Relationships are tough. There’s no way around it. To make a relationship work, you need to work at it and learn to communicate effectively. The best way to fight fairly in a relationship is to not fight at all. There’s not such thing as a “fair fight.” Unfortunately, a lot of couples don’t realize that fighting is a symptom of a more serious problem in a relationship until more serious issues come to light.
If you and your partner can’t stop fighting, then you at least need to learn to “fight fair.” There are many reasons why disagreements should never turn heated or get “ugly.” When you start fighting, it doesn’t take long for emotions and words to get out of hand- depending on temperments and personalities, this can even escalate into a physical confrontation.
To learn to “fight fair,” remember to never turn the disagreement between you and your partner personal. Don’t “attack” or call names, this only shows immaturity and causes the other person to stop listening to your point of view or your side of things. If you find that you are completely unable to avoid using “you” statements or stop name-calling and personal insults, stop the conversation and go cool off.
If you find that you and your partner are getting nowhere, that you are unable to compromise or get to the heart of the real issue- perhaps it’s time to call in a mediator or a counselor. Don’t choose a friend or family member to “mediate,” they will tend to take sides and won’t be able to help you and your partner come to a compromise. A professional mediator or counselor is best for really touchy, major topics.
Another important thing to remember is that you can’t “fight fair” if you get family members or friends involved. Don’t run and tell your family and friends or your partner’s family and friends everytime the two of you have a disagreement, this will only cause hurt feelings and misunderstandings. And it’s not fair to get others involved when it’s something that the two of you should work out together.
Don’t bring up the past. Don’t throw your partner’s past back in their face, don’t bring up everything that they’ve ever done to you, and don’t remind them of times when they were “wrong.” When we refuse to let go of the past and begin using it as a weapon, it causes resentment and insecurity in a relationship. If your partner knows that they’re going to get the past thrown back at them, they’ll end up avoiding talking to you, and won’t want to work to resolve conflicts with you. They’ll often start to think “What’s the point?”
Stick to basic facts, whether it’s an emotional conflict or something pertaining to your lifestyle, finances, etc. Don’t throw heavy emotions around, don’t try to “guilt” your partner into doing something, and don’t expect their attitude or feelings to change about something simply because you express hurt or anger. Be as honest as possible, without being hurtful or attempting to make the other feel guilty.
The last thing to remember about fighting fair in a relationship is- if your relationship is strong enough, you’ll survive the conflict and grow stronger as a couple- as long as you respect each other, allow each other to express feelings and opinions, and be open-minded. Being willing to compromise is key to making any relationship work, honesty and respect comes along with being able to compromise and “fight fair.”