Written by Giselle Bella
Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the third in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.
Every couple has quarrels, disagreements, disputes, clashes, arguments and even fights. What sets a healthy relationship apart from an unhealthy one is, how they fight. Take a moment and think about the word, ‘fight.’ What comes to mind? Immediately you are thinking something negative and probably even something combative. Actually, if you stop using the word, “fight” and replace it with another word, then you may see a different effect. Doesn’t it sound better when a friends asks, “What is the matter?” and you simply reply, “we had a disagreement?” Sounds even better and lightens the mood.
So, yes, I believe you don’t have to fight to be fair. Isn’t that some sort of oxymoron? Fair Fight. If you are fair, you won’t have to fight. I know it sounds simple but difficult to do. Or so it seems. The best way to avoid quarrels and clashes is to understand your partner and most of all, understand you. Here are some tips on how to fight fairly:
Learn what your triggers are in a relationship, any relationship. Be observant and aware of what your partner’s triggers are. Triggers can be anything that cause upset and are different for everyone. If you are able and willing to get into a relationship after knowing what each other’s triggers are, then you must be willing to do the work to avoid hitting those hot buttons. Once you are aware of what triggers you, then it is time to communicate together and put in place plans that will support you if ever and whenever boundaries are crossed.
Ah, yes, boundaries. Have them. Keep them. Respect them. Importantly, respect the boundaries of your partner. Be knowledgeable of what crossing a boundary with her looks like. Once you are familiar with each other and know each other’s dos and don’ts, then you have a lucid comprehension of your boundaries. Therefore, when one of you says, “you’ve crossed the boundary with me.” Stop (both of you) immediately and process that. Be still for a moment and then take your time speaking in turns.
When speaking in turns, make your point and allow her to make hers then respect her point of view. Just because your glass is half-full doesn’t mean it’s not half empty to her. Therefore, comprehend that your differences include your way of viewing things. If you find that this is more rough than easy to do, then put in place a timer system. When you notice that making your point is going nowhere or going somewhere harsh, set a time. You both must agree to this. As your relationship grows you may outgrow the timer. Then you will notice that you actually ‘take the time’ to hear each other out and listen and wait your turn before jumping in. Also, when she becomes aware that you are listening to her, she then begins to pay attention, even to herself.
Pay attention. Pay attention to what she says to you and most importantly pay attention to what you say and what your response is. You will notice that in being still and listening to her rationale, you may be presented with a third point of view and even a common ground. Pay attention to her body language. Did you just say something that made her shut down? How is her body moving and positioned? How did her facial expression change? Paying attention to these things and more, will give you an insight on where the disagreement is going and how to proceed. Shutting down may look like sudden silence, crossed arms, mood change and others alike. It may be something said or done or just the situation, but watch how she interprets the emotions and be aware of your emotions.
Emotions may be falsely interpreted. Therefore, do not get wrapped up in playing volunteer or victim. This means, say what you really mean. Do your best to speak from a place of love rather than fear and anger. You can be honest without being condemnatory and callous. Speak without being fainthearted and coy.
Ask for permission. If you have to convey to your partner how you feel about her and a specific situation, ask for permission to be honest. When you ask for permission, not only is the person allowing you to share your feelings but also they are opening themselves to receive it. When you ask for permission, you become aware that you are sharing honestly, therefore you remember to share from a place of love.
When your partner honestly shares something with you, do your best not to let it to consume you. Remember that this is her interpretation and/or point of view. The more you listen and the more you communicate in turns, the more you will know and figure out if it is something you must work on as a couple or individually. If it requires personal work and not couple work, then allow yourself the time you or your partner needs alone. Do not impose on her if she requests time alone. Once you’ve expressed your emotions, allow her time to process.
You allow her time by letting go and letting love direct you. Don’t be pushy about what you want and don’t want. Refrain from repeating yourself. You definitely will not be heard if you keep saying the same thing over-and-over. As cliché as this may sound, communication is supportive to a healthy relationship. That includes all supportive forms of communication such as talking, writing, body expressions, facial expressions and hand and body gestures. Communicate with love and from the heart. Communicate together rather from wanting to be heard. Communicate honestly.
Choose your words wisely. Refrain from saying, “I am not trying to fight with you.” Replace that with, “I want to communicate how I currently feel/view the situation or what I currently understand.” Instead of, “you make me feel…” use, “I feel…I view…My emotions.” Change phrases such as, “What you said was…” choose, “What I heard you say is…” Do not point the finger, remember that your perception is your interpretation of what happened, not necessarily what happened.
My love to you,
Giselle “Gia” Bella is a 30-something woman living in Baltimore. As The Love Goddess for Black Lesbian Love Lab, she happily shares her ideas for finding and keeping your lady love. She wrote the Autumn Falls web series for Topp Bottom and published several books, including Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Love Stories and Gietic II: Love and Loss.