: 22 August 2013

Why Men & Women Fight, & How to Resolve It

Fights are the demise of relationships. We all would love to skip over this aspect of intimacy, however when it comes to romantic love, fighting is part of the deal. In fact, the deeper the connection you have with someone, the more vulnerable you are with them, and the more likely you’re going to feel hurt from time to time.
So if we can’t avoid fighting altogether, how do we do it in a way that results in the least amount of damage? That’s what I’m going to talk about today.

I’d like to start with an excerpt from John Gray’s classic book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus:

“When we are upset, disappointed, frustrated or angry it is difficult to communicate lovingly. When negative emotions come up, we tend momentarily to lose our loving feelings of trust, caring, understanding, acceptance, appreciation, and respect. At such times, even with the best intentions, talking turns into fighting. In the heat of the moment, we do not remember how to communicate in a way that works for our partners.

At times like these, women unknowingly tend to blame men and make them feel guilty for their actions. Instead of remembering that her partner is doing the best he can, a woman could assume the worst and sound critical and resentful. When she feels a surge of negative feelings, it is especially difficult for a woman to speak in a trusting, accepting, and appreciative way. She doesn’t realize how negative and hurtful her attitude is to her partner. 

When men become upset, they tend to become judgmental of women and women’s feelings. Instead of remembering that his partner is vulnerable and sensitive, a man may forget her needs and sound mean and uncaring. When he feels a surge of negative feelings, it is especially difficult for him to speak in a caring, understanding, and respectful way. He doesn’t realize how hurtful his negative attitude is to her.” 

John Gray describes the typical predicament that men and women find themselves in when they fight. Women tend to assume the worst and blame; men become judgmental and dismiss or criticize her feelings. This isn’t fun for anyone.

How can we fight in a more productive way, so no one gets (too) hurt? Here are some suggestions of what you can do when things get heated with your love:

For women: 

1) Give him the benefit of the doubt & assume he doesn’t know what you need. 

Ladies, sometimes he just doesn’t get it. It’s true! I don’t say this to be demeaning; I say it because it’s real.

Women will assume the worst and believe that a man’s intentionally being hurtful, when actually he’s just in the dark. A man who doesn’t know what you need is not the same thing as a man who doesn’t care!

We expect men to be as emotionally attuned to us as we are to them, and this is a false expectation. We also expect them to be mind-readers, and they’re not.

If your man screws up, it very likely it’s because he doesn’t know what you need from him, or he doesn’t know how important something is to you.

2) Tell him what you need. 

You have to spell it out for him (in a nice way…a bitchy tone will not get you what you’re looking for). I know you don’t want to, but if you don’t, you’re at the risk of him not understanding how to take care of you. Here are some things you can say:

“Honey, I feel really vulnerable right now and I was wondering if you could just hold me.” 

“I feel scared right now and it would feel really good to be near you.” 

“I’m having a hard time and I would like it if you would call to check in on me today.” 

We forget that men want to take care of us, they just need to know how. If you calmly and kindly tell him what would feel good, it’s likely he’ll respond to your request.

For men: 

1) Don’t devalue her feelings and don’t expect it not to happen again.

Look guys, she’s going to hit emotional bottoms. She’s going to get unruly from time to time. This is the feminine way. When you criticize her emotions, they just get worse.

Don’t try to rationalize with her. Don’t try to talk her out of it. Definitely don’t tell her that her feelings are wrong.

Instead, try to be as loving, kind, and supportive as possible, knowing that doing so is the fastest way she will soothe. This leads to the best case scenario for both of you.

2) Remember when negative emotions arise, she feels unloved. 

Fellas, I don’t think you know how much power you have. You can heal your woman by simply conveying to her that you are here now, and you are willing to love her through whatever she’s going through.

You can’t imagine how far this will go with a woman. If you simply, for a moment, drop out of your mind and into your heart, she’ll melt into comfort in your presence.

A tip for both people: Do not initiate long, drawn-out conversations when emotions are running high. This does not work! The time to talk is when both of you have calmed down and are back to a loving state.

The bottom line is this: None of us like fighting. We all just want to love and be loved. But fights are a natural, healthy aspect of relationships. We can’t avoid them, so we have to learn to deal with them in a way that works for everyone involved.

The next time a fight starts to stir, ask yourself how you can be more understanding with your partner, so you can return to a good feeling state as quickly as possible.

This takes practice! But that’s the point of relationships anyway: to give us opportunities to learn how to be the most loving people we can be.

In the comments below, please share the techniques that you use to resolve fights in your relationship. Thank you!


  1. Lydia on August 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    thanks, Shelly!!

  2. Riz on August 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I couldn’t stop fighting and now I lost the woman I still love, she just couldn’t see how I craved the same feelings she got from her friends 🙁

  3. Dave on August 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Excellent advice Shelly: “You can heal your woman by simply conveying to her that you are here now, and you are willing to love her through whatever she’s going through.” Us guys try to solve the problems, but negative emotions can’t be solved. I’m learning to be a good listener 🙂

  4. Frances L. Wellington on August 24, 2013 at 6:18 am

    The art of ‘gentility’… a lady asserts herself with grace, dignity and good humour when under fire. She does not retreat when ignorance comes to the fore. She has a clear mind, a clear intention, a clear understanding of what needs to be conveyed…and a clear voice. In this way she never disgraces herself. She wins respect, adoration and admiration from her suitor in the longer term. This is the path of moderation in transformation.

    • Fourmy on August 26, 2013 at 2:24 am

      I like this.

  5. Fourmy on August 26, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Ugh. I am at the point right now with my man that I do not want to look at, speak to, or reason with him. He has apologized and confessed his love and his loyalty. But if one is not ready to accept and move on, the apology is either rejected or dismissed or both. Being human is to er. I am neither innocent nor perfect, so why do I impose such penalty on this man? Because he doesn’t think. Because he is foolish. Because it is all I can do right now.

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