Fighting with Your Partner
I usually coach people on the dating process and finding love, but sometimes clients call for relationship coaching as well. Victoria is one of my dating clients who is in a difficult relationship. She and her boyfriend Ben have been together 5 years, two of which they have been living together.
Blow Ups Can Be Traumatic
According to Victoria, she and Ben tend to have big blow ups when they fight. This is very traumatic for Victoria and throws her completely off. Because of the emotional discomfort, her first reaction during and after a fight is to leave. She immediately thinks of moving out and getting her own place again.
Trouble is, Victoria doesn’t really want to leave Ben. However, she hasn’t come up with another way to react.
Fighting Is Human Nature
I took a moment to share what it’s like for me to have a fight with my husband. When we I disagree, my first thought isn’t divorce or leaving him. Sometimes it’s unpleasant – but all couples are going to fight. It’s human nature and bound to happen.
Commitment Means Staying to Work Things Out
For me what helps is knowing that we will work things out, because somehow, we always do. Even though we are very different people, we have learned how to plow through the muck of our trouble spots. We find ways to compromise or take turns. We apologize when needed. What helps me is knowing that we love each other and we are not going any where. To me that’s what commitment is all about – whether you are married or living together.
Living with One Foot Out the Door
This approach was very surprising to Victoria. She realized that her first reaction isn’t to try to resolve the problem, but to escape. Her reaction to the “flight or fight” instinct is flight every time. So she always has one foot out the door and doesn’t put much effort into finding a solution. That’s a pretty stressful way to live. This was a eureka moment for Victoria as the light bulb of understanding lit up.
Deal with the Issues
With this new perspective, Victoria feels very differently towards Ben. She has vowed next time an argument arises, to focus on dealing with the issue rather than planning a hasty departure. She thanked me for opening her eyes to this totally different approach.
Hang in There to Find a Solution
If you relate to Victoria, learning how to work things out might be worth a try. Sometimes two people cannot find a compromise position – that happens. And then the relationship will come to an end. But before running, give negotiation and productive fighting a try. You might find that instead of ending your relationship, you manage to strengthen it by hanging in there.
photo credit ES