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Sunday, January 05, 2014

How do YOU end a fight with a spouse?

I learned early in my "dealing with men" career that men cannot abide it when someone else wants "their" woman. My first real boyfriend broke up with me one summer as our song, "Love Will Keep Us Together" came on in his '67 Firebird on AM radio...probably WLS. He dropped me off at home where I spent time in seclusion until Thursday night when Welcome Back Kotter came on. Later that night I received a call from another guy who had been wanting to date me and we made a date for the next night. The next thing I did was call my ex and request my class ring back. I told him I was going out with Bill and I didn't think it appropriate to do so when he had my ring. That was all it took to mend our differences, the ex couldn't tolerate the thought of another man enjoying my company.

When Rick and I were married and we were temporarily separated (what he called the periods of time when he would date others), a similar situation occurred. Rick found out that I was dating another man and before I could say "English muffin", our marriage was salvaged. After that, I didn't bother dating when Rick and I were separated, I just told him I was. That was all it took. One 6 month separation was healed when the guy I was dating called Rick to "tell him all about" himself . When he told me what he had done (he did it because we had just had a squabble of our own), I thanked him.

He asked for what I was thanking him. I responded, "You just did something that I couldn't do in the past 6 months...you got my husband back for me."

I was right. I went to work that night at 11 to find Rick waiting outside with a necklace and a card begging me to take him back. The shoes had switched feet without any effort from me. Rick came to my job at 7 AM and helped me move back into our home. He quickly broke up with his tramp du jour and life went on swimmingly until he met his next husband screwing wench.

When Rick and I would fight, I noticed a pattern. He would be angry and I would try everything in my power to assuage his anger but his cruelty knew no bounds. Sooner or later I would begin crying and begging him to "forgive me" for whatever "transgression" I had committed. His cruelty seemed to be fueled by my tears.

At some point, the futility, frustration and fear left...and was quickly replaced with anger. Once I was acrimonious and sick of the behavior (the man who supposedly loved me) he used to make him feel like a man, he would...100% of the time...back down. The fight was over and all was well with the world. Nothing had changed, whatever had begun the battle was still quite present...but an angry woman sick of arguing is nowhere near as pliable as a crying women begging for peace. Once I realized that pattern, I would behave in quite a different manner. I skipped the begging and crying and went straight to acrimony. That tended to end battles before they ever really got going.

I don't mean to imply that anger is a good thing, but the situations in which I found myself left me without any other more efficient tactic. What I am suggesting is that, if you find yourself in situations of which you are entirely without control, pay attention to the tactics being used against you and study your own reactions. Search for patterns and think about how you can change the direction of any battle as quickly as possible. Avoid the parts that hurt you (in any way and to any degree), and observe the behavior of your "opponent".

Some people may call that "playing games" and they may be right. But game playing is not necessarily a bad thing. And if you've been dragged into a game with no way out that would be beneficial to you, you need to study the strategy of your opponent. This doesn't only apply to romantic relationships, anyone who likes to control people will eventually steer clear of you once you become less pliable.

This is a very important lesson to be learned by those who are trying to control their own destiny.


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