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Lawrence E. Kincade, Ph.D., LCSW > Fair-Fighting

  • Be specific when you introduce a problem or concern. 
  • Don't just complain, no matter how specifically.  Ask for a reasonable change that will address one concern at a time.
  • Confine yourself to one issue at a time.  Otherwise, without professional guidance, you may skip back and forth, evading the hard ones.
  • Always consider compromise.  Remember, your partner's view of reality is just as real as yours, even though you may differ.  There are no totally objective realities.
  • Don't allow counter-complaints to enter the picture until the original complaints are clearly understood, and there has been a clear-cut response to them.
  • Never assume you know what your partner is thinking until you have "checked-out" that assumption in plain language.  Never assume or predict how your partner will react, or what your partner will accept or reject.
  • Never put labels on your partner's feelings, especially about whether or not they are real or important.
  • Sarcasm is dirty fighting.
  • Forget the past unless you are clarifying your feelings regarding a specific incident.  Remember, the past is to be learned from, not to be lived in.
  • What either of you did last year or last month is not as important as what you are doing and feeling now.  The changes you request cannot possibly be retroactive.  Hurts, grievances and irritations should be brought up at the earliest moment.  Otherwise, your partner may suspect that they may have been saved carefully as weapons.