How to Fight Fair in a Relationship
All people, no matter how much they care, will disagree. Try the following ideas when disagreements arise.
- Only deal with one problem at a time. Hold back from bringing up the past. If something that happened in the past is bothering you, wait until you have talked through what just happened before you bring it up.
- Describe how the problem affects you. Share your feelings with “I” messages instead of “you” phrases. “You” carries blame. Avoid sarcasm and he said/she said.
- Describe the problem without attacking the other person. Shouting, blaming, and put downs just make the situation worse. Remember, no one always does everything right or never does anything wrong.
- Ask how the person is feeling. Don’t guess or tell a person what to think or how to feel.
- Keep an open mind and listen to what the other person says. Avoid interrupting or putting words into the other person’s mouth. Don’t take the position that you have to be right all the time.
- Talk without interruptions. Turn off the cell phone, television, and computer.
- Keeping a sense of humour is okay, but do not make fun of the other person.
- Wait until the effects of drugs or alcohol have worn off. If you are intoxicated, you won’t be able to think clearly or know what is really going on. This goes for the other person, too.
- Don’t try to have one winner and one loser. If a discussion ends this way, you will both lose. Be willing to compromise. Sometimes the best you can do is agree to disagree.
- Take a break if you are not getting any closer to reaching an agreement. This gives each person time to think about what they want to happen and possible solutions. Agree when you will talk about the problem again before you leave.
- Do not destroy property. Tearing up letters, poems, or pictures will not help work out the problem and you may regret it later.
- Once you have come up with a solution to the problem, remember it doesn’t have to be permanent. Try it for a while and if it doesn’t work for one of you, talk about it and try something else.
- There is never an excuse for using violence. This includes using threats (“I can find someone else!”), coercion (“if you really loved me…”), and physical violence.