Post # 1
I recently posted a question about if getting engaged is worth it in couples who fight a lot.
Me and my fiance talked it over, and figured out that our problems are communication-related. When we argue, or talk about it problems it’s difficult for both of us. His instict is to avoid confrontation, or take offense by it. My instict is to overanalyze and let my emotions run high. We both have our issues we need to work through, and while I have thought that maybe it’d be better to work on the issues before getting into a relationship, we don’t want to break up and he doesn’t want to break off the engagement either. Things have gotten really bad in the past, but my fiance is adamant in fixing it and wants us to help each other grow. He is a big believer in that couples should make things work, not run away from the relationship at the first sign of conflict. I’m usually the type that runs away, but I’m learning to have faith haha.
We really want to make this work, as everything else about each other and our relationship is good. We have the same beliefs, values, goals, likes, dislikes, everything. We click rather well when things are okay, it’s just when there is stress involved that we have issues. I want to help us communicate better, control our emotions, and understand each others needs when it comes to issues like this. We have agreed to go to couple’s counseling, we are just looking for a place that accepts our insurance.
Have any of you had similar issues in the relationship? How did you move forward?
Tips and advice is greatly appreciated, bees.
Post # 3
@Mircat: If the biggest problem is in HOW you fight, then I think it’s something that can be worked through, especially with the help of counseling. I applaud the two of you for recognizing the need for some assistance and proactively facing the issue before making such a huge commitment. Good luck!
Post # 4
My FI and I had a lot of pretty major communication problems that dominated the first 3 years of our relationship. It was very bad and I firmly believe that had we not gotten help, we would be long broken up. We went to counseling for 6 months and it did WONDERS for us. We are a united front now – once we figured out how to get past the roadblocks that were hurting us, we became the couple I always knew we could be. It’s not perfect, but we now know how to fight fair.
You both need to be able to gain some middle ground – he cannot avoid uncomfortable conversations all the time and you cannot let your emotions rule you. I am exactly like you… I want to talk for 3 hours about every issue and repeat myself multiple times, while my SO would rather just let it go and pretend it didn’t happen. We’ve had to make a lot of compromises – for him, it’s about listening for a reasonable amount of time and for me, it’s about picking what I say (and when I say it) wisely. It’s not something I can summarize that easily… but I do think counseling is your best bet. Having a third party to facilitate some of this change is a great idea.
Good luck 🙂
Post # 5
@Mircat: I can really relate to the problem being how you fight/discuss big issues. For the most part, my FI and I are pretty good at communication, but he used to do this thing where he would do his best to avoid confrontation until I was far enough away that we needed to argue electronically. I’m the type of person who enjoys getting an argument out of the way. I’ll gladly admit to being in the wrong if I am, but I want do deal with confrontation right away. He likes to avoid & run away from confrontation.
One night, we were fighting by text in the same house, and I finally just stormed upstairs and demanded that he argue with me face-to-face, because doing it over the phone just made me so much angrier at him. That discussion really wound up being more about how we fight than what we were fighting about, and it gave us both a lot more insight about how we deal with frustration.
If you guys have a hard time working out how to discuss issues better, then there is no shame in getting help. If you both want to make it work, then obviously there is something worth it there! I’m rooting for you guys.
Post # 6
Well thankfully, bad communication isn’t something to run from, it’s absolutely something that can be worked through and improved upon. Counseling will help immensely. We are the same, my husbans hates confrontation and shuts down in the face of conflict and my emotions run high and go higher the more he shuts down. Counseling has definitely helped, but we still have plenty of weak moments!!
Post # 7
I think all couples need to work on communication, especially when fighting. I know DH and I have spent some time thinking about how we could communicate bettter.
We’ve come up with a few guidelines. First, you should pick your battles. If something’s not important then don’t fuss over it. If you’re just in a bad mood think twice before exploding over something that normally wouldn’t be a big deal.
That goes hand in hand with number two, talk about what you want to talk about. Don’t skirt important issues. Especially don’t bottle things up, resent your SO and then throw it out at him later. Never bring up past issues if they’re not relevent. For example, if I was rude to SO I don’t say “Ya well last week you were rude to me!” That creates a black hole of fighting that some couples never get out of.
Lastly, come from a place of agreement instead of disagreement. Talk about how you can solve problems instead of blaming each other. Don’t use phrases like “you don’t care about me” because it’s not helpful. Say something like “I felt hurt when you did x, could you do y instead?”
I’m sure you can think of some of your own guidelines for better communication. Just think about these things after a fight. Why did a conversation or disagreement turn into a fight? How did you come to an agreement?
Post # 8
I realize this isn’t going to sound the most constructive and I’m sure some people will take issue with my method, but I’m going to say it anyway.
My husband has some bad habits when it comes to arguing and conflict resolution. Circular arguing, placing blame, deflecting the issue, etc. At times, it seems like he turns into someone I don’t even recognize! It has led to some AWFUL fights when I have let myself get sucked in. I’m ashamed of myself for that, but I have changed my approach.
It has gotten a LOT better, but only because I have refused to have any part of it. When he starts up, I disengage. I identify it, explain why it’s not helpful and just flat out refuse to have any more conversation while he continues to do what he’s doing.
He has figured out that if he pulls this nonsense, he’s not getting a reaction from me and our issue is not getting resolved. Setting my boundaries and putting the ball in his court to take responsibility for his bad behavior has worked well for me.
Post # 9
FH and I rarely fight. We are an older couple and we both figured out a long time ago that a lot of stuff simply is not worth fighting about. We rarely fight about money as we both have good jobs and mostly buy ourselves what we want. I take care of certain bills and household items and he does the same.
When I am tempted to start a fight, I usually ask myself if whatever really matters. Will I give a flying frisbee about whatever in a year? Most likely not. Then it is not worth fighting about. I have a volitile temper and taught myself to do this a LONG time ago. I tend to get more upset about injustices to others and FH has told me he admires that tendency.
FH also knows I am very strong-willed and independent. So most of the time he simply does not bother. Other times he SULKS – which I ignore completely. Twelve-year old boy tactics will not work with me.
Post # 10
@Mircat: ah the ever pressing communication barrier. Sometimes it’s language, sometimes it’s style. Seems like it’s always hiding out some where in our lives though!
Fi and I are kinda similar. He is very non confrontational where as I can be a little head first, emotion first into disagreements. We don’t tend to have full on fights because we have learned how to react to each other. But there was a time when we didn’t know how…
Heres what we’ve learned (and how we compromise:
#1 Neither of us is right. We just learned how to address conflict differently. I think accepting this was the first step to addressing the problem. We’re not here to fix our spouses or fix ourselves: we’re in it to fix the relationship and that means compromising a little.
#2 We have something to learn from each other. He is good at staying calm. I am good at vocalizing my problems. We try to find the good and work on that as opposed to focusing on the negatives and fixing them.
#3 Cool off periods are good. When I’m mad, I’m like a fountain of words (see my post about how I made my mom cry on Christmas) Sometimes you have to walk away and calm down before you talk it out and that is ok! Give yourself five or ten to sort out your feelings before you try to make them come out of your mouth properly. It’s hugely helpful.
#4 Never go to bed angry. Leave everything always at the bedroom door.
Post # 11
My SO & I are still working on this. I’ve expressed to her that I feel like she isn’t listening or even further, that if I let her not talk about it at that exact moment, she’ll pretend like it never happened. She never responded to me saying that. I can acknowledge that she would rather think on it herself & get back to me but it’s the “getting back to me” part I don’t believe she’ll do.
We could probably use some counseling but we’re trying. I try to let it go when she asks me to but I also don’t forget it so we can discuss it later. It’s a work in progress though.
Fighting is messy. There aren’t THAT many people that can just put emotions on hold & talk it through calmly & logically. We’ll never be those people but we just work on bettering ourselves & doing less that hurts the other when fighting. It’s been a little bit since our last fight so idk if it’s working or not. I’ll have to see how the next one goes.
I’m also REALLY trying to learn to pick my battles. That one is harder for me