8 Rules For Fighting Fair With Your Partner

Listening to: Stay and Fight by Tamar Braxton

I remember going on a double date with bae, his coworker, Darryl, and Darryl’s wife, Gloria one night. Once we made it through the small talk that normally consists of “Oh, you’re a writer? OMG, that’s so cool”, we got to the meat of the conversation. If this is the first blog of mine you’ve ever read, welcome. If not, you know that by meat, I’m referring to C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.

Yes, honey. I went all in.

So, when I asked Gloria about the state of her communication with Darryl, she said, “It’s fine. We’re good. We never fight.” I fought an urge to glance over at bae because I knew he would tell me, “Boo. Don’t.”

Taking an elongated sip of my lemon drop martini, I sized the couple up and asked, “So, how do you tell each other what’s bothering you?”

I noticed Darryl was shifting in his chair while Gloria piped up once more and said, “We just sit down and discuss whatever’s bothering us!”

Time for a sidebar: Now, Sis. Given what we’ve each been through in our lives, you and I both know how to spot BS from a mile away. That couple was not on the same page. I’m not saying every single couple fights constantly. But if you’re anything like me, I know for a fact that there are times when you’re not upfront with your boo about what’s bothering you and, eventually, that shit’s likely to blow up all over both of you.

So, instead of tiptoeing around how you really feel in order to avoid fighting, you’re much better off learning how to fight fair.

Fact is, the closer you are to a situation, it’s more likely that you’re going to bring built-in biases, egocentric perspectives, and goals of personal gain to the table. So, when you have a disagreement with your partner, you have to check your biases, ego, and selfish mentality at the door. Because when it comes to conflict, the energy you give is the energy you’ll get. If you’re not willing to budge, chances are, he won’t be either.

Here are the 8 rules for fighting fair with your partner.

1. Check yoself. I’ve come to learn that emotions are contagious AF. Specifically negative emotions because the mind is self-protective and usually matches what it perceives. Taking a moment to gauge where you’re coming from before speaking can go a long way.

2. Never say never! Avoid general statements like, “you never” or “you always” at all costs! That’s the perfect way to get that wall ejected and no progress will be made. Instead, use I statements. “I feel like I’m seeing a pattern for this behavior.” Then list multiple examples to help them see your point of view.

3. Don’t rehash old stuff. Stay away from previous issues that you’ve already addressed and resolved. Once you’ve discussed it at length, it’s time to move on from it. Stay in the present, don’t harp on the past.

4. Aim for a win-win. The thing about trying to win a fight with your boo is…no one really wins. Relationships are a partnership, but they’re anything but 50/50 or even 60/40. Honey, they’re 100/100. If you want to be happy in your relationship, your partner also needs to be happy. Although you’re not responsible for your partner’s happiness, you should have a vested interest in his journey to get there. You can start by going into the discussion with a desire to see your partner’s side of things.

5. Know his POV like you know yours. You won’t get anywhere in your resolution process until you’ve each fully stated your feelings, intentions, and desires. Otherwise, neither of you is equipped to acknowledge, understand, and embrace the other’s feelings and concerns. Until that happens, you’re just spinning your wheels and will never meet a middle ground.

6. Honesty is the best policy. Now that you have his attention, it’s not the time for mincing words. Speak up about how his behavior or choices bother you. Let him know why it bothers you and exactly what you want him to start or stop doing to resolve it. Then ask for his feedback on your behavior and choices.

7. Don’t get defensive. One of the worst things you can do while hashing out your differences is to jump headfirst into your feelings the moment you hear something that hurts or disappoints you. Once your partner gives you raw feedback on what you can start/stop doing to improve your relationship, it’s time to put feelings aside and start listening. That doesn’t mean being stoic, either. It means actively listening, repeating their words for understanding, and owning your piece in how they feel.

8. Leverage your knowledge as power. Now that you know how your partner really feels about the issue, use this information to improve in areas that will elevate your relationship and communication so that you’ll continue to feel comfortable sharing and being vulnerable with one another. When someone opens up to you, make sure you listen and show them the value of doing so. This is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to keep guessing how they feel and what they want from you.

In conflict resolution, the goal is always to seek understanding first, then to be understood. The main goal in navigating conflict is to establish empathy, self-awareness, and understanding with your partner. As long as that’s your focus, you’ll both win.



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