Don't Argue To Win

Lovers’ tiffs are all part and parcel of being in a relationship. Couples can fight over the silliest and smallest things like leaving the toilet seat up; but there's also the serious stuff too such as managing finances and jealousy issues. As long as you’re fighting constructively and fairly, your relationship will likely stay unharmed. In fact, it could even make it stronger.

According to advice from US-based relationship guru Dr Phil McGraw: “How you argue – especially how you end an argument – can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship.” “Disagreements are going to occur,” says Dr McGraw. “The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your romantic relationship a competition, it means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition – it’s a partnership.” Bear the following points in mind the next time you argue with your partner.

DON’T BRING UP THE PAST

If you want to fight fairly, never bring up the past. By all means, don’t go running to the closet to look for all those skeletons to get back at your loved one. Stick to the current argument. Isolate the issue and resolve it without digging into old wounds and past hurts. What happened in the past, stays in the past.

SAY “NO” TO THE HAND

Nothing says abuse louder than raising your fist or using physical intimidation to win an argument with your other half. Shoving and pushing  are all bully tactics.  The same goes for other kinds of abuse – emotional, verbal and mental. Don’t resort to name- calling midway through an argument, or hitting below the belt by demeaning your  partner’s actions and words. Be mature and focused in making your points. 

Popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey warned viewers in the episode where the abuse between celebrities Chris Brown and Rihanna was discussed: “Love doesn’t hurt... If a man hits you once, he will hit you again.” If you have a history of inflicting physical abuse, seek counselling to get over your anger or conflict management issues. It’s a cardinal rule that you never, ever raise your fist at a lady.

Next: Wait 24 hours before addressing the issue


DELAYED FIGHTING

Always apply the 24-hour rule whenever you get too angry during an argument. No one is logical when he or she is emotionally charged with anger, sadness or disappointment. Angry and unreasonable words will spew out uncontrollably – words we’d want to take back the next day. But we can't.

Delay the fighting and postpone the discussion to the next day. Never jump into a fight when you know you’re unable to control your emotions. You need to be calm, logical and coherent when you’re trying to work things out with your partner. Have an understanding that either one of you is allowed to hit the exit button during the fight if it gets too overwhelming. Revisit the issue in the next 24 hours but don’t ignore the issues that need to be resolved. Chances are, things usually seem clearer with a brand new day.

AVOID THE GUILT TRIP

Guilt-tripping your significant other during a quarrel is simply emotional blackmail and it isn’t constructive. Fighting fairly is about listening to one another and responding to what is said during a quarrel. Dragging in ultimatums or making the other person feel guilty all the time isn’t going to solve the problem. 

Even if these tactics succeed for the moment, resentment will build up over time. If your partner’s words and actions are controlled by your guilt trips, where’s the authenticity of your relationship? Your relationship may just become a ticking time bomb. Winning a fight this way will only leave you with two losers.

AGREE TO DISAGREE

If you think that resolving an issue involves the other party agreeing with you all the time, you’re in for some major disappointment. Fighting fairly requires both individuals to respect one another’s differences and allow the other to be boldly different. As soon as you subscribe to this simple notion, you’ll quickly see how some quarrels are irrelevant and a waste of time. No need to get upset if your girlfriend thinks that your favourite soccer team has no hope of winning this season. That’s her opinion. It’s a simplistic example, but you get the point.

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