And how to come out of a spat even more in love Whether you caught your man in a lie or leaving the toilet seat up again, you may think it best to forgive and forget. And while confrontations are about as fun as trimming your guy's neck hair, new research on the hefty costs of forgiveness suggest that it may be better to fight it out.
Expressing anger can be more effective than granting forgiveness in resolving relationship problems, preventing future transgressions, and establishing a state of well-being, according to four years worth of research done by James K. McNulty, Ph.D., social psychology researcher at Florida State University. The study results were presented at the recent American Psychological Association's annual convention.
Being quick to forgive can do serious damage to a relationship: It can encourage more unwelcome behavior (think: sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to forgive me anyway!) and send the message that whatever rubbed you the wrong way wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t actually that big of deal. Letting your man know just how pissed you areÃ¢â‚¬”and temporarily withholding forgivenessÃ¢â‚¬”sets the scene for actually hashing things out, McNulty says. (Not that angry? Here's how to sidestep silly arguments.)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People think they are protecting the other person by not telling the truth about their feelings,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Laurie Gerber, president of Handel Group Life coaching. But fighting is like tearing those microscopic muscle fibers during a strength training workout, she says. "You have to break it down to build it back stronger.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So with GerberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s help, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve put together your fight-right cheat sheet. No screaming, no shying away, and no forgiving until the problemÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actually solved.
Set the Rules Will you never storm out on a fight? Will you always let him finish talking before you start? If the past has taught you that some of your tendencies are far more hurtful than helpful, you should probably set some ground rules on fighting fair, says Gerber. It will help keep things productive and protect your relationship from, well, yourselves.
Be Prepared Write out the feelings that you're afraid to say aloud, says Gerber. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to take everything to the table. Already know what you are going to own up toÃ¢â‚¬”even if it's failing to bring up your feelings sooner. Also think through a solution before presenting the problem. What do you hope to get out of the argument?
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ambush The worst way to start a serious talk is with a sneak attack, says Gerber. It immediately puts the other person on the defensive. Tell him, "I have something important to talk to you about. Do you have 15 minutes now or sometime today to talk?"
Give Context Tell him why you want to have the conversation. "I love you and want to be honest with you" is a good one. If your reason isn't friendly, you aren't ready for the conversation and should spend some more time cooling off, she advises.
Get the Facts Straight "We are really craptastic at listening," says Gerber, who says it took her 10 years to realize her faulty listening skills in her own marriage. "During arguments and discussions, we are very busy thinking about our own thoughts and what we think [the other person] will say." The result could be misinterpreting what's actually said, so take notes and repeat back to himÃ¢â‚¬”without interruptingÃ¢â‚¬”what you believe you are hearing. Likewise, make it clear to him that what you say/accuse him of is your perception, not necessarily the truth, and you want to hear his side of things.
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Why to Have Makeup Sex
Defining Relationship Moments
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