Post # 1
I would love your feedback on this. My fiance is a wonderful person, we have a lot in common and have similar values and ambitions. He is very sweet and takes good care of me. I could go on and on. Only thing is when we fight (and its not that often) its REALLY bad. We degrade each other, speak to each other like children/garbage, we are sarcastic, yell, scream, carry on and it’s deplorable. Pretty much WW III.
1. Anyone else experience this type of terrible communication while fighting?
2. How do you diffuse your really heated arguments with your bfs?
3. Suggestions on how to change this behavior for both of us?
Post # 3
I think my husband and I are good fighters – we don’t ever yell. And we focus on what we’re arguing about – no low blows or anything. You can tell your fiance that you want to work on this and what you will do if you get in to an argument and hope that he reciprocates. and if you get in an argument, follow your word, even if you want to jump in and finish the fight. No one wins an argument if you’ve called each other names or purposely tried to hurt the other one. If he continues fighting with you in the WWII way, it won’t be as easy if you don’t reciprocate.
Post # 4
You have to make a pact to NOT fight dirty. You will grow resentful over time.
I can be a very vindictive person. It’s in my nature (isn’t that awful to say?) and when I get pissed I want to say rude/ignorant/snotty things taht I don’t mean…just cuz I can. However, with my husband, a few years ago we had one big fight. I dunno over what. I do remember that I was so pissed I slammed the door in his face so I could cool down. I almost lost it. But that was when I was 20. I told him that when I get that mad, I WILL get ridiculous and I need to cool down first, collect my thoughts, then I can be rationale. THat was the last big fight we had. I think mostly because we don’t let it escalate. We COULD but we stop it.
For example, Saturday Darling Husband was in a bad mood. I didn’t know it, otherwise I generally am more pleasant if I know he’s having a bad day. He was painting the kitchen. I told him the paint job in the kitchen looked kinda crappy in some places and pointed out the handful of spots he basically missed painting. He said, “it’s not that bad and I’m not going to redo it”. I said, “dude that looks sloppy, you can’t leave it!” and he just screamed at me. I guess he’d had a long day. Anyways, instead of yelling BACK (counterproductive, no?) I said looked at him for a few seconds and calmly said, “wow that was rude of you” and stared at him (you can’t very well yell back at someone who didn’t yell at you). He apologized and said he was very frustrated with the kitchen and i said, “that’s fine but don’t take it out on me”. I EASILY could’ve yelled back “what’s your problem?!” but it’d have done no good.
Somebody has to be the bigger person and not let their anger take over. Next time you feel it welling up, take a second. Pace, cool down. Walk away, collect your thoughts. Come back and calmly say what you want to say WITHOUT being derogatory. You need to treat each other with respect. Can you say that any of the things your SO has said in anger HAVEN’T been hurtful to you, afterwards? Because I’m sure it is. And you don’t want those underlying evil feelings hanging around. Use your words, not nasty ones. Don’t interrupt, either, it doesn’t help. YOu just have to acknowledge when yu’re feeling that way and then stop it. And you both have to be on the same page of not fighting dirty. Fighting dirty causes resentful feelings for me. I still remember the days my dad pushed my buttons by calling me a stupid little girl (i was 17 at the time) when we disagreed or putting me down, just to put me down (because we had an argument and he KNEW he was being hurtful on purpose. People fight like this sometimes). I don’t want to harbor that with my husband, too.
Post # 5
First you need to figure out why you are fighting. Are you fighting because someone forgot to do the dishes or is it over a bigger issue?
We have had a few arguments that would start out as being over such stupid things – like buying the wrong dog food – that would really be representative of a bigger issue – Fiance doesn’t always pay attention to what I am saying and I don’t always pick the best time/manner to tell him important info.
I would say that being open and honest and if you cannot discuss important issues that you disagree on calmly then that is an issue that may be resolved with a mediator.
What are the basis of the fights? Maybe that would help us give you some advice.
Post # 6
i think both of us have moments of being the “MEAN” one in our “BIG” fights…
we’ve come to a line that we don’t cross, so it never gets DRAMATICALLY heated. but i definitely understand where you’re coming from. recently, we’ve just been giving each other space during our really heated anger moments… neither one of us wants to say anything we don’t mean… and we’ve realized that for us, after that “cooling down” period. we are SO much better at just talking it out, even thru the anger, at that point, instead of when it’s been escalated to a really heated argument!
take a breather and continue to resolve!
Post # 7
Thanks for the great advice so far everyone. I’d love to share this post with him. I think a mediator is a good idea. I’m not sure why we are fighting – it always starts over something small, but I’m sure it represents a bigger issue – I think you’re right. I don’t even remember what our argument started over last night – but it ended today with him repeatedly calling me a liar and me turning up the tv so I couldn’t hear him and me being a smart ass.
I THINK he believes that he can never “be right” with me. We are both in grad school right now and saving every penny for this wedding. Its been stressful on us I know. We are used to traveling before engagement and having fun, going out partying with friends a lot and now everything is about saving money for the wedding/no money b/c of school. Certainly not an excuse for poor behavior, but giving you all some background.
Post # 8
I’m just going to say that fighting like you do is not healthy for a relationship. If you don’t make efforts to change now, things will only escalate and you’ll build resentment toward each other.
I would suggest you read the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman. It has a lot of exercises in it to overcome angry fighting like you’re experiencing. It’s very good, and I think you’ll learn a lot about the damaging effects of how you fight and how to change.
Post # 9
It’s really, really hard to yell at someone while you’re holding hands. I come from a family of yellers, but in our relationship we have never even raised our voices. For us it’s key to diffuse things before they blow up – and one way to do that is to quiet your voice, bite your tongue for a moment when you’re tempted to say something mean, and look for those small loving gestures that tether you together… like holding hands, or smiling, or making a joke.
Post # 10
I think a mediator or a counselor is necessary because the kind of fighting you describe is toxic stuff.
John Gottman’s The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work has a lot of good information and guidance about how to rein in destructive behaviors like sarcasm, name calling and screaming.
It’s one thing to get loud and heated – we all do that from time to time to relieve tension, and no one is perfect – but belittling your partner, ignoring him or her and screaming are ways of showing contempt, and that will gradually do serious damage to the relationship.
Post # 11
We fight like that sometimes. For us, it sometimes helps to relieve tension. Like we yell a little, and it ends up making us more calm. But if it gets out of control and I just want to stop, I usually give Fiance a hug and that works. Taking some time to cool down also works, but it is really really difficult for us to step away, so we only end up doing this occasionally.
Post # 12
First I would sit down and have a discussion (not heated!) about how you are going to fight if it unavoidable.
Laying down ground rules is important
-No name calling
-No using past incidences for guilt trips
-No airing dirty laundry – Fiance gets really annoyed when I get my sisters involved in our fights.
-No throwing things/getting physical/slamming doors etc
-if you cannot calm down enough to talk about things in a civil way then drop it and leave it until tomorrow.
As for diffusing the fight – you need to figure out your triggers. A big trigger for Fiance and I is I am a mess and he is a neat freak and I feel guilty for him having to clean up after me. So we hired a cleaning lady.
Figure out what is triggering these fights or you will never get past them.
And yes both Fiance and I are in grad school too and the no money/exhaustion/wedding planning can make even silly things become big issues. They are so not worth it. Fighting makes me even more tired than I already I am from life so we really try to prioritize our fights.
Post # 13
I used to with previous BF’s, but not with Fiance. Actually we have had a couple knock-down drag-outs with name calling, but they were aroudn the time when we took a week apart for him to figure out if marriage was ever an option for us. After that week apart I had had it, fighting wasn’t even in my bones anymore. My attitude was like “You’re in or you’re out, there’s no in between”. And he shaped up really fast, but that was specifically in relation to marriage.
Since then (2 years ago) we haven’t had more than a small argument. I’ve definitely changed, after the yelling and screaming an dforcing him to sleep on the couch, I’ve personally been able to stop myself before I get that bad and realize that he’s actually a good person and not doing anything wrong and I need to analyze WHY I’m mad before it escalates. Honestly – Fiance never starts anything. And never does anything that deserves yelling on my end. He’s not perfect, but really very close. So it’s easy for me to prevent a WW III before it happens.
Post # 14
I can totally understand where you’re coming from, Ladybug. Sometimes Fiance and I can be really dirty fighters. But, we’re getting better because I think we both realize there are fair and “good” ways to fight, and bad ways to fight.
As cheesy as it sounds, I went to the Doctor Phil website and researched his fair fighting rules found here. We talked about the rules and we keep them handy and whenever one of us gets out of control we’ll say “Would Dr. Phil like that?” It’s cheesy, but it calms us down some. We just keep ourselves accountable.
To diffuse the situation, we’ll either seperate and cool down, or one of us will do something that makes the other laugh. You’re going to have to find something that works for you.
Post # 15
The problem at the center of our occasional fights is usually stubbornness and desire to be “right.” Both of us really want to be right all the time, and to be in control all the time. Obviously that’s unsustainable in a marriage. (Incidently, we were both eldest, bossy children—what about you two?) The only solution we’ve found is to divide up who gets to be right when there is no “right” answer. You have to take turns, or divide up by subject area.
You also have to stop certain kinds of negativity. Shouting is not inherently bad, but look out for contempt (think eye-rolling, denigration of character). There have been studies of relationship longevity, and if couples expressed contempt it was bad news if left unchecked. I would try to map out a fighting strategy sometime when you are not fighting, identify the behaviors that are off-limits. Then when a fight comes around again, you have to promise yourself that you won’t do those things you said you wouldn’t, even if he does. I would start small and realistic.
Post # 16
We got in a fight yesterday. I was upset about something that I perceived he did, and he didn’t know why I was upset. I took a few minutes to think about why I was upset and gather my thoughts, and he waited patiently. I used a lot of “I felt ___ when this happened” and he responded in kind. Trust me, it’s not always easy, but it worked and we learned something from each other. I don’t know how you do it, because if my Fiance called me a horrible name I’d be devastated.
I can tell you what others have said above; that kind of fighting is toxic and perhaps some ground rules about name calling, etc. are in order. No name calling (at all), stick to the issue at hand, set aside time – even schedule time – to fight, and use I feel statements. There’s something else that I want to throw out there: your children (if you choose to have them) are going to learn how to interact with their friends and loved ones by watching you. My sister and her husband have terrible fights in front of their kids. I’ve already seen it manifest in the way they fight with each other and it’s heartbreaking.