Sometimes being the bigger person in a fight is not always the easiest thing to do in a relationship. We have all been there, at loggerheads with our significant others, unwilling to stand down from the fact that we’re right and they are very obviously wrong.
Very recently, I was having a particularly light-hearted phone conversation with my partner one night when it started to go to hell over the most inconsequential matter. It escalated into an argument and I told him in very few words that if he was going to get angry over something so stupid then the conversation needed to end right there, lest we say anything hurtful. And so it did.
I was one of those couples that used to say that we didn’t argue much, or even at all, but as you get to know that person and all their nit-picky little habits, that sentence unfortunately turns void. As such, over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to confront a situation and try to face it head on.
Men usually try to stay away from immediate conversations to cool off, but I’d rather just confront it right there and then, thank you very much, and let go of whatever residual anger there is. I don’t need to go into tomorrow’s meeting fuming over an argument we just had – but, you can’t always get what you want. Now most handbooks and advice columns preach that you should never go to bed angry, well I have to say that sometimes that just isn’t very possible at all.
So instead of having a long drawn-out argument that would have lasted quite a while, I called him the next morning and accepted whatever it is he wanted to say and let the argument end there.
Did I give up and just let him walk all over me?
Of course not! That should never happen, because how effective is that in the long-run? You’ll constantly get into the same fights and it doesn’t take a psychiatrist to tell you that your relationship might receive a rather permanent crack in it.
I just decided to agree to disagree and that we were left at an impasse. We are two unique individuals who cannot possibly agree on every single thing and that is something that I think couples should realise. There will always be differences, but it is how you deal with them that lay the solution.
With some arguments, you do have to attest to the fact that you just might be wrong when you really are. Pride gets you nowhere and just draws out a rather emotional process and I do have to say, women are guilty of it to. I’ve had to wave a white flag now and then because I was indeed in the wrong. I had to accept it, apologise and move on.
When is it best to stand down though? Backing-off instead of confronting the situation sometimes does help, allowing you to rationalise the situation properly. You can even talk it over with someone you trust so that it allows you to see things from a different perspective, while at other times; the time simply allows you to stop being so stubborn and just kiss and make-up already.
Don’t take it the wrong way though, conflict doesn’t mean that a person wins or loses. It means that there is a difference in opinion, a problem or obstacle within the relationship that generally needs to be addressed. In some cases, standing down means not getting defensive and instead resolving the issue in a manner that doesn’t point fingers. How does blaming anyone or even yourself help the situation, when you could be working towards a solution instead.
So let go, let live and you’ll be all the more happy about it. The next time you get into an argument, decide whether it’s worth the agony of feeling justified or if it’s a sign that a discussion is in order to keep the relationship going.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and are not those of a health-care providing professional or counsellor and are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice.