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Choose Your Battles Wisely: Winning The Battle Over Destructive Arguing

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Some women claim they “pick arguments” just for the “thrill” of making up. I don’t know about you, but when I’m angered (at my other half) the only reason I want to get near him is so that I don’t miss when I take that right swing (just kidding). And while most would agree that it’s futile to “sweat the small stuff”, disagreements between couples are inevitable. Sure it may seem easy to walk away while your “only” dating but think about all the hurt that goes along with an argument. Well, it’s much more intense once you’re living together and officially husband and wife. So, what’s a girl to do, say nothing? Not exactly. Remember, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Below are some suggestions on how to handle the most delicate discrepancies.

1.Think Before You Speak: Blurting out what’s on your mind when angry is like acting on impulse when you see a cute guy (who just happens to be hitting on you and has your hormones all out of wack) in a crowd. Experts suggest relying on intuition (and logic) instead of impulse. Remember, timing is everything and speaking (or yelling) when you’re upset will only add fuel to the fire. Take time out to reassess your feelings, your words, and your approach, as well as, WHY you got upset. Wait for the right time (even if it means days, weeks and even months) to make your point. And, experts, note, when you do, do it calmly and diplomatically for the most impact and effect….and make sure it leads to a thought provoking discussion and NOT another argument.

2. Take Note: Keeping track of coherent thoughts, even if you step away from the situation is difficult when you are angry and all your thoughts revolve around vindicating yourself and your point of view. Professionals point out that one of the ways you can best get your point across is by writing it down. They suggest jotting down all the things you want to talk about and address, give it to your partner and ask him to read it and let you know when he’s ready to discuss it.

3. Don’t Make The Bedroom Your Battleground: While (in bed) may be the only time you have to talk, you should refrain from: 1) Going to bed angry 2) Arguing in the bedroom (you begin to attribute negative feelings to your most intimate quarters and most intimate part of your lives), and 3) Using sex as a weapon of war.

4. Kiss and Make-Up: While experts realize that it’s imperative to reaffirm your relationship and get it back on track and back in good standing via love and affection, they also note, that, that may not always mean sex. While one partner may view sex as the ultimate reconciliation tool, the other partner may not. She/he may need time to get over the frustration, the disconnection and may need time to go out and re-establish trust and a bond. Be respectful of your partner’s feelings and work together to build your relationship and intimacy level.

5. Control Yourself And Your Temper: Emotions are very powerful tools and if allowed to get out of control may even cost you, your validity, even if you were right all along. Experts suggest refraining from raising your voice, yelling, screaming, name-calling, accusatory remarks, foul language, crying fits, temper tantrums, and/or violent withdrawals from the conversation. Out of control behavior will only further alienate and instigate your partner (just as much as condescending behavior, such as eye-rolling) and widen the rift between you, as issues remain unresolved.

6. Be A Good Listener: Protecting our own viewpoint and defending ourselves is probably our first and most natural reaction when confronted. However, experts note, that part of debating effectively is learning to listen effectively. They suggest allowing the person on the offensive have the floor and responding only when he/she is “done” and you’ve clarified that you’ve understood what they said, what you heard, and what they meant.

7. Choose Your Words Carefully: Experts agree that part of any healthy relationship is the ability to remain open and honest. Yet they advise that sometimes, brutal honesty may need to be “sugar-coated”. You may dislike your spouses choice of friends, but, they say, that’s no reason to remind him that they are a “worthless, no-good, immature, bunch of bums with no ambition and no future, and that’s where he’d be if it wasn’t for you.” Keep in mind; a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.

8. Stay In The Moment: When “discussing” your differences, experts say, it’s imperative to focus on the issue at hand, no matter how relevant or pertinant it is to an argument you had three weeks ago. Leave the past, exactly where it is, behind you, and approach the present and the future with a new understanding and perspective, resolving one issue at a time. The only way to do that, say professionals, is to stay on topic and avoid (as tempting as it may be) veering off.

9. Take Your Responsibility: Keep in mind, that if it takes two to tango, it also takes two to argue…and it also takes two to be in a relationship even if it’s an unhealthy one. Experts note, that often times people will blame their partner, but not take any of the blame for themselves. If your partner has an unhealthy and perhaps unappealing habit, instead of blaming, remember that you were attracted to them because perhaps you are both cut from the same cloth. And, they suggest, taking a look to see what you’ve done and how to help the person with their shortcoming(s). Experts note, that we rarely if ever do things if there’s no benefit or (emotional) return/reward) If your relationship wasn’t working for you (on some level) and you had “nothing” to gain, experts suggest you wouldn’t argue, you simply wouldn’t stay. Identify your gain and work on resolving you issues from there.

10. Don’t Expect Too Much: Don’t make your current partner the scapegoat or sounding board for past “indiscretions”. While you certainly don’t want to repeat past mistakes, you also don’t want to make your spouse responsible for making up for all your past disappointments. Furthermore they note that while you “do” want to depend on your mate for support you can’t expect him to be sympathetic in every arena. Experts suggest realizing and accepting this fact, and relying on other members of your (immediate) support system in areas that he can’t help. Most of all they recommend never holding it against him.

11. Learn To Laugh At Yourself And The Situation: One of the best ways, say experts, to “argue” effectively is to never take yourself too seriously. Learn to focus on the humor of the situation rather than on the severity of it and always try to walk away smiling and feeling good about your relationship.

Long Island Relationship Articles > Choose Your Battles Wisely: Winning The Battle Over Destructive Arguing

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