Why Do My Husband (Wife, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, etc.) and I Always Fight?
If you put an egg in the microwave, and try to cook it, what will happen? It will explode, of course. The interior of the egg expands rapidly while the shell expands only a little. The result is a very messy microwave oven. A person who makes this mistake once is unlikely to repeat it again. Why is it that so many people who have relationship explosions continue to create them again and again?
Lets look at some of the most common reasons why people continue to fight:
TO CHANGE THEIR PARTNERS BEHAVIOR--You can cook an egg in the microwave, although you will have to scrape it out to eat it. You may also be able to get your partner to comply with some of your demands--if you have more energy for fighting than your partner does. Some people will go 12 rounds while others will go 8. The one who goes 12 rounds seemingly wins, but the relationship suffers as a result.
IT LETS OUT TENSION--Shouting, screaming, throwing things, punching walls, etc., lets out tension. It used to be recommended that angry children be given punching bags to let out their anger in a controlled way. It is no longer recommended. The reason? Kids and adults who let out their anger and tension in this way feel angry more often and end up with a worse temper than they started with. It also is not a positive way to cope.
ITS A WAY OF DEFENDING THEMSELVES--If you accuse me of something and I accuse back, it takes the attention off of me and throws it back to you. Even if what you are saying is right, I might not be able to deal with it. This is particularly true for people who have never learned another way to deal with confrontation except by getting angry (or getting even).
THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH INTIMACY--Some people are afraid to be close. Being close means being vulnerable. It means risking being hurt--again. In order not to face that danger (often learned in childhood), they fight to create a more comfortable distance from their partner. All this happens below their level of awareness.
THEY LEARNED THAT WAY FROM OTHERS--Having grown up with fighting in their home, they never learned another way. They learned that you must "play nice" in order to not get punished or to get what you want from others. When you are nice and others still dont give you what you want, you fight (unless you will be punished, arrested, etc.).
THEY THINK THATS THE WAY COUPLES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE--Some people believe that couples are supposed to fight. They imagine that fighting is part of a normal relationship. Fighting actually helps them to feel like they are a real couple. Such couples often enjoy the game of "fight and make up." They fight in order to make up because otherwise they cant get to that level of intimacy.
THEY DONT KNOW HOW ELSE TO DO IT--People do what they know how to do. If they dont know any other way for handling conflict, they will fight. Not because they think fighting is good, and not because they think it is normal. For these people, they see the only alternative to fighting as giving up. When they stop fighting, it often signals increasing distance in their relationship.
Regardless of the reason why people fight, argue loudly, explode, etc., if they continue to do it they will:
1. GRADUALLY GROW MORE DISTANT
2. BREAK UP, DIVORCE, OR LIVE AS ROOMMATES
There is a way out of the fighting trap:
LEARN A BETTER WAY TO MANAGE THE CONFLICT--Whether the conflict is just within you (such a difficulty with intimacy) or between you and your partner, if you dont learn a better way, you wont be able to stop fighting (unless you break up). And breaking up will only temporarily stop the fighting because you will do it again with your next partner.
STOP DOING THINGS THE OLD WAY AND USE THE NEW WAY--It only takes one person to start a fight and it only takes one person to stop a fight. If you know how to manage conflict and attacks from your partner, you can stop the fighting--even if your partner does not learn a different way. The only way that your partner can fight with you is if you continue to fight with him or her.
What are the benefits of learning a better way?:
1. LESS STRESS--Feeling freer and being comfortable in your home.
2. MORE INTIMACY--Feeling closer to your partner.
3. A FRESH BEGINNING--Enjoying the relationship you always wished you could have.
Your chance of learning this from a book is nearly zero. This is a big change which must occur under frustrating conditions. You need the expert help of someone who can guide you through it, support you, provide helpful tools, and practice with you. You need someone who believes in you, and most importantly, you need someone who will help you to keep going long enough to make a real difference in your relationship. I recommend an experienced relationship coach because of their ability to provide these things. A relationship coach will cost you some money. But fighting can cost you your relationship and years of your life. Make the decision that is best for you.