What are your rules for fighting fair in a relationship? - from Em and Lo

What are your rules for fighting fair in a relationship? - from Em and Lo

Em & Lo Em & Lo
We've long been believers in the theory that it's not how MUCH you fight in a relationship that determines its quality and success, but HOW you fight. In fact, we'd be suspicious of a couple who NEVER fought (sounds like the death of sex to us!). Do you guys agree? Or do you know perfectly happy couples who never fight? And what are your rules for fighting fair in a relationship? (Here are ours, if you're curious.)
10/27/2010
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Alicia Alicia
This was something that my husband and I struggled with for quite a while. We both knew how we should fight, but it never quite worked out like that because our emotions would get the best of us.

So, what we do is just try to understand how the person is in a fight. We're not going to be able to change each other, so we might as well just understand each other. Like for example, he knows I over generalize in a fight and say "always" and "never" when it's more like "sometimes", and I know that he'll bring up past things in a fight to try to prove his point. These are both things that are not examples of fighting fair that we cannot change..it's just so much a part of us that the best we can do is try to limit it, but also understand that there is times that it will happen.

I also have learned that he shuts down in a fight and will not be ready to talk until he has calmed down. He has learned that I cannot go to bed angry. So, to compromise I have learned to stop a fight in it's tracks and say "I think we need to calm down and just not talk for a while" he'll go and has his cool down time and I will try to let it go for a while and let go of the anger behind the fight. Then, he'll come to me when he is ready, and we will apologize and then talk it out. Likewise he tries to get over things quicker at night so that I don't spend the whole night fretting about the fight while he sleeps.

Finally, we realize that we fight so passionately because we're so passionate about each other. If we didn't care we wouldn't fight. We're also so comfortable with each other that it means that not only do we get all the best parts of each other..we sometimes are the ones to deal with the worst as well.
10/27/2010
Chilipepper Chilipepper
Find an emotionally healthy partner for starters.

My ex-husband was passive-aggressive and reacted like a twelve-year-old child, so the fighting was never fair nor could even have mature ground rules. I had to withdraw for me to calm down, but then that made him more angry that we couldn't 'fight it through'. As a result there were also lots of 'keeping up appearances' and people assumed we were totally happy and never fought; he actually called them 'disagreements' while I said nothing when asked. I simply ended up avoiding confrontations because it would never be worked out maturely.

Most of the fighting was about our lack of sex life - I got blamed and shamed for it every time ... everything from 'sabotaging him' to 'scaring his libido away' to 'getting worked up about a genital sneeze'. Not once would he admit to any responsibility on his end.

So, yeah - you can only fight fair when you're with another Adult.
10/27/2010
P'Gell P'Gell
My Man and I break most of the rules. We don't use "I" messages (I try to and he turns them around, as "See, you're admitting you are wrong.") We let the argument get on other subjects, which is supposed to be a bad idea, and I think it is, but it happens anyway. We were both raised by people who couldn't let things go. I've gotten a lot better about being bitchy, and he can control his anger a LOT better than he used to. I know to leave him alone when he says to, and he knows not to bug me about "stupid" things, like the "quality" of housework. "If the kids are all alive, and there is food to eat when he gets home from work, I've done my job. Don't get on my ass about shiny floors. I don't care!"

However, even though both of us have hot tempers we also both cool down very quickly. I'm like flash powder, I ignite in a second, burn for a few minutes then I'm calming down. I do tend to cry. A lot. But, that's just how I am. He's a little slower with calming, some of the time, but definitely stays away from the "slow burn and freeze out" shit he used to do when we were first married. Two hot heads are not supposed to make a good marriage, but we make it work. Probably because neither of us are afraid to say. "I'm sorry." Even if we don't always feel were were all that wrong. I think sometimes it's better to swallow your pride and get over it.

Being In Love is more important than Being "Right."
10/27/2010
Alicia Alicia
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
My Man and I break most of the rules. We don't use "I" messages (I try to and he turns them around, as "See, you're admitting you are wrong.") We let the argument get on other subjects, which is supposed to be a bad idea, ...
You two sound a lot like me and my husband. I cry a lot, I have a short fuse but I also get over things quickly. My husband has a tendency to explode and then freeze out, but he has been working on that over the years and the freeze doesn't last nearly as long anymore. We're also both good about saying I'm sorry and admitting when we're wrong..or when we were silly to fight over it if we don't think we're wrong...because your last sentence is exactly it. Being in love is more important that being right!
10/27/2010
Beth D Beth D
Not that I have experience fighting with a significant other, but I have plenty of experience fighting with my brother; the one person who drives me the most crazy in the world. I get so angry that I cry and he gets so angry he threatens me. I know he doesn't mean it of course but he has thrown a remote control at my forehead so hard the controller exploded and my head was bruised. And I hold grudges something fierce.

Something tells me I'll have to work at productive fighting in a romantic relationship and, hopefully, I'd become better at that than fighting with my brother.
10/27/2010
Matheri89 Matheri89
We follow the rule "Will what we say in an argument contribute to the strength of our relationship?" This helps to avoid hurtful things being said. We also try to avoid defensiveness and assumptions, and talk about how things make us feel rather than casting motive on the other person.

Beth, I've found that relationships are universal, so maybe as you and your brother learn to communicate better, your relationship skills will develop in kind.
10/27/2010
Sammi Sammi
We rarely fight. Occasionally one of us will get mad, but it blows over and doesn't turn into a fight or argument for the most part. I can't remember the last thing we actually fought about.
10/27/2010
crazypao crazypao
Quote:
Originally posted by Alicia
You two sound a lot like me and my husband. I cry a lot, I have a short fuse but I also get over things quickly. My husband has a tendency to explode and then freeze out, but he has been working on that over the years and the freeze doesn't ...
Same here too! My man used to freeze. He doesn't really any more, but he used to be really bad about it. He doesn't really explode or anything though, it takes a bit to get him riled up. I, on the other hand insta-freak out and explode, sob hysterically for about 10 minutes and then I'm done.
10/28/2010
Naughty Student Naughty Student
We do argue and the best way to make it work out right is to each say what you have to say. We both take our turns expressing our emotions(anger,sadness )/fears/thoughts. We don't stop until we both feel like the issue is resolved, it's hard for either one of us to just get up and leave if the issue hasn't been resolved.
10/28/2010
RosesThorns RosesThorns
I believe very strongly in the "I feel" Statement. As in "I feel like you are doing da da da and not paying enough attention to blah blah blah" Less accusatory that way I guess... Also comes from raising kids I guess... I don't have any of my own, I have just been a Nanny most of my adult life off and on.

I have a habit of being rather emotional when I do fight however. I am a crier and a screamer, but it takes a lot for me to get that pissed.
10/28/2010
HisLittleGirl HisLittleGirl
Never go to bed angry and NEVER EVER say something you don't mean, even in the heat of the moment. We rarely fight but those are two of our more important rules.
10/28/2010
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Quote:
Originally posted by Sammi
We rarely fight. Occasionally one of us will get mad, but it blows over and doesn't turn into a fight or argument for the most part. I can't remember the last thing we actually fought about.
Pretty much the same here. I refuse to hold a grudge, life's too short!
10/28/2010
Jobthingy Jobthingy
When I am pissed he knows it. But I refuse to explode. It is not good for anyone. I do have to get it out though. So we sit and discuss. There is never yelling. put it out on the table, sort through it and done.
10/28/2010
ButchAndFemme ButchAndFemme
I've never raised my voice to my partner. It not only keeps things a bit more calm, but she says it doesn't make her feel as attacked or that I'm being too aggressive. It took me a long time to get ahold of my aggression and learn how to reel it in. I'd say the no yelling rule has been absolutely instrumental in a successful relationship.
10/28/2010
Jenn (aka kissmykitty) Jenn (aka kissmykitty)
We try very hard to avoid insults, to avoid "always/never" statements, as they're so concrete, and to avoid generalizations. We don't bring up the past, and we try very hard to put our own anger and upset on hold in order to listen to the other side of the story. When we're both not so defensive, it's easier to actually listen AND get through to the other.
10/28/2010
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Also, we avoid ultimatums...at all costs.
10/28/2010
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Jenn (aka kissmykitty)
We try very hard to avoid insults, to avoid "always/never" statements, as they're so concrete, and to avoid generalizations. We don't bring up the past, and we try very hard to put our own anger and upset on hold in order to listen ...
"Always" and "Never" are two of the most overused and useless words in the English language. I agree.
10/29/2010
BBW Talks Toys BBW Talks Toys
I cry too, but it's mostly because that's what happens when I get really, really mad.

We've learned to walk away from the situation and come back when we've calmed down and talk it out. Mostly because our kids are around, they've really helped us fight more effectively.

If one of our tempers starts to flare, one of us will say, "OK, I'm talking and you're yelling, can we bring it back down to talking?" Usually helps us keep our voices down and our moods calm so we can hear what the other is saying.
10/29/2010
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Alicia
You two sound a lot like me and my husband. I cry a lot, I have a short fuse but I also get over things quickly. My husband has a tendency to explode and then freeze out, but he has been working on that over the years and the freeze doesn't ...
Alicia, My Man and I went through a bad patch a number of years ago, (I think it was when I was on Depo and my sex drive was gone) and we simply didn't like each other very much for a while there. I STOPPED crying. That alone should have told me something was wrong. One day, we actually were making love and he said, "You never tell me you love me anymore." Damn, the dam broke.

Thank Heavens we worked our way through it.

I think crying is beneficial. My Man, big bad, bearded, tattooed, Dommy guy, cries from TV shows, or when things get really bad between us. I have to tell you, it was one of the things that attracted me to him. He's tough, he's rough, he's crude, but he can cry at the end of It's a Wonderful Life every time, or when we talk about people we have lost, or when we have a really bad fight.

I think crying is good. It is an emotional release that helps you cope and calm down. I think I cry about 4 or 5 times a week, sometimes more. When I wasn't crying at all, something was really wrong!
10/29/2010
Danielle1220 Danielle1220
Quote:
Originally posted by Alicia
This was something that my husband and I struggled with for quite a while. We both knew how we should fight, but it never quite worked out like that because our emotions would get the best of us.

So, what we do is just try to understand how ...
We are exactly the same way you and your husband are...kinda scary LOL
10/29/2010
seaofneptune seaofneptune
I prefer us to have time apart to cool off and then talk it over. We never like to argue, we never raise our voices at each other, slam doors, anything. Just talk and let each other know how we feel.
10/29/2010
Madeira Madeira
We disagree but we don't "fight" per say, there's no screaming, or slamming of doors. We don't use always/never statements, we just both say how we feel and talk things out.
10/29/2010
Serendipity Serendipity
I dunno about calling it 'fighting'. I think it's communicating.

My rules:
- make sure I know what it is I want to communicate and state it clearly. No masking one thing for another.
- don't blame or point fingers. even if what i am upset about is that they are constantly late for our dates, I would try to put it out there as "when you are late, it makes me feel like I am not important to you" rather than just screaming "You're late AGAIN!"
- I think you always need to be ready to act on what you say. Don't make empty threats. And don't get caught in the same argument every week. It's probably time to leave when that happens.
- get out everything you need to get out and give each other the space to state their case. Work on some kind of resolution before you walk away from it even if the resolution is that you agree to disagree or that you cannot finish the discussion at that time but make a specific plan or date and time to come back to it. Otherwise, when it's done, it's done. Shake hands.
10/29/2010
Victoria Victoria
No yelling, no insults, try to keep it on topic and not make it a fight about everything, admit if you're displacing some emotions from other things going on in your life, try to be compassionate, apologize if you're being inconsiderate, if you're too wound up then take a breather and come back to the discussion.

We try
10/29/2010
Jul!a Jul!a
Quote:
Originally posted by Victoria
No yelling, no insults, try to keep it on topic and not make it a fight about everything, admit if you're displacing some emotions from other things going on in your life, try to be compassionate, apologize if you're being inconsiderate, if ...
That's what we try to do too
11/01/2010
Harlequin Harlequin
the truth of the matter is, EVERYONE fights and if they tell you they don't, they are lying to you. some people fight alot some people don't. don't focus on what kind of fights you have or how much you fight, it's about being able to GET OVER the fights and move on. if you can do that, you'll have a great relationship.
12/11/2010
Total posts: 27
Unique posters: 23