It’s scary, it’s upsetting – and it can shatter all your cherished dreams. A sure sign that the honeymoon period is over, the first fight is a defining moment with the power to make or break a relationship. It doesn’t have to spell the end, though. Okay, so perhaps things will never again be quite the same – but not necessarily in a negative way.
On average, most of us have our first big quarrel a couple of months after we’ve started dating. This is usually the time when we start to drop our guard a little and slip more into our natural selves. Now, as our rose-tinted glasses fall off, we become aware of certain things about each other we weren’t previously aware of and which we may not like. And as we no longer feel the need to be strictly on our best behavior, we’re more likely to let rip.
An Important Milestone
It’s by no means all bad news, though. Arriving at the point where we’re confident enough to share our hurt or angry feelings without fearing we’re going to screw up represents an important milestone. It requires a strong sense of mutual trust and security – and a level of intimacy which only builds up over time. It means our relationship is no longer in the fledgling stages. Now it has really started to cut its teeth!
When couples never argue, it can suggest there’s not much depth to their relationship, and there’s nothing much worth arguing about. Fighting, on the other hand, is a powerful indication that two people have something special going between them – that they have something that’s actually worth fighting for. Losing our cool is just another way of showing how much we care – and it’s often a tell-tale sign of true love!
Arguments are a useful vehicle for looking at what’s not working between us and the other person, and taking the necessary action to put it right. In focusing on the bad stuff though, it’s important not to let it assume undue significance and forget about all the really good stuff. Just because one aspect of our relationship is causing us problems, it doesn’t have to mean the whole thing is a no-goer.
Don’t Bail Out Prematurely
The first fight is always a critical stage in a relationship, when many people make a decision to bail out – in some cases a little prematurely. Of course there will be certain red flags that alert you to the fact there’s something fundamentally unacceptable going on which you dare not ignore. But more minor difficulties can often be relatively easily overcome – with a bit of hard work.
Statistics suggest, however, that we’re not very good at working on our relationships. With nearly one in two marriages currently ending in divorce, unlike previous generations, we’re much more likely to split up and move on at the first hint of trouble than put in much in the way of effort. On-line dating and the relative ease with which we can find new partners has had a huge impact on our approach to love. With so many other fish in the sea, the temptation is to keep casting our line into the waters until we hook the perfect catch.
But is there really any such thing as a perfect relationship – and would we want one anyway? It’s the little trials and tribulations that put the zing into a love affair, prevent us from getting bored and keep us hanging in there. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with a good row every now and then – provided we stick to the rules of a fair fight.
The Seven Rules of Fighting Fair
1) Stick to the issue in question. Try to be specific, avoid generalizations, and don’t bring up any unrelated grievances at the same time. Far from strengthening your case, they’re only likely to confuse things, make the other person feel they’re under attack, and can cause the argument to develop into something much more serious than it need be.
2) Use “I” statements - such as “I’m upset”, rather than “you” statements, such as “you’ve upset me”. With the former you’re simply sharing your feelings, with the latter you’re casting blame. “You” statements can sound aggressive, tend to put the other person on the defensive, and can be counter-productive to a constructive outcome. As ever, it’s not what we say, but the way that we say it that counts.
3) Allow the other person their fair say. Don’t launch into a monologue without offering them a chance to respond – and when they’re speaking, give them your full attention and try not to interrupt them. Remember, an argument should be a two-sided thing.
4) Don’t try to floor your ‘opponent’ by going for a knock-out! A healthy argument isn’t about proving who wields the power in a relationship and should never be a win-lose situation. Rather than attempting to force the other person into submission, focus instead on how to achieve a compromise and what’s best for the good of the relationship as a whole.
5) Avoid hitting below-the-belt. Attacks on the other person’s sense of self-worth, which focus on things they’re particularly sensitive about and are intended to belittle or humiliate them, are strictly out of order. This is playing really dirty – try to show a bit of respect!
6) Don’t be abusive! It’s not easy to be polite when we’re mad with someone, but self-control is important. Name-calling whips up aggression and can easily escalate a relatively minor argument into a violent fight. Remember, whatever you say or do, you can’t take it back, so don’t leave yourself with any regrets.
7) Don’t throw in the towel without achieving closure. If you’re unable to reach an agreement or at least a compromise there and then, be sure to leave the door open for a future reconciliation. Walking out, cutting off communication, or any other kind of drastic action that smacks of finality, greatly increases your chances of splitting up.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Once a quarrel between two people gets going, it often acquires a momentum of its own, which – even with the best will in the world – can be hard to bring to a halt. Far better, then, to defuse a volatile situation in the early stages to prevent it developing into a fight.
Astrological compatibility analysis can throw light on the potential problems which may occur in the early days of a relationship, enabling you to resolve them before they get out of hand. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!
Sometimes though, just the realization that you’re having your first big argument is enough to cut through any deadlock. Acknowledging the enormity of the occasion – and that it has its humorous side – is a great tension breaker, reminding you that actually you really love each other, and getting you laughing again. Before you know it you’re back in each others’ arms and ready to ‘kiss and make up’!
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