How Can Relationship Fights be a Way to Learn Stuff?

I am assuming that you are in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. No, I have nothing against gay people and lesbians, only I don't have practical experience in the matter. :) So I’ll stick to heterosexuality.

Fights are very common in relationships.

Generally, they keep repeating again and again at irregular intervals. They stall communication, ruin any beauty the relationship holds for you and of course effect anything you do in your professional life.

Is there a pattern that gets repeated again and again as your fights occur? Is a fight the only way to deal with disagreements?

Out of Fights! :)

It could be that there is a fundamental problem in the way you accept your relationship partner that causes the fights you have. If fights occur repeatedly, you both MUST have neglected something about the other person that you are NOT OK with and that keeps resurfacing again and again.

You might not get them down to zero but you can definitely learn from them so that they don’t replay themselves in exactly the same way again.

How do you break useless repeating patterns?

1 Journal

After the fight has ended, it is very easy to fall into the all-is-well honey-sweet-love trap. Everything seems cozy and comfortable again. Don’t fall. Take out a few hours and journal exhaustively about the fight. Write down how it started. What in the other person made you angry and what about you disturbed her. List out what you did wrong clearly, and list out what went wrong on the other side clearly too. Is there something you want to change about your behavior - list it clearly and decide exactly how you are going to do that in real life. List what you have learnt and would want to accept about your partner from now on. Would you want your partner to change something? List that out clearly too, and tell her you want to discuss it with her. This ripping apart of your fight will prove to be very useful to both of you as it will prevent countless hours of pain, anger, hurt and frustration in the future. On top of that it will create a new ambience of love wherein you share everything clearly without any hidden resentment, where you understand and accept each other better than ever.

2 Identify

It is easy to list and journal and forget. After every fight, check if what went wrong last time has been repeated this time too. Look at the fight dynamics - did you or her repeat exactly the same mistake that was repeated last time? If so, is there a deeper problem you have not faced yet? Maybe there is something in your partner that you thought you could tolerate the first time over, but now find completely unbearable. It is foolish to fight twice over the same thing. Write it down exactly. Talk to your partner about it.

3 Discuss

Generally, we discuss a lot when we fight. That’s when we are actually addressing a problem in the relationship. Only, our thinking is dysfunctional. We talk crap and mess up the discussion and give it the word “fight”. It is AFTER, the fight that real discussion makes sense. After its all over, have a date to carefully discuss what went wrong, what each would want to say about his and the other person’s behavior. Clearly outline how you can prevent what happened this time from happening the next time over. End the date only when you know you are not only more intimate, clearer and loving than ever but also when you are sure the crap that occurred now will never ever occur again. At least, it’ll be different crap next time. :)

4 ‘P’ Session

Fights occur when things remain unsaid over time and resentment gets stored up. You neglect that slight resentment, it grows and a major situation then blows things over. The next time you are angry with your partner and want to express it immediately, don’t. As soon as anything builds up, calmly request a ‘p’ session. A ‘p’ session is a problem session where you express all the problems and troubles you have and your partner gives a patient and clear hearing to whatever you say. You tell him exactly what irked you, what caused you pain, anything and everything. And he listens to you completely. You do not accuse him. You do not blame him. You simply state what’s on your mind and he listens to all of it. When you are done, he clearly explains what he can. Or agrees to what you say. The sheer advantage of a ‘p’ session is simply that both of you have retained your sanity and yet expressed anything pressing your mind. Also, the very concept of a ‘p’ session ensures that the other person is in a listening or receiving mode - he will actually address the issues instead of wallowing in the reacting mode he will be in if you get angry and start accusing him. The discussion relates to the point at hand and no past and future irrational talk gets in the way of simple problem redressal. A ‘p’ session requires tremendous maturity and consciousness at the moment of anger - but if you can manage it - it can be an excellent portal to create understanding, acceptance, and an ambience of love and sharing. It can also let your relationship help you observe and express yourself when you lose your mind outside the relationship.

If even after the ‘p’ session, nothing works out, go get out the boxing gloves. It’s time for a fight! :)

5 Visualize

This is one thing that absolutely beats it out of every other thing. After every fight has been resolved, lie down calmly in a relaxed manner, and visualize exactly how you would have wanted things to proceed ideally. How would you have wanted to react to her accusation, how would you have wanted her to act - visualize everything in your mind. When it seems so perfect and beautiful, hold that image in your mind for a while. Hear voices, see your room, the colors of the bed sheet etc as you visualize the scene in your mind’s eye. It works! You will clearly consciously know what it was that your truest self wanted to do in this situation. Next time, when stuff gets repeated, you will have the strength to act true to yourself - the way you really wanted it to happen!

Every fight can be a gateway to the growth of both the relationship and you. You grow as you learn and face your own weaknesses, and become stronger. The relationship grows as you both accept each other more after each fight and communicate even more clearly, creating an ambience of love. But this is possible only and only if you take control of your disagreements and don’t slip into foolish fight-fight-fight again patterns. Take charge. If nothing at all, at least don’t forget the fight after it happens. Look at it, discuss it and make sure you do it right next time.

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