I Fight With You Because I Love You! Damn it.

October 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

By George Streeter, Relationship Coach


Every man has heard the following from a woman he has been in a significant relationship with:  “I am fighting with you because I love you”. If not those exact words, some version of that. To a man, the above statement is an oxymoron. It doesn’t compute. What does she mean when she says this? Who knows, but the male translation of her logic goes something like this:

“You are fighting me because you are hyper-emotional. If you love me, then there would be no fights between us. None of the stuff that you are saying is important would matter. You love me and I love you.. so everything is fine. Right?”

Wrong. Her version of the same situation would go something like this.

“I love him and I feel disconnected to him. He doesn’t want to spend time talking, walking, sharing emotions, (fill in the blank), therefore I need to get to the bottom of what is going on with him. I love him and I want to feel connected to him. So I will talk about the walk, conversation, event (fill in the blank) and fight with him to get an understanding.”

Women fight to keep connection, to have understanding and to be understood. Repeat this three times over if you are a man.

For a man this is a funny concept at best and a worrisome one at worst. Here is why It is so tough for us to understand female logic here. It is tough for us to see the connection between going to the hardware store together to pick up the screws we need to finish the deck with her desire for connection and understanding.  Yet, to a woman, a trip to the hardware store means more than simply an errand, because she has connected “the trip” to more things. For example, she might want to get her man’s opinion on the purchase of deck chairs that are at the hardware store. She has connected the trip to the hardware store to further approval of the purchase of the chairs for the deck. So when you want to go without her to the hardware store because the football game is on later that evening and she is not back from an errand, she may be a bit fussy about it. For her, your desire to go without her for the sake of efficiency creates disconnection on many levels that men don’t always see. As a man, you may be left wondering what all the fuss is about.

Just remember, unless a woman has a fear of intimacy, she will fight with a man to keep connection and establish mutual understanding. She might communicate this by saying, “I just want you to know….” “I want to be heard on this matter” or ‘I don’t feel heard.”

What should you do with a woman who loves you so much she is willing to fight with you, just to have more of you? Here are six easy steps to remember when your fight is about staying connected and being understood.

Step 1. Remember she wants to feel connected to you and understood by you, no matter how cold, sad, or angry she gets over any situation. Just reminding yourself of this perspective can help you accomplish steps 2-6 better.

Step 2. Speak from your emotions. Don’t simply go over the facts of what happened or what you want to see happen. Explain why you want it emotionally. Here is an example for the emotionally challenged.

“I want to go to the hardware store sooner, rather than later, because watching the football game makes me feel happy and contented with my life. Watching the football game is a little moment of peace and I get to feel that here in the house.”  Women reading this are smiling right now. This type of statement can get you very far with a woman who loves you.

Step 3. Tone it down. When we get upset, fearful, or angry, our vocal tone changes.  As men, when we don’t understand something or feel we are being challenged, our tone becomes harsh and stern. The saying “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it” is scientifically true.  Studies have shown only 7 % of what we say is actually registering in any given conversation. Yep, so often the words don’t ever matter.  55% of the listener’s attention when hearing any communication is focused on the non-verbal cues of the speaker and a whopping 35% of all communication that is registered in the listener is the speaker’s tone! So you can be saying, “I want to have some ice cream” and the tone can be signaling “Leave me alone. I don’t want to be around you”.  Pay a lot of attention to tone.

Step 4.  Stay in the present with your argument. Keep to the issue of the toilet seat on the day the toilet seat is up, and not on the toilet seat mishap from yesterday or even tomorrow’s potential toilet seat issues. Just as importantly, no matter how complicated the issue is, stay as best you can in the present moment with your emotions and feelings.

Step 5. Stay in contact, literally. Connection can keep an argument contained. Resist the urge to pull away. A relationship is a full-contact sport. Keep yourself open in heart as well as in mind.

Step 6.  Stay engaged. Resist the urge to check out as she emotes at you. Stay fully present. A good way to remain conscious through the barrage of female intensity is to remember Step 1, then engage intensely in your own way. Don’t dwell on details or issues; instead fight for connection and understanding. Do not let her pull away or go into a shell.  If you get angry, do so around threats to maintaining a strong connection to her. Let her know when you think she is not being fully engaged or is retreating. She will find this side of you a complete turn-on.

Happy fighting, ahem, I mean loving.

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