Man in current civilization has few hazards to deal with. Most of us are safe from predators (if you’re not, you’re reading the wrong how-to article), we don’t have to worry about the plague, and we can buy a grass-fed steak from Whole Foods without having to sharpen a spear and trek out into the savannah. One danger that has stood the test of time is females of our species. Particularly when it comes to fighting. Most men do not know how to argue properly.
As many probably do, I grew up believing that conflict of any kind was evil. If a man and a woman are arguing, their relationship must be dysfunctional. The reality is, while fighting isn’t necessarily a good thing, it is a mark of some level of intimacy. You don’t get into yelling matches with the barista at Starbucks (if you do, again, you’re reading the wrong how-to), you fight with people you’re close with. A fight itself is intimate. Both parties are taking off their polite masks to let their true emotions pour out. Conflict can be a catalyst for intimacy.
Relationship arguments are the hottest because there is the most potential there. Fighting with a woman you care about doesn’t have to be a hazard. It’s actually an opportunity for deeper intimacy (and really hot make-up sex.) Follow these guidelines next time you argue with your woman and have her love you for it.
First, remember that it’s a game
An argument is a game in the most basic sense. Two players, you and her, act to affect and be at the effect of the other. Actually the argument is a small game within a much larger game that is your relationship, in whatever capacity. Even larger is the game you play with women as a whole, which only a certain caliber of man knows how to play.
To “play” doesn’t necessarily mean to take it lightly, it means to respond to every moment and let it take its course as opposed to treating it as “work.” Instead of trying to make something happen, just try to keep the ball in the air. You might even find arguing to be fun.
Listen to Her Emotions Before Her Words
Many guys in an argument get caught in the trap of pointing out holes in her logic. Relationship arguments are emotional, not logical. Trying to prove her wrong factually is the wrong game. Even if you win, you lose.
Your argument is probably of some nonsense anyway. It’s quite rare that an argument between lovers is over something that actually matters. Beneath the story and circumstance you’ll see all arguments are some sort of emotional request.
For instance, once a woman told me something to the effect of “You’re not man enough to handle me.” I had the immediately impulse to say something mean back or cite instances proving that I was too man enough, but that would have missed the point. What she really was communicating was “I feel scared that you might not really care about me so I’m going to challenge your ego till you prove it.” By ignoring the mean words and responding to her desire for more affection, we were able to get closer rather than hurt each other further.
Instead of focusing on facts, focus on how she feels. Ask yourself, what is she really asking for? Behind every complaint, is a request.
Let Her Feel Your Vulnerability
Women want to feel you emotionally. This concept is foreign to most men, and unexplainable by most women. It’s simple really. Imagine how fun a movie would be if you were blindfolded; or concert with earplugs in, or sex if you couldn’t touch. Kind of robs you of experience huh?
Emotions are the most important sense for women, especially in relationships. Let her know your true feelings. Most of my relational arguments have smoothed out by me admitting that I was feeling jealous or insecure in some way. By dropping your persona and letting your true emotions be felt, you give her permission to stop being on the offensive and be vulnerable herself.
Most unpleasant conflict occurs through the personas anyway. Your persona is shield you use to protect your tender self. Paradoxically it provides a hard surface for hurtful words to hit against. By softening and being real, you remove the target for attack and you can connect on a deeper level.
Allow Her to Be Out of Control
Too many guys rush to fix the problem. The problem is rarely the problem. Sometimes there actually is no problem. Sometimes a woman just needs to feel whatever feelings are coming up despite how irrational they may seem.
In such a case, your role in the argument is to allow her to feel safe to feel and express whatever wants to come out of her. It’s a lot less abstract than it sounds. It’s really what you don’t do here that matters. Most men are conditioned to “save” a woman who isn’t happy; most women are conditioned to play into that as a “damsel-in-distress.” In such case, both people end up playing into self-limiting roles. Don’t do that. Just shut up and listen.
Beam Your Attention on Her
The underlying cause of most arguments with a woman is that she doubts your presence, your ability to have your attention on her. Perhaps rightfully so. How often do you think other things while she’s talking? How truly interested in her are you when you text? What is the quality of your attention on her? She can feel it. (When a woman is asking for more “quality time” she’s usually really asking for better quality attention.) She wants to know that you’re there mentally and emotionally.
Blast her with your attention so that she has no doubt. This requires no planning and no context. Pay attention to her with as much precision as your senses can allow. Melt her with your vision. Notice every detail you can about her, especially how she feels. This tends to feel good in itself. The longer you sustain it, the easier it gets and the more she opens.
Play the Benevolent Villain
The two of you got connected and are now arguing for a reason. We attract people who piss us off so we can work through our conditioning. That’s why many people have recurring patterns with exes.
Give her a dose of reality. Some of my most intense arguments have required me to call out how she is pretending to be a victim, being deceptive, or acting co-dependent. It’s scary to say such things and will initially stir things up further, but they will save you grief in the long run. If you don’t mention the elephant in the room it will fester as resentment and become a bigger deal that is has to be.
This doesn’t mean saying random hurtful things just to get a rise from her. It means telling the truth and being empathetic. You know you’re doing it right when you can feel what she feels. That’s how you get to grow together. She may never explicitly thank you for it, but it’s the kindest thing you can do. Be the man who is so dedicated to her freedom that you are willing to be seen as an asshole temporarily.
Break the 4th Wall
In film and theater the “4th wall” is the direction from where the audience views the actors who are oblivious to being watched. When an actor leaves the reality of the scene to talk to the audience, he “breaks” that wall.
At any time you can acknowledge the argument from outside the reality of the argument. For instance, if she hits you with an extremely mean comment you can pause and say “Wow, that was a good one.” Breaking the wall acknowledges that the bigger game of your relationship with her is more important and to be taken more seriously than any little conflict. You demonstrate your sense of humor and breadth of attention even in the heat of an argument.
Love Her No Matter What
The real game with a woman goes far beyond a single argument, or any single event for that matter. By loving and approving of her no matter what, you can move from conflict to conflict without getting stuck on any of them.
The beauty is that with enough love and approval, what you do and what you say doesn’t matter. As long as you’re connected, you can fight all out and make up afterwards. The only thing that ever really feels bad is disconnection.