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Fair Fighting

Fair Fighting

Fair Fighting

Fair fighting, sounds like an oxymoron, right? The truth is that every relationship will have its ups and downs, and every relationship is different. However, establishing ground rules or boundaries in the relationship when handling disagreements is a great way to ensure respect and communication between you. We all have different communication styles, originating from our families or role models, and it takes work to find communication methods that work for both parties in the relationship. What we need to know and accept is that regardless of the amount of time together, the amount of love, you are different people, with different needs, different love languages and these differences will present themselves in ways completely unrelated. How do we handle this?

Rules for fair fighting by TherapistAid.com:

  • 1. Before you approach a disagreement, ask yourself why do I feel this way? Is this a direct cause of my significant other or is this an accumulation of non-related things that I am projecting on them? Assess these feelings and decide if they are fair.
  • 2. Discuss one topic at a time. This is pretty self-explanatory, but ensure you complete one issue at a time in a discussion or argument before moving onto another one.
  • 3. Don't yell, curse, or degrade the other person. I am sure we can all relate to saying or doing things that hurt someone because we were upset. This is something we want to avoid. The language, tone, and volume of our communication are important for the other person to properly receive what we are saying.
  • 4. Use "I" statements to communicate how you feel. The formula for an "I" statement includes: I feel _____ because of _____. This promotes ownership of the feeling but lets the other person know that it is affecting you. Try your best not to use blaming words, this causes defensiveness rather than collaboration.
  • 5. Take turns. You don't want your communication to be one-sided. Allow the other person to speak and respond. Listen to hear, not respond.
  • 6. Don't stonewall your partner. It is very common for people to shut down during arguments, which often only frustrates the other person. If you are processing what they said silently, tell them that. Both of your voices matter equally.
  • 7. Time outs. Sometimes a time out is necessary for those that need to process things for a while in order to come to terms with what the other is asking or saying. This is normal, this is healthy, as long as you communicate that you acknowledge what they are saying and need to process it for however long. Try your best to minimize the length of the time out. Don't wait for days to do so.
  • 8. Compromise and resolution. It is unhealthy to leave an argument or disagreement without a solution. Some people in the world are able to vent and move on if that is you please understand that not everyone else is like this. In arguments, you have to also think about what the other person needs. This is a core issue in relationships, but meeting in the middle is the compromise. Ensure that you both understand what the other was trying to relay.

If you and your partner are having issues related to communication or arguing, at Orlando Thrive Therapy, we have multiple couple's counselors in Orlando trained to help you navigate these differences. To speak to the author of this article, Mallory Hawkes, contact her at mallory.orlandothrivetherapy@gmail.com.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.

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