Finding Healthier Ways to Disagree
Not only is my boyfriend the sweetest human I’ve ever dated, he’s an ass when he wants to be; he’s petty! Due to my growth, I can admit with my head held high that I’m about 2 notches less petty. Equally stuck in our ways, we are both (and unapologetically so) strong-willed; learning how to disagree gracefully, or rather, fighting fair, has been something we are both learning how to do.
Half the time our disagreements aren’t about the actual thing we get mad about, but more an indication that something is bothering the instigator. He’s super easy-going and I’m more action-oriented that typically, I start the dissension. I hate long-distance, period, but more than that, I hate how he takes on the distance with such calmness and annoying understanding, because let’s be honest, do you even love me if you aren’t matching my sporadic moments of neediness?
So the chain reaction usually starts with him FaceTiming me all bubbly and high on the happiness of being alive, which in turn triggers me. I bring up something (big/small) from 5 years ago… he laughs it off cause he knows my intention, which naturally causes me to unfairly dig deeper into my bag of his disappointments and the more he resists… the deeper I dig till eventually, he’s as irritated as I am at either me being irritating or one of my digs actually struck a nerve!
CALM DOWN JUDGMENT… that’s the old me. I’m grown now.
Fighting fair is an attainable milestone that requires levels of self-evaluation that continue through the daily shifts in relationships. It’s easy to get stuck on the desires of your personal ’perfect union’ that we forget to be present in the moments of strife with our person and fail to remember the uniqueness of each of our personalities. In the heat of feels, it’s really hard to step away from the internal flames brewing and look at the overall picture and understand that we’re both fighting an issue, not each other.
Some general points we’ve developed as we learn to disagree fairly:
- Always respect your partner. Think before you speak because while fights can be forgiven, words aren’t easily forgotten. Sometimes it may be best to stop talking and process because, if not, you’re probably headed for an escalated disagreement. The stopping doesn’t mean shutting down but rather expressing to your partner you need space to cool down. Just remember to resolve the conflict. Don’t let it linger unspoken – this can create resentment.
- Listen to understand and not just to be heard. I know when I’m mid preaching during an argument, it’s not always easy to listen to his POV when I typically have back to back points he NEEDS to hear. Fights are just different opinions represented by misaligned egos. Don’t give your egos power; Let love lead. With this in mind, try give up the need to be right and focus on the desire to compromise.
- Avoid using extreme language because it’s probably originating from a hurt place. Starting the argument with ’YOU NEVER’ probably sets a pretty hostile tone to the conversation. Since your significant other isn’t the enemy, being less accusatory and presenting the issue as a challenge both of you can work on is way more productive. An example you ask? Ok.
’Thank you for making the bed this morning but I’ve been feeling a little neglected lately. What can we do to spend more time together while respecting both our needs for space?’ Inpressive, right?
Basically – stick to the issue, be gentle and strive for a positive outcome.
- Be willing to compromise. The female is probably making all the sense in an argument (LOL) but a happy home requires both parties to be happy-not just the wife, so be willing to compromise.
I’m currently feeling all the effects of this Mercury Retrograde but I’m fully aware that I don’t belong to the streets so I need to get it together. This was written more as a reminder to myself so tomorrow – I’ll be better!
Cheers to you finding your ways to fight fair and cultivating strong healthy and happy relationships. How do you fight fair in relationships?