April 17, 2020
Can Conflict Save Your Relationship?
Do you avoid or lean into conflict? Do you fight to win or fight to understand? Do you speak up when you’re unhappy? This week, CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke of Thrive! Inc. join Jess and Brandon to talk about the upside of conflict. They discuss:
- How to start difficult conversations
- Three questions to ask yourself when you’re fighting (or about to engage in conflict)
- How to cultivate better listening skills
- Why you don’t always need to arrive at compromise or a resolution
- The challenge of emotional differentiation
- The connection between conflict and passion
- The 5-5-5 approach to tackling tough topics
Follow CrisMarie & Susan on Instagram and Facebook. Check out their books, The Beauty of Conflict for Couples & The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage.
If you’ve got questions or topic suggestions for the podcast, submit them here. As well, you can now record your messages for us! Please record your message/question in a quiet room and use your phone’s headphones with a built-in mic if possible.
This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Can Conflict Save Your Relationship?
00:00:05 – 00:05:08
You’re listening to the sacs with Dr Jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight Welcome to the sex with Dr. Just podcast I’m your co host Brandon. Wear here with my lovely other half Dr Jess how you doing. I’m good how are you I’m good? I’m good you ready to talk about fighting and conflict. I’m always ready to talk about fighting and conflict but because I think that when we have had fights and arguments that when I have a level head I think I’d benefit tremendously from the you know Not long ago on the PODCAST. We talked about a recent argument. We had It was on a Saturday. We had this argument. It wasn’t about much it was really about going for a walk and it was one of those smaller arguments that feels intense in the moment. But after you kind of work through it for me at least I walk away with a sense of relief and can even laugh about it and many months ago over a year ago we recorded an episode on what we fight about and surprisingly it was one of our most popular episodes especially in this is the thing. Among people who know us like friends and family and acquaintances. Who Apparently listened to the podcast? But they’ve never told us about it. They’ve never I guess admitted it and we receive so many messages from people who felt reassured or comforted by the fact that you and I argue and I don’t know what would make people think that we don’t argue. I guess because we don’t argue in public and you really only see what we put out there. I mean obviously. I don’t post instagram stories. While we’re in the middle of a fight and I guess it just for me. It went without saying that. Were a normal couple. Normal couple. Were a happy couple but we still fight. I was thinking. Do you remember our first fight. Our very first fight no not at all. You looked at me like I was going to remember. I thought you remember it. I was like wow. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. So I definitely don’t remember. I don’t even think I could pinpoint our biggest one. I can remember a few where I was really really mad like really mad but the way that I used to fight and the way that I fight now are very different. I just feel like it’s changed so much over the years you’re wake calmer cranky on and then when you’re in your early twenties but you’re never explosive a verbally. I think it was more in your body. You’re exploding yeah. I should clarify what I meant by that. The the feeling internally felt very different than it was today. I also I mean I know you can raise your voice you can yell and things like that and I and I have but also know that for me. It just doesn’t result in me feeling great about the fight when it’s done that’s interesting. I do think it’s very cultural. This notion of stay calm and don’t yell. I definitely grew up into family that we raise our voices when we are just talking normal thing it really is and I mean your parents yells. There was yelling. Your mom my mom would. He yelled my dad. Not so much. If you know my dad my dad I can. Very few. Instances has ever reached his voice. He got really mad at you. That time. You tied your brother up on the lawn. Game tied his hands behind his back in his legs together and then I told them to go and he hopped away and fell and landed flat on. Its face in my dad. Came home with that exact moment and that’s one of few times. I recall my dad ever getting very angry with me. Don’t I still don’t understand why I don’t get it? I don’t know I was twenty three. No just kidding I was Probably Fourteen or fifteen older older definitely. Why would Jonathan let you tie him? Up At twelve wasn’t an option. I was probably part of the problem. Big I just held him down and tied him up and said this is a game. Go Okay that’s a story for another day. Actually one day. We should just tell your family store. Should just talk about my brother stories which I won’t do Jonathan if you’re listening so don’t worry but I should because that would be three episodes so when I think about fighting one thing that I notice in our now is that I tend to feel better after an argument And I think that that is a sign of a good argument for me. Functional argument one that helps us to better understand ourselves and one another even if during the interaction it feels very tense or very frustrating or angering angering or uncomfortable or even circular. Like you know when you feel like you’re going back and forth. I do like the feeling of tension release that comes from walking away from conflict. That was actually functional. So I’m really happy to be talking about conflict once again joining us today. Are Chris. Murray Campbell and Susan Clark of Thrive Inc? You are the authors of the beauty of conflict for couples.
00:05:08 – 00:10:08
Welcome thank you for being here all. We’re thrilled to be here as our Mery. Okay let’s start with you then. Chris Marie what do couples get wrong about conflict? And I’m sure it’s a whole lot. Well I think just like me is. Couples tend to think. Hey all have a good relationship when everything is smooth and for me. I took it as my my role to make sure everything stayed smooth and so What that caused me the do though however is not come forward. Not say how I really felt. You know stuff my feelings. Pretend I didn’t really want what I wanted. And so I became pretty miserable and resentful rather than learning how to bring myself forward and then tolerating the tension of maybe Susan being upset with me and knowing that. I’m still safe at because as I learned how to do that. We wound up coming up with so many creative solutions to quote unquote conflict. That I thought it was. You know I had it. Had to be her way or my way and we wound up coming up with brilliant ideas that were at her way or my way but something brand new when we learn to tolerate that tension. I love that I love that we do avoid tension. It’s a natural inclination because it doesn’t feel good but when you work through the tension that’s when you get to the fruitful stuff. So how do you even start up potentially tense conversation? So let’s say we’re around the house in quarantine and I feel my partner isn’t pulling their weight increase. Well I feel like this would be maybe more you than me because I feel like you’re actually doing more around the house because I’m a little bit more engrossed in work right now. I see what Susan had made reference to about maintaining the status quo. Like the idea that is long as everything is good. There is no conflict no fighting and You know doing that can be at the. You know the detriment to your own personal. Let’s call it well being like how do you? Sometimes we need to fight and sometimes we need to bring things up to make sure that we don’t fight so in the future. So what language do you suggest so? I feel as though my partner isn’t pulling their weight right now. I mean the first thing is the willingness to not try to just use a technique because I think couples. That doesn’t usually go to. So you know being able to say look I have something. That’s bugging me. Are you available. Because I’d like to talk about it like at least saying this letting the person know ahead of time because sometimes timing is a big issue so but being franken honest like this is something that I’m bugging myself with an and then checking out like being willing to sort of say I. I think I’m doing more right now than you are. I don’t know whether you agree with me or disagree but it’s beginning to make me frustrated and But I want to check in. Do you notice that or do. Yeah so that would be one way to bring it up. I love the interactive there. You know the this is how I’m feeling. How are you feeling and do you? Is this a good time for you? Because right now there are a lot of bad times right so well and so often couples try to bring up a tough issues when they’re like oh brushing their teeth or trying to get trying to do something else and it’s like. Oh this is what I should talk to you and we really have been created the time or space to let the person know. Hey this is a more of a significant conversation. I’m just trying to squeeze it in and then it could backfire. Yeah that makes perfect sense. And so after you’ve opened the conversation What I don’t know. What insights do you have for? Couples is it okay to yell and scream. Is it okay if you disagreed for a while? How do we structure our conflict? So that it’s fruitful so that we get something positive out of it as opposed you wanting to win an argument that’s A. That’s a pretty critical point right there and one of the tools that we talk about a lot and we think this is really vital right now while you’re in confined space with is what we call a five by five. Five five is a way of talking about potentially hot topic or you know any topic really but a hot topic where each person so one person goes I have. I’ve minutes to just talk about whatever’s up for them or if they don’t they don’t talk a lot. They could take their time and go at the pace. It’s for them to address that issue then the second thing once that five minutes is up it ends in. The other person has five minutes to talk about the topic and then after the that five minutes the last five minutes is where they ask questions. Talk you know. Make sure they understood that it’s not necessarily about getting to a resolution but it’s making sure that each person has a chance to fully talk about the issue and you also don’t want to things that happens with couples.
00:10:08 – 00:15:13
Usually one person is like we don’t talk enough about things in the other person’s like Oh my God we talk way. I’m which is exactly why we say five five five not five five forty five but you give that time. It’s contained fifteen minutes so you can’t really say you’re talking too much and people have taken variations on the theme. A three three three to start up with it because the person that feels like oh five minutes is way too long but it and it’s also not like dry another mistake. Couples make is they they. WanNa come to a solution. So this is what we’re GONNA do. This is how we’ll solve it versus actually taking some time to like why it’s important to you to get underneath what’s happening and not driving to a solution will help create more of the connection which we crave in relationship really understanding. Wow this is why it bothers you so much that I don’t pick up my laundry. Or you know whatever’s happening. I’m getting to know the other person and and I’m also getting to know me and that five five as I think about what is happening for me. So what happens at the end of the five five if one of you is feeling like Oh? I’m so talked out and the other one is is feeling man. We’ve only scratched the surface. Get Your Butt back here. How’d you manage that? We actually say don’t start again. Don’t go do something different but you can always come back to a five hundred five like well. We were I’ll tell her party. You WanNa buy our own. The way this became so critical for us was there was a Christmas kind of a workaholic. She really loves to work. A lot and We never take vacation but we decided to take a vacation and go on a a wonderful yoga retreat. Was this beautiful location for seven days. So thrilled and we got to our Polat bad down in Mexico this beautiful space and we’re getting ourselves setup in Chris Murphy says as she’s putting on things she was. I don’t think I’m happy in this relationship. I think I I don’t know I’m just not satisfied and I had this moment of flag. You have got to be kidding. Not NOT THE FIRST TIME. We’ve taken a vacation. This cannot be happening so I did. I took a breath and I thought well okay. I’m going to use our tools like I said. I don’t really want to figure out whether we’re going to stay or go like today like we have seven days of Big Asian. I WANNA enjoy some of how if we use the five by five at least once a day and she talked me into twice once in the morning one evening to address our our relationship and then we would go on and do some other things while I think saved our relationship that five because one you know what happened is ice as I talked about how you know. I was so unhappy in this relationship over the course of seven days for like at Max Thirty minutes a day I started to realize no it was actually. It wasn’t the problem with Susan and I. It was the fact that I wasn’t doing anything fun. I wasn’t and you know I wasn’t dancing or acting or painting the things that really give me juice. And so that happened. Cont- you know over a tripartite traded experience of having the five five but when couples stay in the five. Eight usually doesn’t doesn’t bode well so we say small bits over time because in those breaks while you’re having fun or going back to work you continue to process what you’ve talked about whether what whether it’s what you’ve shared or what you’ve heard your partner say and that that makes sense to me. I appreciate your note on unhappiness with self versus relationship because oftentimes the relationship gets scapegoated. And we’re we’re really unhappy with the work we’re doing on ourselves or Warren happy with our friends or jobs or other social ties. Or we’ve cut all of those off and put all of our eggs in this relationship basket expecting it to be holy fulfilling so I really appreciate that. You also think that there are times where there’s therapeutic element to just a- putting your words out there once you start saying the things that bother you you realize that they have validity or realize that the ridiculous yourself well when I hear myself complain about certain things in all you know in all seriousness. I realized these are insignificant when I really think about them and I’m not saying they always are but for me when I when I just said that loud I was like okay. Yup I need Ya know. This doesn’t this is not important. What is important at the time was this relationship was also important was me keeping a level head thinking rationally and listening. That was a big point. Well that’s that’s an interesting piece there. The skill of sitting there and shutting up for five minutes must be a huge challenge so I do wonder if people begin with like three three three or two How can you cultivate your listening skills if this is new to you because as you said oftentimes there’s a partner relationship won’t shut up and the other one who doesn’t even know what to say? Well this is Susan.
00:15:13 – 00:20:02
I think the key Keith. Keeping is one you could start with less time but the other which could help you develop the capacity to be able to do it but also for me. It makes a big difference when I think about what is the intent behind listening and for me. It really helped when I realized I am just getting to know this other person. I’m not deciding whether I agree with them or disagree with them. This is just a chance for me to fully understand and get and get curious about my partner and Greeley here from their perspective and when I think of it like that have a lot more room like if I don’t think we’re trying to solve the problem I can make room for me even. I don’t even know you know why you think this is a problem so and I know you do so. I’m interested in in our book. We talk about just the Were when I’m listening and I’m thinking. Oh my gosh. That means I’ve got to do it differently. It can feel like oh I’m wrong. I’m being inundated or oh my gosh. She’s GonNa leave me. Those those are the things that start to trigger us and thinking I gotTa make. I’ve got intervene. And if you can see we do talk about this with couples and when I coach individuals how to actually sell sued and recognize that person over there while I’m connected to them they are separate being and they’re going through whatever they’re going through and can I cultivate a sense of safety in my own skin. Despite what’s happening over there or what. I think they’re she’s telling me I need to do or I’m not doing enough of and that’s the I think the you know the ability to self differentiate and know that I am equally whole person even if she’s upset with me. Yeah that’s such a challenge to emotionally differentiate. Especially if you’re the type of person that feels responsible for somebody else’s feelings I know Brandon for example. I know a fear of yours. And we’ve talked about this is that. I’m mad at you or that a mood that I’m in is your fault and we can get into the habit of. I’m upset about something. You think. It must be your fault and then you try and fix it and then I actually do get upset at you because I don’t exit it. I’m looking for you to appease my sensitive or my my insecurities as opposed to focusing in on the problem. I’m like Oh my God. Are you really mad? And if you are mad it’s like well. I need you to make it easy to assure me first and foremost so that I can make sure that you’re okay right. They can take a long time to break some of those some of those preconceived ideas and and move forward yet and to be clear. It’s not all on you. I think that because I know that you’ll respond. If I’m upset sometimes have to be really mindful of the way I communicate my feelings. One thing I think we both trout struggle with and I’d love to get your insights on this. How do we let go of the desire to resolve things because we are both very solution focused? People I practice. Switch focus therapy. We’re GONNA fix this. Everything in our lives at once. Go can be quite stressful. You could create a virus. I think this experience of going through this pandemic is forcing people to not be able to resolve things. Right I think is the skill. We actually have probably lost a little bit of our culture so impatient with getting to the solution getting to the answer versus hanging out in the question and being willing to kind of wait a minute. Is this really something that has to be resolved immediately? And so and this is Chris. Rica’s well brandon. I can so relate to you in the relationship dynamics with the Susan I dislike. Oh my gosh. She’s going to be mad at me. She’s mad at me and I think this idea of tolerating That uncertainty and so what? I noticed that I could do because I can be quite driven and I want to get it. Resolved is I can say I could just reveal that like right now. I just want a solution and it’s really hard to hang out so just dropping into that vulnerable. What is true for me right now? It lessens the pressure of having to get it done by just acknowledging yeah and I mean those are great points they really are and I think that there isn’t always a solution and sometimes the argument doesn’t make you feel great in the moment but I do. I think I’m really hung up on finding a solution always but I appreciate that perspective of And both of us. Yeah of hanging out in the question and you know even just saying to yourself. I’m letting go of solutions right now. So I can show up and be here right now. I it reminds me of course not that it’s a panacea but it does seem that. Mindfulness practices apply in almost every situation. Jute Not that. It’s going to solve the issue but really help you to tune in.
00:20:04 – 00:25:02
I I would agree. I think that even just a few minutes helps and also in the midst of conflict argument in our relationship I find it flooded and when I’m flooded With emotions and with thoughts and all these sorts of things. I have a very hard time staying. focused on what the either the problem is. The argument is like I have to really work hard on remembering. Hey what are we fighting about? No really like what’s this argument about because I’m so either. In the past it was concerned with justifying my position. Validating my position finding a solution giving us like jess solutions and none of those necessarily are what is needed sometimes. Just said and I’ve learned I need to shut up. Just shut up and listen and I’m not criticizing myself. I’m just saying listen to what the person has to say rather than worry about defending my position. Now you talk about in your book the fact that conflict could be the secret ingredient to happy relationships. Can you explain to us why we should lean into conflict or rethink the way we view conflict? You know so often in relationships you know we get into them from the romance side of it but really romance is really just a a relationship with my imagination. It’s really got nothing to do with the other person. At that point it feels great and it is a little bit like being on a drug but in until you start to realize. Wait a minute this person. Imagine you have to kind of interrupt that and it’s GonNa create tension because this person who I wanted to be. This way isn’t the way I want them so I start to try to do little things to manipulate them and get them up there with a little bit of time. She’s GonNa come around and she’ll you know for me it was you know. I got had a romance. Chris Murray being an Olympic athlete and I was so excited we were going to do all these outdoor activities together. Do this do that. That no this is not she was an Olympian great athlete but not outdoorsy and I. I keep projecting that onto her. It created tension. And that’s where you know it’s like we had to talk about our differences and that’s what made it you know made us much more made our relationship much richer and so often and the I am just trying to be what I think. You want me to be working. Hard to be who Susan. I did the tandem bike ride and I was miserable on it. You know in our in our honeymoon period and so we’re not bringing ourselves forward. There’s a cost me when I don’t bring myself forward and show up. I can’t I am so much more relaxed in this relationship and have so much more aliveness in it. Because I’m willing to say wait a minute. This doesn’t fit for me or this is what I like and I don’t like and so often I when I coach I typically coach into individuals who are struggling in their relationships. And they’re trying so hard to please the other person or be what the They think the other person wants and they’re not even willing to risk speaking up when I first started coaching with them. Like wait a minute. I don’t want I don’t WanNa live on the coast. I want to live in the mountains. Whatever it is and when you can It’s the reason it’s so powerful as I get to be me and and hold that tension and we get to find out more about each other in that edge of contact when we’re having those different opinions and it sounds to me that this really to me it aligns with this anti romance anti toxic monogamy notion that you can fulfil all of your partners desires and needs and if we could let go of that so many of us could go out of business which would be great because I really. That’s why we got into this business. I mean to me I it was never a business to begin with but you get into this field because you want to help people and it just makes so much sense to me. Now you talk in your book about passion and how. Conflict and passion are related. How you can bring back the spark that’s been missing. What insight or advice you offer to people who are looking to get that passion back. Well I mean one. The the biggest thing Christie’s writing me and my biggest thing is the thing I will. The biggest thing is risk saying what you think might actually end the relationship and that is a really threatening thing for most people but if I have a real hard time with Or even you know those people that want to do poly-amorous actually risk saying this is what I want now. Then we have a conversation to see. If that’s actually going to happen. That would be a big one or risk the risk saying. I’m not sure I’m happy in this relationship and I was terrified to say it. I can only say it once. We got out of our routine and on vacation and then we were.
00:25:02 – 00:30:00
You know the we digested it and we found a whole bunch more. I found a whole bunch more juice in my life and then that trans translated to the relationship but so often were holding back. What really Is True for us. Because we’re scared the other person’s going to abandon us in that truth right and life is so short. I think about this in the big picture. for example opening up a relationship. If that’s your truth. Imagine being stifled for a year. Ten Years Twenty years lifetime or something smaller like a sexual fantasy feeling stifled that. You can’t bring that up Maybe not because you think it would end the relationship but you believe it would do the relationship some damage so I really appreciate the perspective of taking the risk and saying things that might upset your partner that might cause damage that could even lead to its dissolution. But you because eventually if you’re thinking it and wanting it believing it it’s going to come out if not in your words than in if we go back to the beginning of your conversation then in resentment And so often. Resentment people resent their partner but nine times out of ten resentment is always assigned that. I am not doing what I want to do. In need to help define. It’s always about something I’m not saying. And it’s so easy to make it about the other person that we can get stuck there and you know passionate aliveness really comes when I show up fully and brisk even so many times I’ve worked with couples where someone gets interested outside of the relationship and then the partner gets jealous and then the Kentucky and I’m like you know fact that your partner is actually excited. An interesting somebody is cool thing. You should be interested in that and talk about it because it’s going to bring more aliveness into your relationship. It’s you know it’s natural to have attractions now. If you don’t ever talk about them with your partner then they do. Hey mine undermine and take you outside of the relationship right and become more powerful and shrouded in shame and secrecy. They actually get more exciting when you don’t bring them up. I love that. So how do we have people? How DO WE SHIFT OUR PERSPECTIVES? If we’ve been holding something in and we we want to open up and then the flip side if you are the partner and your partner’s coming to you with something new in your first inclination is to blow up. How do you kind of take a breath and calm yourself down? Maybe we start with the first part. How do I force myself to open up? If I’ve been accustomed and I don’t think we can discount how age and gender and race and all the other pieces of our identity affect whether or not we believe we are entitled to a voice I for sure will have typically been the partner that has kept things back and so we teach couples workshops and we always demonstrate abounding experience. Which is usually so seasons like okay. I don’t know what you’re gonNA bring up now and I usually have something and so and I talk about. Hey this is what’s really going on for me and it’s It takes courage and and she is a partner. That has a hot temper so she’s likely to have a negative reaction and it’s What I’ve started to just cultivate. Is this the sense inside of me and this is just I think for my own work because bring up things at home growing up in my family it was violent? So it scary and I’ve cultivated enough now. We’ve been together twenty years that I’m not GonNa get hurt and it’s okay and tolerating against self soothing and saying I’m I’m worried you’re gonNA blow up or a comfortable that you are but I also think starting with little things like talking about how you learned about what you learn about conflict what you learned about communication on your family’s like we will often encourage couples do five five five around something like that. I and gradually began. This five by five is also a way to begin to build up the capacity that have more difficult or challenging conversations but start smaller seats kind of work in a muscle. You kind of have to be willing to kind of do some of the early training so you get better at it and then you can take riskier topic. I like that and I realized that you’ve also written a more general book the beauty of conflict for and you this relates to more people in corporate environments and other types of relationship. So is five Fi- five in these different approaches. You’re using do. They apply in in different types of relationships. You know in our in our beauty of conflict book for I cut short handed for teams. It’s more using like we have a communication model like check it out but we do talk about the power of listening you can do a five five five in a business usually at best with One on one. You know if you’ve got an issue with somebody it’s a little bit harder. Although you could do a two two all around the team table topic you know you could adapt it that way. I like that really.
00:30:01 – 00:35:00
Yeah making space for people to be heard yes is key. I appreciate it. Well I think I always the reason I ask. I was thinking about how communication for couples applies in the workplace and vice versa. And I’m I’m always encouraging couples to take their business acumen and their business strategies and approaches and and Formulas and see how it might apply in their relationships and really invest. So I highly encourage people to to check out these books. So the beauty of conflict for couples and your website is thrive INC DOT COM. And so yeah encourage people to continue to read to learn more. I definitely want to read your book as well so we really thank you for being here today. So much appreciated will be sure to share your book and your website in the show notes. Big so much. I also have some questions from listeners. So many people write in with questions about fighting and arguing and this one this person asks how do we stop having the same fight over and over again and I think we’ve all run into this at different points in our lives? I do think that sometimes we fight just because we’re tents about something else and then we find something kind of light or innocuous to fight about to relieve the tension but I also think one of the other challenge is is that we dig in and we’ve fought so hard over and over again that we just WANNA be right right. We WanNa win and rather than wanting to win or wanting your partner to come over to your side. I have these three questions. I use to kind of guide arguments in maybe a more outcome driven perspective. I guess this is sort of contradictory to what Chris Marion. Susan were saying because it is outcome driven. But it’s just a different perspective One number one. What am I hoping to get out of this argument number two? What am I willing to do to produce this outcome and number three? What do I want to ask if my partner and I think a lot of times? S- we skip over number one so we don’t even know what we want. We skip over number two. Because if I’m pissed off how could it possibly be my own fault right? I look for external sources and we go straight to. This is what I want from you. Come on just you know. Hear what I’m saying and I’m not saying there’s not the limited validity to that. Sometimes I do just want to be heard but if you can think about what am I hoping to get out of this argument? What am I personally willing to do to produce this outcome? And if you can’t come up with a bunch of things that you can do don’t even go to number three zero two group point and ask and ask your partner what they can do. I and another person assist kind of a similar question. How can we cut back on the daily bickering that has been weighing down our relationship for years? And and that’s interesting you know. It’s not uncommon to find yourselves bickering. Little things or nonsense and sometimes we fight about little things to stave off larger conflicts. But sometimes we use them as a distraction to avoid having the tough conversations so we fight about you know where we put the milk carton or he knows who left their towel on the floor instead of really considering whether or not there are underlying issues that we’ve been avoiding like the big conversations that perhaps we’ve been side-stepping about finances or in-laws or sex so much tension around sex also understanding that those conversations have aren’t gonNa feel good like that’s being prepared for that and being prepared to listen. You made reference in the conversation with Chris Murray and Susan about I think not always I mean feeling good after a fight like you’ve found resolution. Sometimes I don’t feel good after a fight and understanding that taking that break that you know the five five at the two like listening to what the other person has decided being aware that it might make you feel crappy and then reflecting on what was said so that when I do come back. I can come back with a proactive way to find again. If there’s resolution that I’m seeking trying to find resolution with like a level head and then knowing that I hope to feel better after in the future big yeah and maybe even if it’s not resolution I do like standing right. I think I’d like the language of understanding even if we don’t agree we there’s a better understanding of of where you’re coming from and with bickering. I do think sometimes you have to look at. What are the bigger things that we’re avoiding? Here what are we sidestepping in order to just fight about the nonsense and if you can’t find any big underlying issues Of which I guess the bickering could be the symptom. I go back to my ninety nine role which is if I’m lucky enough to live to be ninety nine years old. Will this still matter? I love the idea of talking about the bickering. Because I think when you start talking but all the things that bother you it’s amazing. How some of those things can be very insignificant leading to your ninety nine rule. You’re like M.
00:35:00 – 00:40:02
I really upset that you always leave the dishes in the sink or the cup. It’s like yeah I am and yes. I’d love for you to stop doing it. Could you please stop doing the dishes? And this just making reference were. It’s like could you please stop doing it and you know what if I have to do this? But I’ve said my piece and we’ve tried to find some resolution to this action. That’s bothering me. Then hopefully either get fixed or you know again. Maybe you thought about it being a little bit silly in the grand scheme of things for sure downplaying people’s bickering. No but sometimes in the heat of the moment I think I really Wanna point to land and then you know if I was telling it to a friend. Retelling the story of this fight. I would feel like such a tool bag and I’d be like Oh. Yeah I’m an idiot and that happens all the time when you and I argue the next day. I’m like yeah okay. I’m an idiot or that was my fault. And in the heat of the moment because I’m physiologically flooded because my heart is beating because I’m breathing faster than normal. I just can’t clear my head and that actually goes back to something. We talked about last week when feeling anxious. What I’m trying to do now is rather than working through the anxiety cognitively rather than trying to think about it more realistically. I’m just posted focusing on the physical. I taking a few deep breaths and focus on on the physical manifestations of anxiety and I think we could do the same thing in fights. It’s interesting I think you like breaks during fight fights more than me were arguments. Is that not always? I know that I need the brakes though. We’ll know it I get flooded and sometimes we’re in an argument and I’m like I don’t even remember what we’re fighting about or why I’m irritated but somehow I’m defending a position about something that I said that I don’t even remember if it relates to the argument from the beginning so those those breaks really do help me come back with a clear mind right and I. I’m more resistant to them online. No let’s do this now and so I’ve had to really learn that when you wanna walk away you need to walk away and you’ve been one thing I said to you. I remember a long time ago. Was that if you need to walk away. Can you tell me how long you need not that you have to stick to it but like I? There’s probably this fear that you’re walking away forever or walking away overnight as opposed to just walking away for fifteen minutes or two hours not using it as a strategy or as an as a manipulative tool in an argument to make the other person feel uncomfortable. Right and I think that’s an important differentiation between withdrawing from a conversation and refusing to engage and saying. This isn’t the right time for me. I need to go get ahead space or you might even have something to do. I know that I see couples. Get angry at each other because one person for example has a meeting and they’re like well isn’t this relationship more important than the meeting. Okay yeah of course the relationships more important but this relationship can be put on hold for an hour long meeting. Especially you know if you’ve had that meeting confirmed for weeks on the calendar so. I’m not saying that that’s always the case. Okay like I know that we have a tendency to personalise Scenarios and stories. But this doesn’t mean that you should never cancel the meeting right. If it’s a really big you know if somebody just had an interaction where there was a severe breach of trust or somebody’s really hurting of course can cancel meeting. But you can’t always expect to get the the answers from your partner right here right now when I want it and saying this matters to me this matters to me. I WANNA resolve it. Can we do it in one hour or thirty minutes? You’re so good at that. One thing that you you’ve always made me feel from the very beginning of this relationship and it can’t even think of the exact language you use but I think it’s something along the lines of I wanNA work on this like. I’m I’m committed to working on this. What is the language? Us I think that is it. I do. I express? Don’t circus typically a want to work on it is you say okay you say like. I want to make this work and so no matter. What’s going on between us? You’re expressing to me that you’re committed to this and you’ve been like that man since the beginning of when we matt yet. I don’t know where that came from but I also know that it’s a desire. I know that greater things will come of working through a problem. I think I have taken that approach everywhere and sometimes it is so hard to remember that. And that’s why I’m guilty of having had having had done the walkaway with not giving a timeframe for how long I’m going to be gone and using it as a tool to position myself in an argument but but these things I’ve learned over time and now I just know if I’m trying to fix this I need five or ten minutes. I need to walk around the block. I just need to think about things and while I’m doing that on that walk I’m thinking about what you said I’m thinking about why I’m angry and I think about how we’re GonNa fix this well and we’re fixing it together. It’s this team thing as opposed to again getting them on your side like we’re one team we’re not too and a another piece that.
00:40:02 – 00:41:21
I’m sure I’ve talked about before that I know. Every therapist and expert disagrees with. But we’ve resolved a lot of issues over text. Yeah we definitely have And again communication is key. Like what am I saying to you in my text and you get to reread it edit. Now let me be clear. I know it doesn’t work for everyone. I know that it lacks tone and nuance and you might put the wrong Emoji like I. I don’t think my mom knows what an eggplant is. So I couldn’t. I couldn’t resolve a text issue with her. No but that has worked for us. It doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and I think that’s the bottom line that with all these different perspectives. Nothing Has Gospel. You have to figure out what works for your knee for for you and what works. Today may not work in a week right. It can change over time so you know be open to to new approaches and also going easy on yourself again. I know it’s a rough time. Let’s all go easy on one another so I’m GONNA stop there. We’re back twice a week now. Not For long. Normally we release on Fridays. But we’re also releasing on Tuesdays right now so make sure you subscribe and share and check us out on social media. I’m sex with Dr. Jefferson Brandon is verity brandon. You’re listening to the sex with Dr Jess podcast. Improve your sex life improve your life.