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How to Fight Fairly

In any relationship worth having conflict is bound to arise.  The true test of the relationship is whether or not you feel that it is worthwhile to resolve these conflicts and if you are able to do so in a fair and objective way.  Key elements to fighting fairly include sticking to the issue at hand, being open to listening to the other person, not involving others in the fight, not bringing up old issues and finally being willing to accept responsibility and let it go when the fight is over. 

It’s important to know what you are fighting over and to stick to that issue in the argument.  If you allow things to build up over time and then explode with many grievances at once neither you nor the person you are fighting with will have a clear understanding of what the issue is or why you are fighting.  It is important to address each issue as they arise to alleviate resentment and fighting that does not have a clear focus.  Sticking to one specific issue in a fight is the fair way to fight and it’s also the most successful way to fight.  If both parties involved have a clear understanding of why they are fighting you are much more likely to reach a mutually amicable resolution. 

Listening is a very important component of fighting fairly.  It is imperative to allow the other person to offer their side of the argument.  Fighting without listening will not be effective because it does not allow you to be open to the other person’s opinions and justifications.  The other person may have a very valid reason for their actions but if you are only interested in what you have to say and are unwilling to listen you will not hear their point of view.  Another aspect of listening is to really understand what the other person is saying.  It’s very easy to not hear the intent of a person’s message.  In a fight you want to actively clarify the other person’s statements and give them the opportunity to affirm or negate your interpretation of their argument.  Listening attentively and understanding the other person’s argument is a very effective and fair way to fight. 

Bringing others into a fight is not a fair way to fight.  It is important that the fight take place between those directly involved and that neither party elicits the help of friends or family members to validate their position.  It doesn’t matter how many other people agree with you, that does not necessarily make you right, so don’t involve others in your fight.  This is not only not fair to your partner but it is also not fair to those who are dragged into the argument.  While you may have many people who agree with you and believe you are right, bringing them into the fight just isn’t fair and also isn’t effective. 

In a fair fight it is also important to not bring up old issues.  A fair fight will remain focused and bringing up the past distracts from the current issues and also sends the message that the past has not been forgotten.  If you partner feels that you are bringing up old issues, he may begin to feel as if the current fight is not worth fighting because it will not be forgotten.  If you convey the message that you are not willing to forgive and forget you are not fighting fairly because your partner will feel as though the argument is no longer worthwhile.  Also, bringing up old issues is not fair because they are not relevant to the current fight.  A fair fight is clearly focused on a current conflict without dredging up old issues. 

Another key tactic for fighting fairly is to be willing to accept responsibilities for your own actions and be willing to reach a resolution and move on from the argument.  Those who fight fairly are prepared to concede the fact that they may lose the argument.  Losing the argument means either that you admit that you were solely to blame in the situation or that you are unable to convince the other person of your argument.  What is important in a fair fight is not who is right or who is wrong but that the couple is able to reach an amicable agreement and that they are both able to progress and leave the fight in the past. 

Fighting fairly is crucial in a healthy relationship.  Disagreements are natural and resolving them in a fair way is imperative to a thriving relationship.  Not fighting fairly is indicative of a relationship that is not healthy.  A fair fight however incorporates the key elements of focus, listening and resolution without involving third parties in the fight.  A fair fight is also left in the past after resolution.  Fair fighting leads to resolution in most cases.

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