Post # 1
but sometimes I think it’s a bad thing. He avoids conflict with me – and I get that he doesn’t want to fight, but I feel that a certain level of disagreement is normal and healthy.
If I get upset about something, he often dismisses it or just ignores the issue to avoid the fight. This obviously doesn’t work well. Last night we had a mini argument, I was upset for, admittedly, a stupid reason, and was short with him when he got in the car. That turned into him making stupid comments implying that he is supporting me (which is completely untrue at the moment) and completely missing my point. I forced the issue when we got home and made him talk to me, but I just don’t know how to ‘fix’ this.
We’re fine, we talked through it last night, but how do I get him to talk to me more and stop avoiding disagreement?
Post # 3
@MsGinkgo: my motto in life is, if you don’t have a problem, you have a problem.
Life is not all bubblegum and flowers,
What that means is, if you don’t argue, its just being swept under the rug,
So what I suggest is to tell FI/FH that he needs to stop being afraid to voice his argument/concern/opinion because one day its all gonna build up and he is going to explode, and it might not end well for the both of you
Post # 4
My sister’s husband is like your FI, and they’re currently in counselling. From what’s been shared with me, I know that my BIL tries to keep the peace, so to speak, simply because my sister is sensitive and blows small issues way out of proportion. This is just her personality and she’s always been like this. Over the years, my BIL (like all of us) has just learned to not bring up issues that have the potential for disagreement in their relationship. I know not every couple that has this issue are the carbon copy of my sister and BIL, but perhaps you should look within yourself to see if any of your behaviours compell your FI to act this way.
Is your FI like this in his professional life? Does he act similarly with friends, family, or coworkers?
Post # 5
You don’t have to argue to have a disagreement. Him ignoring the issues is a problem but as long as you two can talk about it that’s the important part. My husband and I have gotten into very few arguments in the last four years, and he’s like your guy and tries to avoid conflict. When there is an issue we just talk it out, when it turns into arguments it’s typically because he’s been holding things in.
imo a healthy marriage is without fighting but discussing differences and issues. No one needs to get upset, you just have to make sure each voice is heard
Post # 6
@Daizy914: He doesn’t seem to understand that. He’s exactly like his dad, who is incredibly passive. His mom is a bit of a bully – a wonderful woman, who is incredibly sweet and kind, but a bully none the less. I’m a pretty opinionated person, and can probably be a bit of a bully. I’m working on it, and trying to be better about how I communicate, but I need him to communicate as well.
Post # 7
Maybe sitting down with him at a time you are both not mad or upset with each other. Bring it up just like a regular part of a conversation when you are both calm.
Just very gently let him know that you want to know how he is feeling when you two disagree. That it makes you feel bad or like you can’t work things through together when he avoids conflict. That you want to talk things through instead of avoiding a disagreement. You are two different people who will have two different styles of communication, so there will always be work to be done. Just like every other couple out there.
I will admit, I am like your fiance in my own relationship. We do argue and disagree (and sometimes about really dumb stuff) but I’m the one that would rather step away and avoid conflict when it is the most heated. I’ve learned that doesn’t work all the time because it frustrates my fiance, so we’re still working on it, 6 years in, lol. 🙂
Post # 8
It might come in time. Does he avoid conflict with everyone, including his parents, brothers/sisters, etc?
I was kind of the same way. I avoid conflict. I’ve never had a fight with any friend, ever. If I get annoyed with a friend, I ignore the situation until I feel better about it. However, I never had any trouble fighting with my siblings.
But with FI it’s a bit different. I’ve been living with him for a year, and I’ve become more comfortable with him. We have had fights, and I’m not afraid to get annoyed with him and tell him why. I have learned that I can confront him with issues.
For me, this is because I know my family will always be there. I know my siblings and parents will always love me no matter what, so I felt okay fighting with them.
With my friends… I’ve seen friendships end because of fights. I never wanted this to happen, so I never felt comfortable confronting them when I probably should have. It felt safer to avoid the conflict.
I was like this with FI in the beginning. Held feelings back now and then. When we did fight, I was a complete mess. It took awhile for me to learn that he will be there no matter what.
So if your FH is anything like me, it might just take time before he’s able to fight with you.
Post # 9
My FI and I don’t fight, but we disagree and communicate about it often. Someone once told us that there was something wrong with us that we don’t fight, but that’s ridiculous.
I would suggest couples counseling if he avoids it altogether – disagreement is never a bad thing. Maybe in the past he has seen that lead to bad fights so he’s reluctant to voice his feelings, but he totally should be able to!
Post # 10
@MrsGatito: it’s been 9 years..there’s bee a lot of time. He’s like this with everyone – in fact, the first fight we ever had was because I lost it because he wouldn’t stop complaining about his friend (he has a friend who is notoriously cheap, friend won the poker game that night, friend didn’t buy the obligatory round at the bar, FH muttered about it for 2 hours before I told him to say something to him or shut up – he stormed out, I followed, argument happened).
He doesn’t like conflict, with anyone.
@jlc3: I’ve tried this, and maybe my approach is wrong, but it doesn’t seem to work.
@letigre: I’m completely certain that I’m part of the problem, I AM a confrontational person. I’m working on expressing myself more effectively so he doesn’t feel like I’m attacking him.
Post # 11
@Daizy914: What that means is, if you don’t argue, its just being swept under the rug,
Sorry, not true. My FH and I don’t argue, and I cannot remember the last fight we had. It’s because we care about each other and respect the other’s feelings and opinions. We’ve become masters of compromise over our decade-long relationship. I defer to him or he defers to me, or sometimes, we meet in the middle. We don’t resent each other, and we are always very frank about our feelings.
There can be couples that don’t argue because one doesn’t feel like there is a safe space to share their feelings, and there can be couples who have built years of mutual respect and trust who have an easy time seeing eye to eye.
The only “disagreement” my FH and I have is over hockey and pro football teams (we’re from different parts of the country).
Post # 12
@MsGinkgo: See, my DH and his dad are complete opossite from your FI and his dad. Because my FIL has very verbally abusive, DH chose to be very passive and shut down whenever there was an arguement.
We never fought while we were dating. Ever. We might disagree, but never get mad at each other. He would always give in. I thought, “This is so nice. We agree on everything.” No. He was surpressing things and giving in to what I wanted to do.
I told him that we have terrific communication otherwise, but he has to talk to me so I know when something bothers him. If he doesn’t want to talk about his day, whatever. If I did something wrong or he doesn’t like something he HAS to help me understand what I did wrong because it isn’t healthy to just let it fester inside until it gets to a point where you either lose control or have a heart attack.
I actually changed MY appraoch when I felt we “needed” to argue something out. I would spew off all the things I hated and then ask him, “Now what about the situation bothered you?” Asking him open ended questions seemed to help him become more comfortable with arguing.
When we do get upset he can better articulate why he is upset and how he wants to fix it. It has even gone so far as to spill into his work. He has started to become a LOT less passive when dealing with kids’ parents.
Post # 13
@letigre: My DH and I don’t argue either. We don’t even have mild disagreements…ever… i don’t know why, we just don’t!!!!!! We get along so well it’s scary…scary great! 🙂
Post # 14
@MsGinkgo: I have found that most confrontational people are confrontational in an entirely irrational way. I’m not saying you’re like this, but if your FI feels like he will be attacked for expressing a feeling or contrary opinion, I don’t blame the guy, particularly if his mom is similar to you.
I agree with a PP that you should discuss this at a time that is not heated, and if you feel yourself getting argumentative, give yourself a time out. Think about the fact that your words and actions can affect the feelings of the person you love and respect most in the world, and that you want him to have a safe space to communicate as well.
If you guys have been this way for many years and have developed this style of arguing, then seek a relationship counsellor. They’re great and tend to neutralize situations that could get heated.
Post # 15
@Billsgirl: yep, it’s pretty great! I get annoyed at the general cultural understanding that you need to argue/fight to maintain a long passionate relationship, or else, one person resents the other. Um no.
Post # 16
My DH and I have only had one real fight in 12 years. We bicker and disagree, but we have similar arguing styles so neither of us yells, pretends nothing is wrong or becomes irrational. We tend to talk about things right away so it never really escalates.
It sounds like your FI likes to avoid conflict, which sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. You don’t want someone that is constantly looking for a fight, but at the same time its hard when someone just blows everything off. To be honest with you I’ve had more fights with people that avoid conflict than anyone else. I like to get it all on the table and discuss things. I feel like if you just avoid it and brush it under the rug it never gets resolved. Depending on how serious the issue is, I feel like if you just avoid it then it will fester and become a bigger issue in the long run.
My mother has a similar arguing style as me, while my stepdad avoids conflict and doesn’t argue. He pretends everything is fine all the time and nothing ever gets discussed or resolved. It has caused SO many issues in their relationship. If I were upset about something and my DH just pretended everything was great I would be pretty pissed to be honest with you. I feel like it belittles my feelings and concerns. Maybe I have a legitimate reason to be mad! My mom will go after my stepdad and try to make him talk things out, but he just leaves the room and acts like nothing is out of the ordinary.
I would probably talk to your FI and tell him that you feel like problems never get solved because he just pretends they don’t exist. Just because you move on and don’t talk about it anymore doesn’t mean they go away. Tell him that it bothers you when he dismisses your feelings and that just because he doesn’t see a reason for you to be mad it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. He might just deny acting that way though (which is what my stepdad does). I think counseling would be a great option for you guys if you can’t get him to listen on your own. Learning how to fight (fairly) with your SO is really important.