Do you end up fighting with your partner? Perhaps regularly going over and over the same old issues which never seem to be resolved effectively and continue to rear their ugly heads time and time again. If you regularly fight or get angry, or even if you stuff away your anger to save you from having to face your own fury or your partner’s reaction to it, then you’ve probably never learned how to resolve your issues effectively. Well, now I will try to give you some insight on how to fight fairly in relationships.
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It’s Not About Fighting
Actually, to be honest, fighting fairly is actually about resolving your issues and not about fighting – fairly or otherwise. It’s simply about good communication. It’s about knowing that you won’t always agree. But most of all it’s about having the courage to state your wants and needs in a way that will be heard and will most likely get your partner on your side so that he is open to meeting them.
Why Doesn’t Fighting Work?
So, why doesn’t fighting work? Well, when a woman gets angry, that’s a scary business for any man to deal with. Quite frankly, most of them would rather bury their heads than face up to your raw emotions. He will feel attacked by you and that will activate his conditioned patterns for self-defence. These may include attacking right back, becoming cold and unfeeling or completely disappearing out of your way.
Losing Sight of the Real Issues
Whichever happens, I can guarantee that you end up feeling worse. After all, you just want to confirm that he cares, right? But what happens now is that you end up fighting over how unloved and abandoned you now feel and you both lose sight of the original issues. No wonder they come up time and time again and never get dealt with. Can you see how ineffective fighting is now?
Looking Out for Anger
So, what can you do in order to get your needs met without alienating him or triggering these old patterns that lead to fighting and ineffective communication? Firstly you need to keep a look out for anger arising in your relationship and the behavioural patterns that follow. When you become aware of your own behaviour and realise how ineffective it is in getting what you want this gives you the motivation to change. You start to learn the reasons why your anger is triggered and when you see it arising, you have enough mental clarity to stop and think about how to deal with the situation effectively. Your question to yourself should be “What is my anger trying to tell me? What is my problem and how can I resolve it in a way that works?”
Fighting Fairly – How to Communicate
Think and feel. What are your emotions at the time? How do you feel? What is your actual issue and what do you want to happen to resolve it? When you’ve thought about the answers to these questions, and calmed down enough, then it’s time to communicate them to him. Do this without blame and using “I” statements, for example: “When you didn’t call me yesterday after saying that you would, I felt let down and that I wasn’t important enough to you to keep your promise. I would really prefer it if you didn’t say that you were going to call unless you intended to follow through.”
Facing Up to the Real Issues
Your partner will then have to face up to the fact that his action (or lack of it) has caused some hurt inside you and he now has the options to apologise and make things right. Even if he does not act, the real issues are out in the open and both partners know what they are. Of course this will feel scary and it may still trigger the usual patterns of behaviour in him. Your job then is to keep cool, not rise to his arguments and continue to state how you feel and what you want.
Part of getting to this level of self-awareness is knowing yourself and what is important to you. This may involve some self-investigation and thought. However, this has to be worth the effort if you want a happy relationship. Far too many people go through life expecting others to meet all their needs and then blaming them when they don’t. I can tell you from experience that this will never work. You need to find out for yourself what makes you happy and decide what standards you will and will not tolerate from other people, especially in close relationships.
A New You!
It’s not the disagreements that count but how you both deal with them. Listening to your partner’s point of view is important. But so is realising that he will not always be prepared to meet your needs and that it’s OK to agree to have different opinions. At these times it may be necessary to compromise, or with important issues, it may even tell you that you should not be with this person at all.
Will it be easy to make these changes? No, you will find yourself slipping back into old patterns or being dragged back down by your partner’s behaviour. But with practice your whole style of communication of issues can change. The first time you find yourself staying cool and assertive you will be amazed at the change and at the power you feel inside you. Why not experiment with this and see if it works for you? And, eventually, you will be able to let go of anger altogether because you will be confident in your ability to resolve your issues without it. That is personal power and the only way to “fight fairly”!