Stormy Weather – Stop Trying to “Win” Fights
Fights can come out of no where, like a sudden thunderstorm. You can be sitting on the
couch, re-watching Friends for the thirteenth time. You can be driving home from the
grocery store. You can even be on a date to your favorite restaurant, sitting across from
each other as you wait for your Alfredo.
You might notice a few rumbles of thunder. Maybe a joke is met with a sigh instead of a
laugh. She doesn’t grab your hand when you settle into the movie theater seats. You find
yourself dreading the sound of her car pulling into the driveway.
It’s easy to brush off the impending clouds – you’re tired from work, she didn’t do as well
as she hoped on a test, the dog made a mess while you were gone. You’ll just ignore it and
deal with it later.
But then the rain comes down, the wind picks up, and you’re caught in the storm.
Being in a fight can be simultaneously infuriating, exhausting, and frightening. If you’ve
been having trouble for a while, it can initially feel cathartic to finally say (often times in a
loud voice) all the things you’ve been holding back. If you’re in a newer relationship, it can
be terrifying to get into your first fight – things have been going well, you really like this
girl, and you don’t want to lose her. Either way, the culprit behind almost every fight is a
break down in communication.
Girls and guys aren’t always as different as they might appear to be. All relationships need
to have good communication in order to function well, and both men and women need to
keep the lines of communication open and clear.
If you are having an issue with something your partner is doing, the best way to avoid a
fight about it is to bring it up early on. If you feel like you’re always catering to what she
wants to do, don’t grit your teeth, “let her win” again, and carry the resentment around –
tell her! Say “I feel like I don’t have an equal voice when we’re deciding what to do.” She
might be surprised, not realizing that’s how you felt; or, she might have a very different
opinion on how many times she’s gotten her way. However, by bringing it up right away,
instead of letting it go for weeks, you’ve avoided the toxic buildup of emotions.
You also must work hard to be honest in your discussions. If you bring up an issue, but
back down or avoid the actual problem you’re having because it’s hard to talk about, it will
isolate you again – she will assume the issue is resolved after you talk about it, but you will
not feel any better. And in my experience, the real issue will ALWAYS come out eventually
– you will feel better if you are in control of “when” that happens.
But above all else, the key to dealing with fights is to stop seeing them as a fight between
you and your significant other. If you are trying to “win” an argument against her, then
you are on the wrong team.
Learning to see the issue as the enemy, instead of each other, will make things so much
less stressful and painful for both of you. Fights lead to unkind words, which can lead to
permanent scars on a relationship. A fight has a winner and a loser – and leads to
rematches and rivalry.
It can be very difficult to learn to be a team player. Our instincts are often based on self-
preservation. However, a team is much better equipped to handle life’s problems. When
you work together and face an issue head on, you will have less stress, more ideas, and
someone to rely on. And the thing that all good teams have in common is good
communication. Identify the source of the problem, make a gameplan together on how to
beat it, and the two of you will be making each other stronger.