How To Fight Fair In a Relationship- Karla Downing - How To Win a Man's Heart

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How To Fight Fair In a Relationship- Karla Downing

Interview Summary

A special thanks to Karla Downing for the summary notes.

There are major differences in how women and men view and resolve conflict. Taking these into consideration will help you approach conflict in a way that works.

Men: Solve problems and want to get to the bottom line
Women: Talk about things to get understanding and be understood

Men: Talk to resolve things
Women: Talk to process feelings

Men: Heart rate goes up quickly
Women: Talking often calms them

Men: Logical and rational
Women: Emotional

Men: Talking about the relationship means it is not working
Women: Talking about the relationship means it is going well

Men: Say what they mean
Women: Mean more than they say

Men: Admitting a mistake means losing honor
Women: Need an apology to heal

Men: Motivated to change by appreciation and approval
Women: Motivated to change by confrontation and discussion

So, what does this mean when you have conflict:

• Recognize he is going to want to get to the conclusion of the discussion as quickly as possible so try to get to the heart of the issue instead of talking on and on.

• He is going to see the conflict as negative and want to avoid it so make it as positive as possible.

• When you want to confront him on something, do it in a way that engages his help rather than complaining that he is the problem. Men are vulnerable to feeling incompetent so when you complain, they feel like failures, feel attacked and then resist you and your complaint.

• You goal is to resolve the issue to improve the relationship. So even if you don’t get to do it the way you want, if you get resolution and/or understanding, you have been successful.

• You will ruin the relationship if you fight about everything that bothers you. Always ask yourself: “How important is this?” If it isn’t that important and you decide it is a little thing, let it go. If you can’t let it go, decide to bring it up at the right time, but in a way that makes it as positive as possible.

• You always have a part in the problem, even if it is only your attitude or reaction. Let the change begin with you. Let him know that you see your part and are acknowledging it and working on it.

• When you approach conflict as right/wrong meaning “I am right and you are wrong,” you are operating under the fallacy that there is only one way to look at the issue and that you have that right way. It’s not right vs. wrong; it is getting mutual understanding. When you approach conflict by learning about your partner’s needs, personality, feelings, past experiences, and current perspective, it brings you closer together. Seek to understand and to be understood rather than trying to make your partner admit he is wrong and you are right.

• Have a game plan for resolving conflict that works for your relationship. Understand your individual conflict styles including your land mines. Have a plan that includes adjusting your individual styles to make conflict resolution a force for good in your relationship.

Here are some possible maneuvers:

– Specify a mutually agreed on time to talk.
– Allow time outs.
– Structure conflict to allow both people to be heard.
– Agree not to bring up irrelevant past stuff.
– Specify what isn’t allowed.
– Have an agreement for when to get outside help from a third party.

• Purposefully do positive things before, during, and after the conflict: Do something nice that your partner likes. Be affectionate through touch, smiles, and words. Exhibit positive non-verbal body language. Offer a compliment and use humor to lighten things up.

You can make conflict a source for good in your relationship, if you handle it in a way that brings you together.

About Karla Downing

Karla Downing

Karla Downing is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Her books include 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages, When Love Hurts: 10 Principles to Transform Difficult Relationships, and The Truth in the Mirror: A Guide to Healthy Self-Image.

To know more about Karla, visit her website www.changemyrelationship.com.




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