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.
Just for Alden Tan Readers
I’ve put together an email course for people who struggle with relationships.
I’ve struggled a lot to understand how to develop relationships effectively for a fulfilling life. So I made this course specifically for you.
Head over to Kingpin Lifestyle, drop in your email address and you’ll receive instant access to the course, where you will learn:
– The secret formula your relationships are built on
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– My personal email address for support
This email course is only available through this link to Kingpin Lifestyle. Thanks for checking it out!