The big question in any conflict is:
Are you looking for a fight or trying to make things right?
If you are looking for a fight in a troubled, or even in a relatively calm, relationship, you'll likely find it. You can, though, change your focus to trying to make things right with a little relationship help.
Recently, a couple was in a Co-parenting for Divorced Couples class with me. The fellow was regaling how they send text messages back and forth that get progressively more unpleasant. They recalled one interchange, almost pleased with themselves, in which she called him a "deadbeat Dad" to which he answered, "You're a fat cow!" When I asked about this way of communicating and what they were getting out of it. The man replied that it was childish but it was fun. He even had a mischievious look on his face as he said it. He said he enjoyed their insult exchanges and here's the kicker: he said if she started it, he'd be sure and finish it, with flourish!
HE LOVED THE FIGHT! And, to add to it, the woman was unwilling to see her passive-aggressive tendencies, egging him on and then making him wrong for being upset!
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
We have to be entirely honest with ourselves about looking for a fight. Some people feel powerful when they can get under another's skin and push them to lose control, just like the passive-aggressive woman above. It's nasty, but some find it satisfying, it seems. How about you?
If you take responsibility for what you're up to when you have a conflict with your partner, that is the beginning of positive change. You can, with a few skills and a lot of honesty, shift from looking for a fight to trying to make things right.
FOR YOU: Take the Relationship Checklist to get great insights into your current relationship. Then, if you're ready, let's work together to create the healthiest, loving relationship ever for the two of you. Don't live in San Diego? No worries, we can meet through Skype video from wherever you are! Or, join in my 8-week small group coaching program, The Relationship Dialogues: Better Than Before! Talk soon.