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How to Fight With Your Girlfriend

Note: This is a guest post by Cam Adair of KingPin Lifestyle. He’s young, hip, cool and a successful entrepreneur. I connected with him early this year and it has been awesome just chatting with him on Facebook talking about work, relationships and just life in general. Did I mention too that he’s a DJ who spins at clubs?  Check out his totally non-cliche post on relationships.  

October 23rd was a great day.

After four long years of being single, I had finally met my girlfriend, and four months later, our relationship developed to be exclusive.

I spent the last four years of my life on an intense journey into the realm of personal development, after my last relationship ended with me in shambles. I was emotionally abused, manipulated and made to feel worthless in every sense of the word.

I remember one day I found a picture of my girlfriend kissing another guy. I was very upset. She told me the story of how it happened and that it “wasn’t her fault.”

Naturally, I was still upset… but to her this wasn’t allowed. She told me “if I couldn’t get over it then she was going to break up with me.”

Scared to lose her I decided to give in and stay together. It took another four months before I finally woke up and the ended the relationship.

I had to start over…

… So I spent the next two and a half years going out every single night to meet people and work on my social skills.

The year and a half after that I spent finding passions, and working on developing a real lifestyle.

But I still didn’t have a girlfriend, and, truthfully, there wasn’t anything I wanted more – now I finally had that too.

I was ready for this next chapter of my life

To say I was excited would be an understatement.

I had learned over the years from friends getting into relationships, and felt prepared to take on this next opportunity with full confidence.

I didn’t anticipate many problems in our relationship simply because we had taken an adequate amount of time to build our connection and become best friends first, before taking things to the next level.

I certainly didn’t think we would fight very often – something my previous relationship seemed to specialize in.

But we did fight

The most happy and loving friendship appeared to disappear overnight, leaving us both endlessly frustrated and confused.

Our fights were different than my previous relationship though – they weren’t mean or volatile, just simple misunderstandings turned into bigger misunderstandings as feelings were hurt and emotions intensified.

I was quickly losing the girl I cared about the most.

I knew we didn’t need to break up, we simply needed to learn how to fight.

How to fight with your girlfriend in 5 easy steps

Over the past 6 months I’ve worked hard to learn exactly that – how to fight.

Of course fighting is never encouraged nor recommended, but it’s not the end of the world either. It doesn’t have to be viewed as negatively as it currently does.

Arguing can be healthy. Part of being in a relationship is being able to communicate and discuss ideas effectively.

You aren’t always going to agree with each other, and being able to have open lines of communication is necessary.

Here are 5 tips to help you resolve these situations:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” When emotions intensify it’s essential to understand where your partner is coming from first. This way, you can approach the situation correctly, because you know what the situation is. It’s all too common to be fighting about different things, and thus, getting nowhere.

A great technique I use to get the right information is to ask “how” questions instead of “why” questions. When you ask questions that start with “why”, you tend to get reasons and excuses. When you ask questions that start with “how”, your partner, by the very structure of the question, will be able to help you help them.

A question like “How do you feel about this?” is significantly more effective than “Why do you feel like this?” Using the question “How can I help you/make this better?” will direct the conversation towards solutions instead of more problems.

Seeking first to understand before being understood helps get rid of assumptions you both may have, while allowing the opportunity to define the language you are both using.

Words have different definitions to different people. People interpret words based on their experiences, so even though one word means something to you, it may mean something different to her, and this can cause more miscommunication. It’s common to assume you both have the same definitions for the language you use, but it’s proven your individual experiences shape your own definition.

The environment is key. Have you ever had a fight in an environment you didn’t feel comfortable in? I bet this just made the situation worse, right? I know it does for me.

The environment you’re in is crucial to the success of effective communication. Take note of which environments you (and your partner) are most comfortable in to have these types of conversations.

For me, my room is definitely a great place to talk. If you find yourself in a disagreement with your partner in an environment you’re not comfortable in, be honest with them and get to an environment you can be comfortable in for the discussion.

Be completely honest. “Research suggests that all forms of lying – including white lies meant to spare the feelings of others – are associated with poorer-quality relationships.” A relationship you should be in is a relationship that appreciates your full transparency. Sam Harris details the importance of not lying in his book “Lying”. I highly recommend picking it up.

“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship.”
Being honest is a skill. It’s a habit you need to build.

Practice first by being honest on the simple things – situations where exaggerating facts make no difference at all. Remember: the way you do something is the way you do everything.

Refocus on what’s important. When you find emotions intensifying, take a physical step back, a deep breath, and refocus on what’s most important to you.

Life is too short to bicker with your spouse.

Remember that your tone and body language play a big part in your communication, so unsurprisingly, few things have caused more miscommunication in my relationship than my tone.

Be wary of expectations you have. It’s difficult to not have expectations in your relationship but it’s crucial you keep them in check.

Remember: people do the best job they can with the wisdom they have – people aren’t out to get you.

Your partner isn’t intentionally trying to mess up or hurt you.

If you come from a place of empathy and compassion, you will be much more equipped to approach the situation appropriately. Sometimes people just need space to allow them to cool down and become less emotional.

Although you should never strive for conflict, it’s equally important to not panic when it arises. People are going to make mistakes and miscommunication is going to happen.

If you stay calm, cool and collected, it will allow you to remember what’s important: your relationship – instead of focusing on what doesn’t matter as much: the miscommunication that happened.

Of course, none of this matters if having a long-term healthy relationship isn’t what you want, in which case I would have to ask: why are you dating in the first place?

I hope these tips help you out and if you use them, I’d love to hear how they worked out! Do you have any other tips that have helped you and your partner resolve conflict when it happens? Help the rest of us out by commenting below. Let’s continue this conversation.

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Do you want more honest-as-fuck stories like this?

19 comments

  1. Cam - September 2, 2012 6:46 pm

    I’d love to hear everyone’s comments! What are some tips you have to help during times of conflict?

    Reply
  2. Socialkenny PUA - September 2, 2012 7:09 pm

    Just as I said on the Facebook link,I advocate this. I advocate mixing it up and causing some tension in an LTR(for many reasons).

    Reply
    • Cam - September 2, 2012 7:11 pm

      What are some of the reasons for this Kenny? Can you expand more on it?

      Reply
  3. Lauryn Doll - September 3, 2012 5:46 pm

    I loved how you added the importance of transforming “Why” to “How” when questioning the person you’re dating. Somehow when you’re asked to justify your feelings, you can become highly defensive – or put the other person on the defensive – and then it all goes to hell.

    Like you, I try to keep a cool head about things. I do need to work on trying to put myself in the shoes of others when in a debate. One thing I’ve realized, after a really rough week dealing with group dynamics that have gone to hell over pure BS, is that people are highly sensitive to how they think you perceive them, and if they feel you’re out to get them, they’ll look for anything you say or do to justify that. It’s mentally exasperating, but you get over it by taking the cooler road.

    Talking about the problem “now” instead of letting it fester until way down the line is also another thing we all forget to do. You cannot try to push something under the rug if it affects you that deeply; you’ll only water the problem until you blow up.

    Something I’ve recently committed to doing: Have sex before the argument gets crazy. Unless there’s a SUPER major, this CANNOT WAIT cause you TRULY F**KED up conflict, massaging your partner’s libido can make you both feel closer and calmer, allowing you to communicate better.

    Reply
    • Cam - September 3, 2012 8:33 pm

      Hey Lauryn,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out my post and leave your feedback.

      Becoming defensive is something I’ve found incredibly hard to avoid, but also very important. Last night I was talking with a friend and he said the most enlightening part of being in a relationship is realizing how selfish we all truly are. I couldn’t have agreed more. That’s the toughest part for me in my relationship is being humbled by how selfish I was in so many ways (and still am). It’s a constant work in progress.

      I highly recommend picking up “Lying” by Sam Harris. He brilliantly communicates how important it is to be honest, and to be honest NOW. Since reading his short book I’ve found it much easier to be straight up at all times. Most of the times we avoid being honest are times when our partner asks us if anything is wrong. We tend to say no and avoid the conflict, which only makes it worse.

      My girlfriend told me one of the secrets she used in her last relationship to avoid conflict was this: If you’re about to get into an argument and you’re standing in front of each other, one of you just strips naked. This usually turns into sex and like you said, communication becomes easier. Great advice. 🙂

      Reply
      • alden - September 4, 2012 6:31 am

        LOL the sex thing sounds good. Ima be naked from now on easily!

        Reply
        • Cam - September 5, 2012 7:20 pm

          Haha… use with caution. It can easily turn into you standing their naked and embarassed. 😛

          Reply
          • alden - September 6, 2012 6:45 am

            Not with my manhood “hanging” 😛

  4. Brady McIntyre - September 3, 2012 7:30 pm

    This was immensely helpful. I have had past relationships full of fighting every single day, for most of the day. If I knew all this already I could have created a better environment for a ” fight “.

    Great post

    Reply
    • Cam - September 3, 2012 8:34 pm

      Thanks for checking out the post homie. Hoep to see you one of these days. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Brooke - September 3, 2012 8:32 pm

    Really enjoyed your post. Kudos for citing Sam Harris!

    Reply
    • Cam - September 3, 2012 8:35 pm

      Thanks for leaving your comment Brooke. Sam Harris is a true beast. I never get tired of his stuff.

      Reply
  6. alden - September 4, 2012 6:35 am

    A friend once said to me, in a very proud way that fighting in a relationship is good. He added that if there was no fighting, that means there’s something wrong with the relationship because there’s probably no communication.

    I understand the premise of his point, and I actually agreed with him fully and accepted all the fights I had.

    But not anymore. I think we can all easily communicate without the fighting, arguing or bad energy going around.

    I do believe that fights can help the relationship grow, but as always, emotions can also be controlled to make communication even better, rather than mindless fighting and arguing.

    Reply
    • Cam - September 4, 2012 4:27 pm

      I totally agree. I definitely think relationships can help grow a relationship but the way I like to say it is this:

      Relationships shouldn’t be a lot of work because of drama and fighting. They should be a lot of work because you’re pushing each other to grow.

      Reply
  7. Adam D. Oglesby - September 5, 2012 1:05 am

    `Hey, enjoyed your post.

    I commented on this on another blog, here’s what I said.

    “I have a theory: In any relationship you have a finite number of slights, of hurts, of unresolved emotional fisticuffs—before you reach a point of no return. In other words you can piss a person off just so many times before they say, ‘I’m through. It’s a wrap.’”

    I think it’s critically important to resolve your arguments. Having that stuff linger around—swept under the rug but you still see that big lump—will eventually come back to bite you in the ass, hard.

    I’ve known couples who were arguing about stuff that happened three decades before. I shit you not. At a drop of a hat they could be right back snarling at each other over some perceive slight that happened all that time ago.

    Resolve it. Don’t just move on. You don’t want to go tromping around with a time bomb ticking away at the center of your relationship.

    Reply
    • Cam - September 5, 2012 7:21 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment with your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I completely agree. It’s better to resolve it now than allow it to linger on. Even if the issue is something big and substantial, better to now now than later. The Lying book by Sam Harris really helped me view this type of approach in a better light. I’m less scared to be 100% honest now. I also checked out your blog and it looks like a cool project you have going on. I’ll be following you.

      Reply
  8. Izzy - September 5, 2012 1:58 am

    Yo man,

    Great post. In particular I liked the line that focused on trying to understand over being understood. This is obviously easier said than done but when you gave the example of asking “how” questions compared to “why” questions than it makes total sense.

    I have been in numerous situations and I often just tell myself “Take a breath” which is lame, cheesy and cliche but in the end it often works and allows me to really listen to the person. The biggest shock is how often the other person has a really great point when I actually step back and listen (instead of trying to prove why I am right).

    Reply
    • Cam - September 5, 2012 7:21 pm

      I also appreciate you commenting. I checked out your blog, it looks like a very cool idea. Taking a step back and taking a deep breath helps a lot there’s no doubt about it. I think it’s because it allows you to become a bit more open minded and less narrow focused… like you said, you think less along the lines of trying to prove you’re right. Being right isn’t always what matters most. This isn’t a debate contest, it’s a relationship. Just because “you’re right” doesn’t mean you’re a step closer to having a better relationship.

      Thanks for adding your input. Look forward to checking out your blog more.

      Reply
  9. Cam - September 5, 2012 6:36 pm

    @ Adam,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment with your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I completely agree. It’s better to resolve it now than allow it to linger on. Even if the issue is something big and substantial, better to now now than later. The Lying book by Sam Harris really helped me view this type of approach in a better light. I’m less scared to be 100% honest now. I also checked out your blog and it looks like a cool project you have going on. I’ll be following you. 🙂

    @ Izzy,

    I also appreciate you commenting. I checked out your blog, it looks like a very cool idea. Taking a step back and taking a deep breath helps a lot there’s no doubt about it. I think it’s because it allows you to become a bit more open minded and less narrow focused… like you said, you think less along the lines of trying to prove you’re right. Being right isn’t always what matters most. This isn’t a debate contest, it’s a relationship. Just because “you’re right” doesn’t mean you’re a step closer to having a better relationship.

    Thanks for adding your input. Look forward to checking out your blog more. 🙂

    Reply

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