes clearly describe the difference between my life partner and me. My partner can recall events from his past as clearly as if they were happening right this minute while for me it’s more like out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

There is an upside and a downside though for each of these positions. For my partner the upside is his brilliant recall allows him to remember the wonderful people we’ve met and the places we’ve been to on our many journeys around the world. The downside for him is that he finds it hard to let go of past hurts often holding grudges which should have been let go of long ago as they prevent him from fully enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances.

For me though, as I forget about old wrongdoings so easily I sometimes also forget the lessons I should have learned and have to learn them again. On the good side I don’t tend to hold grudges as I move on quickly putting old hurts behind me. The appearance to others of me is that I harbor no bad thoughts of people and I truly can forgive and forget.

So all of this got me thinking about “forgiving and forgetting” and the benefits and disadvantages of doing this when someone has crossed you.

Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for a wrongdoing but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. I qualify this by adding that ‘forgetting the transgression’ is really quite different from forgetting that it ever happened. It’s about not harboring the bad feelings associated with an event but instead becoming neutral to it.

You may have been wronged in a situation and your feelings of anger may be completely justified but it’s important to truly understand your feelings in order to forgive and forget.

It is imperative that you realize that the actions of the other person may have hurt you or made you angry but that reacting in a hostile manner as a result of these feelings is not beneficial to your relationship.

While your feelings of hurt of anger may be justified, taking the time to work through these emotions before offering forgiveness may help you to forget your partner’s words or actions. If you rush to offer forgiveness before you have had the opportunity to vent your own frustrations it will be difficult for you to forget your partner’s wrongdoing.

You also need to understand the feelings of the person who offended you. It is also important to speak to your partner about why they committed the offense against you. It is not fair to them to make assumptions about why they acted the way they did.

Giving them the chance to express their side of the situation will give you a better understanding of why they acted the way they did. You may learn that everything was a misunderstanding or that you were not hurt intentionally. Allowing the other person a chance to offer their take on the situation will enable you to see their motives.

Understanding your own emotions as well as your partner’s will help you to really forgive and forget.

This kind of forgiveness can only be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you. It requires you to express your feelings in a rational way, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right. It might also include accepting the other’s apology whether this is your partner’s, your friend’s or a collective of people.

Give yourself a little time to manage your own feelings and collect your thoughts so that when you approach your partner you are able to speak about your feelings in a rational manner. It’s best to wait until both you and your partner are ready to speak about the conflict in a calm and rational manner than to rush in and come to regret something said or done.

A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in a disagreement. While you may be completely right in a situation, being right is not worth destroying the relationship over.

If you are able to put your love for your partner ahead of the need for being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish simply because working through conflicts makes a relationship stronger.

Finally you can never really forgive and forget unless you are truly willing to accept your partner’s apology. Harboring feelings that the apology isn’t genuine will damage the relationship because you will never forget their offending action.

Listen sincerely to your partner’s apology and have faith in them that their apology is heartfelt and genuine. Then let them know that you accept their apology and are willing to not let this situation interfere with your future interactions.

True forgiveness involves not only excusing the transgression but also effectively forgetting it as well. You cannot truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offence. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offence.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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When the Fighting Becomes Too Much

When the Fighting Becomes Too Much

 

I received this very sad letter not so long ago so am making it the focus of this blog article.

“Why is it that I and my girlfriend quarrel/argue every week for she says she doesn’t trust me and tells me every time that she doesn’t want to marry me?

I love her so much and want her be my wife. I have thought of things that she thinks that creates the argument, but when i start to work on those things it works a little while but fails and never lasts.

I am standing on two conflicting ideas. Marry her or start over another relationship.

What she says when she gets angry out of nothing gets me crazy. Even now, we are not giving phone calls to each other.

What should I do to keep and maintain happy and healthy relationship with her? I want to give love to her and expect the same response from her. How can I make that happen? When I stop things over, she starts and when I come to understating she pushes me away.

It has been like this for more than two years since I met her. One week it’s okay and another week hell.

Please help me save my relationship.”

Let me start to answer this multifaceted question by firstly saying that all relationships will have times of conflict especially as part of negotiating a long-term relationship. This is part of helping you figure out the ‘rules’ that are going to define how your relationship is to be managed. This involves who will make the decisions and who will be responsible for what aspect of your relationship.

This is a normal part of the transition into the next stage of relationship development as you move away from the symbiosis, the honeymoon stage that defines the first part of all relationships.

So the way through this is firstly to learn some communication skills so that you can each hear clearly what the other is saying before responding. Sometimes it is necessary to bring a professional counsellor/coach into the picture who can teach you how to do this and help you manage the process when things become especially difficult.

The next part of the process is to define what it means to be in relationship and what that relationship should look like to support both of your values of what a loving relationship actually is. Then take the time to ask each other lots of questions to assess whether these values are shared making you compatible as this value compatibility is what will determine whether your relationship has what it needs to make it long-term.

Just as importantly, for relationships to succeed it requires a selflessness that has at its core a willingness to do for another without any thought of what’s in it for me. If we only do for another for what we can get back then we’re not in it for love. And of course if you are both acting from that place then you’ll get what you want anyway but now for the right reasons.

For more information on the stages of relationship go and have a look at my product shop. There you will find several books including one titled “Relationships – A Couples Journey” that addresses the stages relationships go through as part of their natural development. Another book that maybe is helpful is titled “The Games Couples Play” which takes a look at conflict in relationships and how to manage it. You’ll find the bookshop at my website at www.acouplesjourney.com.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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