Fight Fair Without Fighting At All!

male-frustration-7534-bs“And then you said I was worthless in 1974 and that made me feel like you didn’t love me, which you’re now proving once again!”

Oy, the joys of a fight gone out of control! We’ve all been there. Experienced those moments where we feel like we’re in perpetual fight, spinning down into the depths of hell. Each person determined to be right and win the fight!

And, how much fun are those fights? I don’t know about you but they’re not fun by any stretch of the imagination. So why do we go there? What causes the diarrhea of the mouth to overflow? How do these moments improve our relationships? No one can answer these questions but us. Yet, how different would our lives be if we realized, there doesn’t have to be a fight, there only has to be a conversation…an adult conversation.

Before we move onto how to have an adult conversation, let’s get some unnecessary baggage out of the way.

  1. Playground tantrums are not necessary. We’re adults and for the most part should act like adults unless we’ve agreed to act like silly fun loving kids. Otherwise, let’s put on our big boy and big girl undies and not fill them with crap of acting like a child when we need to work stuff out in our relationship.
  2. Finger pointing has no place in the discussion. Momma told it wasn’t polite to point and it still isn’t. And if your Momma didn’t teach that rule, well now you’ve heard it. When it comes to fighting, there’s a way to point out the obvious without making it personal. More on that later.
  3. Never miss a good chance to shut up. As much as you’d like the last word, sometimes that last word will be your last word and the relationship is hosed. It’s okay to shut up and stay silent, provided you’re not brooding about when the hell she/he’s going to shut up so you can get a word in edge-wise.

Now that the ground rules are set, let’s learn to fight fair without fighting.

  1. Disagreement hour or night. It’s funny how we make time to get to the gym, eat right, and even have maybe a set time each week for sex (How boring is that?). How ironic is it that we don’t set aside time to work through weekly disagreements? Seriously. If we scheduled time on our calendars to vent with our spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, you know that “significant other,” how much more significant might they feel. Hello! They’ve got a time slot on your calendar for working through issues. Screw the anniversary chocolates and put them on our calendar right along with RuPauls Drag Race.
  2. Non-confrontational fornication. Ok, maybe fornication isn’t the right word, but in reality having a confrontation is a messy as a juicy romp in the hay. Instead of making it an ugly confrontation, try saying, “When you said “X,” it made me feel like “Y” and I’m wondering if that’s what you intended. This isn’t new age relationship voodoo I’m dishing out, it’s commons sense non-confrontational relationship advice. Try it on for size and see what happens. Just make sure the other person learns that their side of the conversation goes like, “So what I heard you say is “X” made you feel like “Y.” If that’s what you felt, yes/no that’s what was intended. Then take it slowly from there.
  3. Shut up and listen. Sorry, didn’t mean to sound so demanding, but when we listen, we control. When we react, we lose control. One of the things I use most often in my coaching practice is the use of silence. In fact there’s a golden rule about silence. “When you’re silent, it’s all about the other person. When you’re talking, it’s all about you.” You don’t have to be a therapist to understand, silence invites truth to come forth and steam to be released. When you’re talking it’s about shutting down more often than not, unless you are making a valid point that needs to be heard.
  4. Allow differences to be differences. What would it this world and our relationships be like if we all agreed on everything. “I like this position! Yes me too!” “I love that you are intimate with me but like sex with other people. Yes me too!” UGH! Really? Our differences and our perspectives is what make the world and us unique and a more interesting place. The moment you wish you were more alike is the moment in most relationships when the trouble really starts.
  5. Two words that save the day. “You’re right!” Try it. Have someone tell you, “You’re right,” right now. What happened as you took in those words? You felt a shift. Now this doesn’t mean you wave the white flag of surrender. No, no, no! It simply means you admit that the other person has a perspective, and you then follow up with, “Here’s another way of looking at it,” or “Another solution could be….” Us humans are a funny bunch. The moment we get a little bit of a stroke to the ego, our bodies react and we often settle into a state of “I’m ok. You’re ok.”

Whether your fighting over directions to the nearest burger joint, or discussing how to plan for retirement, often the best medicine is to create space; space for conversations and communication to flourish so that pressure and crazy making can go bye-bye.

After all, if you’ve fought hard enough with everyone else to accept you and you’re same-sex partner, why don’t you fight smarter to keep the relationship alive?

About Rick Clemons

Rick Clemons is a life changer, motivator, guide, mentor, and inspiring life coach, and author of the soon to be released, “Frankly My Dear I’m Gay.” He’s on a mission; guiding gay men to find their own voice, love deeply, work passionately, and live powerfully without regrets.