by Rori Raye
Here’s a letter from Jeanne…
We went to an event last night and argued en route and he said he was sick of this and I said ok me too, did he want his single life back and he said yes … so…
This morning, after somewhat sleepless night I decided I would take all my stuff back home. He then started to backtrack and I said look I’ve figured it all out and he said what and this basically was what I said:
‘Look, I’m not arguing here but I know that most couples have conflict. Conflict is unavoidable unless the couple agrees over every single thing, and not only is that unlikely but pretty unhealthy (and boring). It’s how we DEAL with conflict that matters. Two days ago we argued about leftover food and the issue was solved in minutes in my own head, I just decided there and then that you can eat whatever you want and if I’m coming over and we’re not going out I’ll bring my own food. That should have been the end of it but you sulked for almost 48 hrs, distanced yourself from me and didn’t even call me after your annual hospital check…
That’s way worse than the initial conflict which was over! Now I have a feeling that you have resorted to withdrawal and lack of communication with your ex wife and three daughters. Women don’t like to be cut off, it makes them feel unloved and unwanted. 24hrs of no communication turns to 48hrs which turns to a week and then a month and before you know where you are it’s 6 years! This is clearly not working for you and this is not going to work for me either!’
Then I just stayed very calm and stayed another hour or so, kept busy getting some notes done and then left. He said make sure you say goodbye. I did and he said he’d call me later.
Now I am thinking that I need to be home anyway to do laundry and stuff and I’m thinking of doing what he does – just detaching completely and letting him get a taste of the non-communication style that he resorts to…
I am totally OK with doing this right now, maybe until the end of the week? What would you do? I could answer nicely when he calls and say I’m busy or just ignore him?
Anyway I know you said don’t backtrack but I feel like I’m in charge at this point and I feel like I’ve come a long way…but I’m not selling myself short!
Let me take each one of these assumptions and bust into them:
1. We argued on route.
What’s THAT about? Why argue? What’s there to argue about? If you’re not in your head, and not in your opinions – then how can you be arguing? If you stay in the place where you only have feelings to express – This doesn’t feel good to me….how can any man argue with that?
Even if you get to feeling upset – there’s no argument. It’s just “I’m feeling upset. What can we do to make this better?”
The thing here is – if you want to be with a man – you don’t get equality. You have to throw feminism out the window. He’s the president, you’re the vice-president. NOT the “co-president” – but the “vice” president. You’re second in command.
And because of that, you have to be super careful who you marry! If you don’t trust a man to look out for your feelings, then you’re NEVER going to feel good being 2nd in command. And if you don’t stay in that 2nd in command (but FIRST in his HEART) position – the marriage will turn sour anyway.
Chemistry shifts and goes in and out. What you have in common is basically irrelevant from the start. But if you have a “working team” you can build ANYTHING – INCLUDING romance, chemistry – great sex. If you have a basic “polarity” of masculine and feminine energies – you can build chemistry and romance and great sex.
If you go with the friendship thing of being equals – it will NEVER get past friendship, and trying to do so will create arguments. Useless stuff.
2. Conflict is unavoidable unless the couple agrees over every single thing, and not only is that unlikely but pretty unhealthy (and boring). It’s how we DEAL with conflict that matters.
Conflict is NOT unavoidable, and conflict-free life is NOT boring. Conflict comes out of everyone wanting their way, everyone wanting to be right, everyone being afraid of what will happen if they don’t get their way.
Sometimes – yeah – you’re right. And his way is wrong. And bad. And there are ways to work through this without arguing.
Arguing is just a defense-fest.
Nothing’s getting solved or fixed or smoothed over or decided. It’s not even a real debate. It’s a gridlock where you get emotional about the gridlock.
A conflict of interests needs to be “solved,” and the president of your team has to do the major deciding and solving, and he has to do it in concert with you – meaning he has to hear you out, get what your feelings are about the situation, and create a win-win workable solution. If you don’t trust him enough for that (to get you to the party or the theater, to choose big things like where you live – where you BOTH have to be happy, where you’ll have dinner, to choose a financial adviser or decide where to go on vacation in a way that makes YOU happy, too!) – then don’t marry him.
Marrying him, and thinking you’ll eventually figure out a way to prevail in “arguments” is not smart or good for you.
Marrying him, and thinking he’ll “soften” or change for you once he’s signed the official papers is not smart or good for you.
What you see is what you get.
If he changes down the line (and this happens all the time) for the worse – then you need to really stick to your guns: “My happiness is crucial to our team. If I’m not happy, this won’t work.Therefore, I’ll need to look out for my happiness and do things for myself that make me happy, and I can’t participate in letting decisions be made anymore in our “team” without my happiness being considered.”
And you get to feel good knowing you’ve never “given yourself up” to be part of the team, and so you can serve yourself well.
And if he changes for the better (and my Tools teach you how to continually be helping that along) – yayyyy – and you get to take credit for doing the work on yourself to allow that to happen.
And if he stays the same (which is what usually happens) – and that isn’t good – then the answer is that YOU haven’t changed, either, and so you have no one to blame but yourself. And – I FORBID you to blame yourself (or anyone else) for anything – so this is where your work is.
You cannot change him or circumstance or decisions or work to influence him. Either you’re a team or you’re not – and teams discuss, and work things out, and work in some sort of complementary way. Arguing is useless and old and doesn’t work. Blowing off steam at your team member is useless and damaging.
3. The rest of the letter is telling him what he did wrong.
This is totally forbidden in my 4 Rules – and it’s the beginning of learning how to be a team member and STILL stand by YOURSELF.
Frustration builds like this in a relationship when you aren’t expressing yourself and getting your feelings acknowledged. When you’re not getting your basic needs for affection and attention met.
When things are weird and off-kilter between you more often then they feel smooth and lovely.
4. And here’s game-playing: I’m thinking of doing what he does – just detaching completely and letting him get a taste of the non-communication style that he resorts to…
We all want to do this: “Give him a taste of his own medicine…play hard-to get….go away…”
And – it doesn’t work.
Men don’t “get” this.
It’s all for nothing.
They don’t experience this game the way we want them to. They think you don’t care, and so they move further away. Or they get angrier. Or – they rightly think you’re playing a game (they’re right – you are!), and so they stop trusting you, they feel dis-respected, they don’t get it, they feel angry.
A Feeling Message Speech Instead:
Jeanne – Just for practice – take the letter and speech you wrote me and rewrite it as feeling messages…
“I’m just a girl here and I can’t deal without contact – it makes me feel unloved and unwanted….I don’t know how we can be together without some conflict…I don’t know if that’s possible. Is there some way we can work to resolve conflict more easily so that there isn’t like 2 or 3 days of no communication and anger between us? It would feel so good to be able to make mistakes now and then and somehow work our way through them. It would feel great to feel secured and relaxed that way, so I could love you without feeling afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing…”
How does that feel instead of the one you started with?
Why do we argue in the first place?
Sometimes the problem is that everyone is so subconsciously afraid of intimacy that after every good moment, they create a bad one.
If this is you – keep watch. Notice how this happens – and STOP CONTRIBUTING. After good moments – keep quiet. Keep still. Observe. Notice if you become edgy. notice if HE becomes edgy. Take some space. Plan ahead for these moments. Talk about THIS!
Come up with some ideas for staying emotionally close when you feel edgy.
Arguments are a lazy way of dealing with big internal issues in all of us.
Forgiveness of yourself is the key that opens the door to a different path than the one marked “arguments.”
Let’s keep talking about this…
From Sarah: Rori’s got the advice to turn your whole relationship world and self-image around in the most positive way. She can empower you more successfully than anyone else I’ve read. Follow this link to her site, where you’ll find more great free advice about your approach to men and how to deal with anything that goes on without falling into arguing->