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Once Beaten Forever Shy

We all fight in relationships. It happens. It is one thing to fight with our loves ones, but it is another to fight ugly. The fighting is suppose to better us and our relationship, not to instigate or flare up old wounds and confirm irreconcilable differences that end the relationship. If we want to end the relationship, why go through all this nastiness in being hurtful to each other; just walk away and call it quits.

Fight “nice”. This means disagreeing without being nasty and hurtful to each other. Since the goal of fights is to persuade each other to see things differently, they cannot be personal attacks on character and past mistakes. Going way deep in our memory bank and pulling out mistakes our loved ones have made and using them as weapons to settle the current fight will destroy us and our relationship. If the goal is to stay in our relationships, this is not the way to go.

Let us see how this fight unfolds. You are upset because your loved one forgot to take out the trash. When you point this out, your loved one responds by saying you forgot to pick up trash bags from the store. You get upset with the unreasonableness and you inquire why your loved one did not use a grocery bag instead. Childishly, your loved one responds by saying it would give the impression of being cheap. By now, both of you are furious, and as you prepare to take out the trash yourself, you sarcastically yell out: “But you didn’t think about being cheap when you checked in that Motel 6 to have your little fling!”

Why would you want to say something like that at this moment? Why would you want to attack and demean your loved one with something from the past? Is not this something your loved one is desperately trying to forget? Why would you even debase yourself by saying such hurtful and unnecessary things when you know darn well that the fling took place several years ago under unfortunate circumstances? Are you not together now? Are you not trying to work on your relationship? So why bring back painful moments with which nothing can be gained as it pertains to your current fight-which by the way, it was only about taking the trash out.

Reaching back in your memory bank and pulling out mistakes is taking a major step backward in your relationship. You force your loved one not to trust your commitment to the relationship and your effort to repair the damage. In reaching back, you just went for a cheap thrill which is quick and convenient, but what you have done really is mortgage the future so you can have you way today. Not a smart move at all. It’s downright childish.

About the author

Dr. Tseday is a clinical psychologist and one of the country's leading experts in marriage, relationships, and self development. She advocates a unique and at times controversial approach to the dynamics of marriage and personal development, the necessary element for a successful relationship. Read more »

One Comment

  1. kidist hailu
    Posted 03/26/14 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Tseday.
    I sow your interview on Hellen Show on EBS. I appreciate your profession and I got many key points from your interview.

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