Thursday, May 7, 2009

[Essay] More In Love After A Fight

Fights are a normal part in any relationship… especially in any romantic relationship. Fights can also make or break a relationship and they say it’s how you handle conflicts that will save or doom your relationship.

Well, how exactly do you handle conflicts that will definitely save your relationship? Is there a proven strategy to be more in love after fighting with each other?

Never fear… I’ve been in this situation a lot of times with my beau and we end up more and more in love after each and every fight. Read on and enjoy being and feeling more in love after a fight. Works every time!

Usually disagreements come from normal, everyday conversations, comments, or things your partner said or unconsciously do. And usually, you just shrug off the first couple times s/he did or said it but eventually the irritation piles up and now you’re faced with an issue that you can’t shrug off anymore and it’s really bothering you.

The first thing you want to do is to hunt your partner down in any way you can - be it email, text message, or a phone call – to let him/her know how upset you are at your partner, right? STOP! It will only cause more harm than good because with your emotions clouding everything else, when you confront your partner with your issues, you won’t be that clear to them and being surprised like that, your partner won’t be able to respond properly to the issue and earn more anger from you. INSTEAD, when you feel upset at your partner, back up a little bit, do some thinking and think about what exactly is the cause of this anger. You’ve already identified who you’re angry at, so now, identify what they did that ticked you off. You can write it down in short phrases to help you be more organized and on topic when you present the issue to your partner. NEXT, as much as you want to throw breakables over their head for being slow (or for testing your patience), strive to be calm. Believe me, when I say it’s hard to stay calm when you’re fighting, it is hard but it’s doable. Not only is it doable, staying calm is also a relationship saver in the sense that when you are calm, you think more rationally and you don’t say hurtful things you don’t really mean that you’ll later regret having said.

After presenting the issue to your partner, your fight now progresses to the part where you explain your side and how you feel about the issue. Your partner on the other hand, explains their side, tells you how they feel when you’re done with the talking.

Common reaction is to dig up past grievances, drive home your point through their thick skull no matter how many times you have to repeat yourself and name-calling at this point could be so tempting. If you find yourself doing just that, STOP! Digging up past grievances only serves to confuse what the real issue is about and repeating the point over and over that you’re beginning to sound like a broken record will not help at all because it will only irritate your partner and in turn, they will automatically tune you out because they feel that they’ve heard your spiel already and thus all the more forget about the point you’ve been trying to make. And name-calling is not only low but also a sign of immaturity. INSTEAD, focus only on the issue at hand because past grievances are well, left in the past as they are for sure, resolved already and therefore, a close case never to be re-opened again. When opening up the issue, instead of whining and blaming your partner for what they did or did not do, open up the issue by telling your partner how their words or actions makes you feel and ask them what’s on their mind with regards to what you just said. Opening up using the phrase, “Because of what you said or did” would only make matters worse because the accusatory tone associated with the phrase puts your partner’s back up and thus activates the need to defend himself at all cost. Instead, use the phrase – and feel free to use terms of endearment before saying – “I feel” because the endearing and cautious tone you use leaves more room for your partner to be equally calm, and rational, and it activates their need to comfort a distressed loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in a calm manner as to the when, where, how, and why your partner had been feeling distressed. Asking relevant questions in order to understand where your partner is coming from makes them feel respected, important to you, and it shows that you truly are listening and interested to make things right again. When you’re about to lose all patience with your partner during this stage of a fight, instead of name calling, step back, take a couple of deep breaths, and suggest you both continue the discussion after you’ve both calmed down – it could be thirty minutes to an hour, a day, after a calming down session/activity, whatever. Take a walk, a breath of fresh air in your garden or listen to a song, do anything that would help you calm down. If it means writing down everything that just happened so be it as long as it works. Then when you’re both calm enough go back to where you left off and patch things up.

After all the discussions and debates, you guys are now at the stage where you’re both suggesting solutions to patch things up and make your world all bright and sunny again. But the thing is no two people have the same ideas in resolving issues.

You feel his suggestions are not acceptable and because you feel it’s your partner’s fault for making you feel distressed in the first place, you’re waiting for an apology that would win the grandest apology in the world award. STOP if you’re feeling utterly stubborn like this. Continually disregarding your partner’s suggestions and efforts to resolve the conflict will not only drive you both insane but it will start another fight between the two of you. INSTEAD, listen to what your partner has to say and really think about it if you think you can do what they’re suggesting or you can suggest a few of your own and see what your partner thinks about it. It’s about listening and being heard one after the other not simultaneously. At some point in this stage, you’ll find something to agree on and that you both think will work nicely. In way of apologies, is there really a need for your partner to suffer and beg for forgiveness? Having seen so many TV drama soaps where this is the prevalent theme, let me just remind you that this is real life not TV so keep it simple and keep it real. Won’t you rather have a heartfelt “Honey, I’m sorry… can you ever forgive me?” than your partner, directly quoting a dialogue from a TV or movie scene without meaning a word they uttered? I thought so. Keeping it simple, real and heartfelt increases the feeling of respect, importance and love.

Having solved the issue and forgiving your partner means it’s the end of the fight. But not all people feel the same about the resolved issue. For some, it takes them a minute to completely move on and feel at peace while for others it takes more than a minute to feel the same way. So before you completely wipe off the satisfied grin on your partner’s face (and vice versa) with a snide remark because you still feel wronged, STOP! This will only start another fight and it’s a petty indulgent on your part. INSTEAD, move on by asking each other if there are still any other concerns left to be addressed and if not, declare to each other that the matter as discussed has been resolved and that you both agree on its resolution and you both are on the same page.

Having shared with you my conflict handling strategy, here comes the part that I love the most and sometimes the reason why I’m looking forward to our next couple fight, not solely because of this last part but because I know and I’m confident that we’ll emerge from a fight all the more in love with each other than ever before.

And this is how we do it: first off, thank your partner for listening, talking to you and helping solve the issue with you and not avoiding it by making excuses or denying its existence. Secondly, sending an “I’m sorry” card or note with or without a small token attach goes a long way of increasing that love feeling in your heart. And lastly, lots of hugs and kisses!

If it works for us, it will probably work for you too. Enjoy life!