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I was reading a few threads in this forum and I noticed that some (many?) people have definite "rules" about fighting/disagreeing. (For example, you have to express yourself in a certain way, you can express that you are angry or frustrated but can't take it out on the other person in certain ways, etc.) In theory I agree with pretty much all the kinds of rules I've read. (I dont think I did a great job in describing them, but please bear with me and see if my question still makes sense.) However, my husband is not good at all at figuring out his feelings and/or expressing them in a perfect way. When I try to get him (or us) to remember or follow these correct ways of communicating, it seems like I add a layer of complication that then makes me feel doubly awful that he isnt really dealing with me in a fair way (by these rules), if that makes any sense. So what I'm wondering is, how many of you out there cut your partner (or yourself) some slack when you or the other person is upset about something and doesnt handle it well, but then it turns out that they were upset about something else?<br><br>
To make this more concrete, here's an example. My husband likes to roller blade to and from work for exersize. Recently he decided he wants even more exersize and wants to walk, adding an extra 40 minutes round trip to his commute. Many nights I am waiting for him to come home, going kind of crazy that I havent been able to exersize myself, or start dinner without a major amount of multi tasking that I hate. Very often he is also later than we've agreed, adding frustration and wondering when he'll actually get home. So last night I called him at work and he told me he was about to walk home. I felt immediately tense but I tried to tell him that it is hard for me to be waiting for him for extra time when I am needing to do more work for the family (cook) and also am dying for just 20 minutes of exersize myself and he has already rollerbladed a bunch (I know - this sounds so petty as I write this). I thought we could talk about it but he basically said too bad, he was going to do it, he didnt want to waste time talking about it when he could be spending that time walking. I was so frustrated that he would just say too bad, I'm doing this, and it led to me feeling extremely upset with him, and quite a bit of a fight. The next day it turned out that he felt like I laid down the law about something else that was hampering his exersize, so I he felt entitled I guess to do it back. So basically my question is ... I could quickly try to get us back on track and let it go since I did see why he was then feeling crowded by me balking at him walking, or I could spend a bunch more time dealing with the fact that that wasnt a good way for him to handle his feelings. We spend way too much time fighting and I am really sad at the way we fight. It isnt horrendous but it erodes us and our love for each other I think. He's pretty reasonable in terms of what he'll agree to in general, but the way he communicates leads to major fights and horrible feelings on my part. I'm sure I add to that as well.<br><br>
So back to my question, is just letting all that slide but focusing on the end result the important thing? (That he is pretty reasonable in what we in the end agree to.) Or, do I "owe it to myself" to spend all this time going against his grain and try to get him to be fairer in the process. FWIW, his parents have a pretty harmonious relationship, but they hardly express themselves and "work things out" in the way I see written about in this forum. His mother just runs the show most of the time, but with his father in mind, and then when his father wants something he just says that is what is going to happen and it happens with no hard feelings.<br><br>
Thanks for listening and any thoughts. I really am committed to this relationship and making it a lot more loving and supportive.
 

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Personally, I have given up on fighting--fighting as in the sniping, yelling, accusing, complaining sort of thing I used to do. I dont know if dh has given up on his way of fighting because I don't give him the chance to get that far anymore. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
We have disagreements still. But I have found it's possible to express disagreement without it leading to a fight. It requires a lot of self control on my part (not to escalate when he holds to his position, and not to get defensive when he says something I don't like), but it works.<br><br>
My husband is a reasonable and decent man. There are thigns about him I don't like, or that bother me, or just generally annoy me, but most of them are just not worth the emotional effort to fight and try to mold him into my image of the perfect husband. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Dh isn't one to clock out at 5 on the dot and come home to relax. He wants to work. He gets involved in projects and hates to leave them unfinished. I don't think evenings will ever be like the relaxed family evenings we had when I grew up. In some ways that's sad, but I have to remember dh isn't my dad, and we're not my family of origin, so things are going to be different. We have other good htings that growing up I didn't have, so it does balance out. It's just hard to let go of expectations, especially the ones I didn't know I had. So, while I'd like supper and evenings to be a family time, they just aren't. I work around that. What I did for us was to set a time when dinner was served. If dh was there, great, and we let him know how much we loved it. If not, the kids and I still enjoyed family dinner, and took our time with the bed-time routine, and by the time dh got home, we were all full of good food, clean, cozy in jammies, and not stressed or angry when he walked in the door. I'd bring him tea and the kids would all tell him about their day while he was drinking it, and then we'd have family prayer time and cuddles etc. If I'd decided to stay angry about his not being there in the first place, we'd have missed out on both the family supper *and* the happy end-of-evening family time.
 

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Wouldn't he burn more calories and get a better full body workout with rollerblading than walking?<br>
Maybe he needs the time to decompress from work before getting home and having energy for the family? I only have a less than 10 minute walk home from work. It is great on days when its raining or cold, but not enough of a walk for me to decompress. And then I get home and my wife is hoping that I will play with the baby and/or help get dinner ready, etc. It is exhausting. Sometimes it makes me feel like I do not have any break from work.<br><br>
Is your husband more pleasant to be around and more engaged after he walks home compared to blading?<br><br>
When it comes to arguing. My wife and I do not always argue the way we would love to. But we ALWAYS work it out and genuinely get a chance to tell the other person how we felt and genuinely apologize for the argument if it is needed. We absolutely never go to bed mad, or go throughout our day mad. Sometimes we do end up going off for an hour or something for a time out before we can get back to work it out...but we always work it out. We can tell each other anything and neither of us will hold back telling the other how we feel about something.
 

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I think allowing a partner to say "You know, I'm stressed out and I don't want to argue about this right now, or I don't have time to have a long discussion right now. But I will talk with you about it later" is an excellent arguing rule -- if you set it up so that whatever it is has to be hashed out RIGHT THIS MINUTE whenever one partner wants to, the other can feel basically trapped.<br><br>
I think the worthwhile rules are these:<br><ul><li>No name-calling, yelling, or insults.</li>
<li>No physical violence, or threats of same. EVER.</li>
<li>Complain, don't criticize (talk about specific actions, don't make sweeping accusations about the other person's character).</li>
<li>No threats to end the relationship.</li>
<li>If either partner needs to take a break, they are allowed to leave without physical intervention or verbal abuse. BUT ...</li>
<li>No "silent treatment" or storming out -- if you need to leave the discussion because you're too upset, say so openly and agree to continue the discussion later.</li>
</ul><br>
Basically, treat your partner with respect and remember that you're both on the same side.
 

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If I have understood your post correctly, it sounds like you're wondering if you should call him on his tit-for-tat tactics (or whatever he's doing that's not great or fair or whatever) or just let it go?<br><br>
I'm thinking it's both: you point out the issue. "I don't appreciate this passive aggressive behavior. Next time, please just talk to me directly if something is bothering you." Then let it go. I mean, he might react to the aforementioned and try to fight it out, but you can just give him a peck on the cheek and say "I've let you know what bothered me, and I don't need to dwell on it, honey."<br><br>
I would imagine that the results may vary at first, but if he is committed to working things out with you, and committed to changing negative dynamics, he might stop playing those games and also feel more secure in his relationship with you.<br><br>
My DH and I fight a lot and there was a period of 2-3 years where we broke the rules and it wasn't good. But we did claw our way out of it. We still fight (Irish tempers) but whereas we used to go round and round in circles (all day, sometimes...), now we can cool off for a few minutes and then reconnect. Usually the premises of our fights are stupid. My point is that it was a matter of trust to get back there, and it wasn't instant, but we make an effort now to fight fair - and move on and let it go.
 
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