You know when people say that there’s a fine line between love and hate (and they’re not referring to that awful Martin Lawrence movie) and you think, “Yeah, sure, bud. Whatever!” Well, there’s a reason why people say that. Because it’s true. Science even says so. It seems love and hate are intimately linked in the human brain, which explains why, in one instant you want to eat your girlfriend’s face, etc., and why in the next moment, you want to go all War of the Roses on her. So, you see, it’s perfectly normal—in fact, it’s downright healthy—to argue with your boo.
But, there can be a lot of jackassery when it comes to fighting with your partner. Lots of stuff gets thrown around in a lovers’ quarrel, and what should be used as a relationship building tool instead becomes the thing that often drives us further apart. There’s actually a right way to fight so that you can become closer to your girl without the issue of open mouth chewing becoming the stupidest stick that broke the camel’s back. Let’s break it down.
You Don’t Always Have To Win
Men like to win. You like to be right. The instinct is as natural as eating steak and liking blowjobs. I get it. But, the thing is, you don’t always have to win an argument. I’m sure that last sentence is rocking your world right now, but it’s true. Women want you to fight with us, not against us. Conflict isn’t a contact sport. We don’t need an ass whupping, and we certainly don’t need, or want, you to keep score. If you must have a sports analogy, then try this: the end goal of an argument isn’t a victor, but a better sense of understanding and communication between you and your GF/wife. It’s a draw. The sooner you learn that, the quicker you can score later with some post-fight nookie.
Keep the Fights Clean And The Sex Dirty
When asked about his thriving hot-and-heavy relationship with longtime wife Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon once said to, “keep the fights clean and the sex dirty.” Seems like the kind of advice we can all jump on board with, right? Right. So, what does a “clean” fight look like? Well, for starters, choose your battles, a.k.a. don’t make WW III out of her obsessive nail biting. Also, stay in the now. Don’t bring up the past and use personal information as ammunition. For example, refrain from saying, “I’ll never forgive you for acting like a total bitch in that bar that night and going home with the dodgeball captain instead of me! I don’t care if it was ten years ago!” It’s better to turn that anger into passion and instead say to her, “This is what you were missing ten years ago when you didn’t come home with me,” and then show her. That’s what helps make the sex dirty, FYI.
Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
It’s human nature to want to be heard, especially during an argument when everyone’s pulling a Matlock and presenting their case, albeit, to a biased jury. But usually we’re so wrapped up with selling our version of the story that we forget to hear the other party’s point of view. When you find yourself repeating the same point over and over to your girlfriend, you might want to stop yourself and listen to what she’s trying to communicate. Also, drop the Alpha Male act, and lower your voice and avoid any exaggerated body gestures (clenched fists, puffed out chest, pulling a Simon Cowell asshole face). Remember that you want to create a dialogue with partner, not a shouting match.
It’s OK To Say You’re Sorry (Really)
I’m not sure why it’s so hard for some men to apologize. It has to be one of the greatest mysteries in life, like the Kryptos, and how they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar. But, regardless, an apology goes a long way, gentlemen. Some things can’t be unsaid or undone, but the power of an “I’m sorry” can do wonders that even rival good ol’ makeup sex. It’s a quick and fairly painless way (really, guys, it doesn’t hurt that much, I swear) to repair a broken bond and get you back to snuggling on the couch watching Justified.
Where Is The Love?
At the end of the day, you have to keep in mind that the woman who’s responsible for producing your flaming white-hot rage, is also the woman who makes your toes curl. Translation: you must argue with her in a manner that is unlike arguing with a co-worker, a buddy, or even your mom. You must show her that, underneath it all, you still respect and love her. Expressing some positive feelings during a fight can be a tall order to fill, but if you can inject some affection (gently touching her arm) and even some humour into the argument, then the impact of the fight will be less damaging. You’ll also feel confident that future arguments are not make-or-break-moments with your partner and, as a result, your bond will deepen even more. Of course, the most important clincher of it all is that, afterwards, she’ll be more than willing to have that dirty, hot, makeup sex. But, word to the wise: don’t tell her that she looks “cute” when she’s angry.
We hate that shit.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.
Photo courtesy of Sean Molin.