210 - Take the Fight Out of Your Fights

Conflict is inevitable, but conflict can be productive. Everyone gets into fights and arguments but that doesn't mean your relationship is unhealthy or in trouble. On this episode, we talk about fighting fair instead of fighting dirty. Some of us fight with the misconception that we MUST win the fight to succeed. Sometimes we fight for no good reason at all. We take off the boxing gloves and talk about fighting best practices so you can make the most out of your arguments instead of keeping score or going for a TKO.

Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.

Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.

Please send us your feedback and questions to info@multiamory.com, find us on Instagram @Multiamory_Podcast, tweet at us @Multiamory, check out our Facebook Page, visit our website Multiamory.com, or you can leave us a voicemail at 678-MULTI-05. We love to hear from our listeners and we read every message.

Transcript

This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at info@multiamory.com and we will fix it ASAP.

Emily: Using those always or never statements can act as a big exaggeration of things. Like you always do this when we get together with your friends kind of thing, or you never say I love you when we're around your family or something like that. Just exaggerating something again using always or never statements to me are huge exaggerations and generally aren't at all true.

Jase: If you're happy with the same old ways of dating.

Dedeker: If you enjoy sucking at communication.

Jase: You have no desire to improve your romantic life, then our podcast might not be for you.

Dedeker: If you want some out of the box ideas to deepen your current relationships.

Emily: Broaden your sexual horizons.

Dedeker: Develop a better understanding of yourself.

Emily: Or learn more about non-monogamy.

Jase: Then you've come to the right place. I'm Jase.

Emily: I'm Emily.

Dedeker: I'm Dedeker.

Jase: This is the Multiamory podcast.

[music]

Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about how to take the fight out of your fights. Everyone gets into fights or arguments with the people that they're close to, but today we're going to talk about the difference between fighting fair and fighting dirty as well as some proactive steps you can take to dedirtify your arguments.

Dedeker: Yes. Get that dirt out of you. Clean up, shit out.

Emily: Wow. Yes, just scrub it out. Good.

Dedeker: Yes. Scrub it all up and down. I mean, honestly though, we've all fought dirty, haven't we?

Emily and Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: I mean, I know I have, I definitely have a long track record of fighting dirty. I still do sometimes. I think that I feel very fortunate in being regularly on a podcast where I talk about communication tools every week as well as helping people to-- Working with clients to dedirtify their communication. That at least helps me to catch myself I think a little bit faster when I know I'm slipping into some bullshit essentially, but--

Emily: Honestly, I'm really glad to hear that you do that sometimes too. That you're not completely perfect when it comes to your relationship, conflicts.

Dedeker: Emily, are you kidding me? Have you not talked to Jase? I thought for sure Jase will be the first person to throw me under the bus of not being perfect.

Emily: No. He is incredibly kind and giving and he's not going to throw you under the bus, no.

Dedeker: That's nice.

Emily: He's not like that. Yes.

Jase: Maybe a small bus.

Emily: The only--

Dedeker: Just a small bus.

Emily: The only time when I've ever seen you fight dirty is during our RADARs, during our scrums.

Dedeker: Our professional scrums. Three of us. Yes. Sometimes I fight dirtier in those than I do in my personal relationships sometimes which is weird.

Jase: Yes. Now I will say though, over the past, I guess by almost six years, Dedeker it's definitely changed. I think for both of us--

Dedeker: That's good. Yes, definitely for both of us.

Jase: Our ways of addressing conflicts, is--

Emily: It's gone better.

Jase: Yes. It's much less on just sort of winning at any cost, which is what I think a lot of us are taught fighting is and how it should be. You just want to be the one who's winning. Two, a much more constructive sort of thing, which I think has grown out of other stuff we talked about on the show like RADAR or nonviolent communication or other tools to help even prevent some of those or at least give a better space for having them.

I've definitely, I was thinking about that actually just the other day of just how night and day different that is from a few years ago when we would be upset or fighting about something.

Dedeker: Yes, definitely.

Emily: That's really great.

Dedeker: I want to give a little shout out call back to our episode 151, conflicts crush course.

Emily: Almost 60 episodes ago. That is amazing.

Dedeker: Yes. Almost 60 years ago. Actually it was December, 2017 if you want to go back and check. Anyway, I think that was the first time that we covered specifically this topic head on of finding essentially rules of fair engagement or some best practices for setting yourself up for your fights or arguments to be more productive.

What we covered in that particular episodes, we started out from a place of three base assumptions and I want to cover those again before we dig into our topic today. Our first base assumption that we're going to carry with us today is that conflict, disagreements, fights are inevitable in any human relationship. There are very few relationships you'll experience in your life, whether it's a family, friend, romantic, sexual relationship that are totally--

Emily: Coworker.

Dedeker: Yes. Coworker relationship. It's very rare that you'll have a relationship that's totally conflict free, proud to be and that's okay.

Jase: Yes, and then going along with that is that if conflict is present, it doesn't mean that the relationship is necessarily unhealthy. Meaning if you disagree on stuff, if you don't have exactly the same brain as each other, that's natural. That's okay.

Emily: Which you probably won't.

Jase: If you disagree, it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with that relationship.

Emily: Then finally, conflict can be a really great opportunity for personal growth and also the growth of the relationships specifically. We found four specific ways where fighting can actually be good for a relationship. The first way is going to be that fighting forces you to confront any challenges in your relationship head on. Often, like if you're not ever talking about things that are challenging in a relationship, they can fester, they can grow.

If you are actively engaging in arguments sometimes in a productive manner, then you can really target those specific issues head on and have the opportunity to confront them. That's really important in any type of relationship.

Dedeker: Yes. Building on that, it also allows issues that you have between the two of you to have a chance to come to light and be resolved as opposed to staying bottled up until they eventually boil over because someone can't take it anymore.

Jase: Yes, and conscious fighting or arguing can allow for exploration of what our own boundaries are or what makes us feel hurt or neglected by our significant other. That it can inspire you to think about and examine those things a little more deeply while also hearing those from your partner.

Emily: With all of these things, ultimately that can create more intimacy with your partner because again, you can get a better understanding of their needs, of your specific needs of your wants and your mutual-- Just things that you want for your relationship and for your life, and also really what makes them feel offended or neglected in a relationship. Those are incredibly important things to know whenever you're in a relationship with someone.

Dedeker: Yes. Something we talked about, I believe we talked about this when we did our basics of boundaries episode, is that sometimes we don't know our own boundaries or we don't know our partner's boundaries until we bump up against them in some way. That's not necessarily anyone's fault. It's not like you're consciously holding out on someone or not expressing your boundaries. It really is sometimes that's the only way that we learned in the first place, "Ooh, that's a boundary for me, or ooh, that's a boundary for this other person."

That's actually a good thing to-- I see it as when you're playing a video game and you unlock a portion of the map that was all cloudy and foggy and then now it's unlocked. Now you know where you're navigating and where you're going.

Emily: That's a great metaphor. I love that.

Dedeker: However, all of these things, coming in with these assumptions and acknowledging all the good things that conflict and arguments and fighting can produce in a relationship that's all predicated on the fighting and the arguing itself being based on a foundation of fair-play or some people call them, rules of fair engagement basically on a foundation of the communication being good and the fighting itself being productive.

Fights that are unproductive or that are just hurting the other person or that are a string up a bunch of negative emotions all the time without resolution. That conflict is not the thing that is going to be moving the relationship forward and generating intimacy and things like that. I think that was what we wanted to dig into in this episode is finding the distinction between what is the conflict that is productive versus what is the conflict that is unproductive or fucking dirty.

Jase: [laughs] Yes, and just to throw this out there for other people like me who maybe are listening to this and going like, "I do-- Using the word fighting and saying that can be a good thing." Like that's--

Emily: I agree with you. I guess that does have like a negative connotation.

Jase: I wouldn't use, the word fighting for any of this, but more you could say arguing or, some conflicts.

Emily: Disagreeing.

Jase: That that can be productive. I just wanted to throw that out there in case there's anyone who's frustrated by using the word fighting. Mostly we just like the alliteration of fighting fair or fighting dirty is an expression people use. Just so you understand, we don't mean--

Emily: Pure SEO.

Jase: Yeah, it's pure SEO so don't worry about it too much, but yes.

Dedeker: It does remind me, you making that little aside. I just downloaded on my Thich Nhat Hanh who is a-- He's a well-known Buddhist, author and writer and figure, he put out this series of books that are like, How to Love, How to Walk, How to Eat. It's all about like mindfulness and meditation, and stuff like that. The one that I downloaded was How to Fight. It's the same thing. It's obviously Thich Nhat Hanh coming from his Zen Buddhist background is not teaching us about how to punch each other, either verbally or physically, or things like that. It is about these things about coming up against conflict and disagreement and finding a way for it to be both mindful and compassionate and as fair as possible.

Jase: Nice. Yes.

Emily: Nice.

Dedeker: I also highly recommend that book. It's only like $6 or something right now.

Emily: Oh sweet.

Jase: Downloading it right now.

Dedeker: Okay, great. Okay, that being said, let's talk about what fighting dirty actually looks like. I think it is really important to talk about the negative things because sometimes we don't realize. Sometimes if some of these behaviors come from our family of origin, we cannot even be aware that we're doing them or not even be aware that these are not productive things. It's just like, this is what we saw. This is what you go to in an argument.

Jase: Yes. I know a lot of people will-- They'll argue a lot, say in their relationship and they'll defend it by being like, "Oh yeah, that's what good relationships are like," or "That's what my parents always did." That makes us more intimate and makes us better, right? They say those things like we were just talking about earlier. The question I always have is like, "Is it though?" It depends what that fighting looks like, what that arguing looks like. Sometimes I think if we don't know what bad problematic, potentially toxic fighting looks like, we might not even recognize it if we're doing it or even doing parts of it.

It's not like a binary you're either toxic...

Emily: It's a very intimate thing.

Jase: Or constructive. You could be somewhere in between that kind of learning what are the things that are going to be a problem.

Dedeker: Right. We came up with three broad categories that like fighting dirty or toxically or nonproductively falls into. I'm just going to review those really quick before we dive into the specifics. The first category is that fighting dirty is unclear and distracted. The second is that it is aggressive. The third is that it's disempowered, static and reactive. Let's dive into the first one here.

Emily: Yes, unclear and distracted is the first one. This is an interesting way in which to put it. I think if you come into an argument without really knowing what you are looking for, if you want something from your partner, but you really don't know what that is, I think that it can lead to an unclear or a distracted fight occurring. An example of that is being really unspecific or vague about what you're asking for. Not being direct about like, "Hey, this is the thing that I felt didn't go well in this interaction or I felt triggered by X word that you said to me," or something along those matters. If it becomes like really specific or vague, if it's like talking about maybe just your emotion rather than in kind of like a broad sense rather than like a specific thing that occurred, then that can be a challenging way in which to hear from your partner that you have an issue because they're not going to really know how to address that head-on.

Jase: Right. An example would be what? Something like, "You're always disrespecting me." It's is kind of this big statement, right? It's--

Emily: "The other day you were being really disrespectful," or something like that. Even instead of being like, "Hey, like I felt hurt when you mentioned my mother, did this thing the other week when we were together." I don't know. Instead of being super specific about it, you throw out an always or never statement regarding like how your partner is in general.

Dedeker: Yes, I think I've also been on the receiving end. I'm trying to remember of a partner. Just being like, I just feel like you've just been acting weird lately because you seem like angry.

Emily: "You seem angry all the time. Are you pulling away from me?" It sounds like vague comments. It's like, "Okay, I have no idea what that means, what I was doing. Can we take a step back and address specifics here?" If you're not able to give those specifics, then it becomes not very productive in a moment.

Dedeker: Yes, it's like fighting with an amoeba sort of, I guess is the image that came to mind for me. Yes.

Emily: That's like the best metaphor that I had in my head, the Pokemon. The next one is going to be exaggeration. Again, in my opinion, using those always or never statements can act as a big exaggeration of things like you always do this when we get together with your friends. Or you never say I love you when we're around your family or something like that. Just like exaggerating something again using always or never statements to me are huge exaggerations and generally aren't at all true.

Dedeker: Yes, it could. I think exaggeration could also be like hopping to the assumption first. For instance, if it's like, if the behavior that you see is like "Oh, I noticed like you're not affection to me in front of your family or you don't say I love you in front of my family," that it could be hopping to like you're embarrassed of me. Or you don't love me. It could be hopping to this very upstream place that does seek to-- Although it's very dramatic, does ultimately just conflict what the actual issue at hand is.

Emily: Totally or like it's seeking to get I don't know, a rise out of your partner or hopefully or probably them saying like, "No, of course, I love you." Instead, you're like putting it in this kind of dirty, mean way, exaggerated manner. Yes, those are two unclear undistracted fighting dirty methods.

Jase: Yes, the next two are related to each other. They're two sides of the same coin, let's say. This first one is not sticking to a particular topic, and instead combining things. It's like we started this fight because I was upset at you for not putting your dishes away after you had a snack. Then I came and had to clean them up later. Then as we're arguing about that, then I'm suddenly arguing about you coming home late the other night and not texting me first. Then it morphs into me being upset about the fact that you were late wishing me a happy birthday or right or you just intertwine and intermix all of these different things rather than staying focused or trying to find what's the common thread here, right?

It's like, I'm feeling upset. I'm just going to reach out for whatever memory I can grab. Then the other side of that is switch tracking or nickel-backing as we like to call it. [laughter] We did this. This was in the communication hacks booster pack episode from a little while ago, I forget which number right now. This is the one where one person comes and says, I'm upset because you didn't text me that you are going to be home late. Then the other person responds by saying the way that you just told me that you didn't think that was okay was really disrespectful. The fact that you said it in front of someone else or whatever, where you talk past each other.

It's like one person trying to talk about one thing and the other is trying to talk about a different thing. Oftentimes it's one person talking about the way that the top person talked about the first thing although it doesn't always have to be that. That's the classic switch tracking example. Kind of similar to meandering around, but this one goes from two different directions. Then the next one that Emily brought up a little bit earlier with the multiple in time topics is bringing up issues from the past. Particularly things that have already been resolved or have already been forgiven or have worked towards some completion. With that, is bringing those back up to then further support why you're upset or why your partner's upset or something. Goes along with that like grabbing for multiple entwine topics.

Emily: Yes. I think this is a really dangerous one and carries a lot of ammunition with it. Especially as the partner who was maybe the initial offender, you know that thing that your partner is bringing up really hurt them the first time out, but you feel that you made progress on that issue. You feel that it is resolved and then for them to come back and bring it up again and use it again is like, well, here's another reason why you don't love me enough or something. That can be a really fighting dirty tactic in my opinion and be a really challenging place to go.

Again, I'll bring this up. It's not always to be used, but I did have a relationship therapist tell me once if it hasn't happened within the last two weeks, don't bring it up. Try to not go back to like past infractions that are more than two weeks old. Let bygones be bygones in those situations, especially if you have already resolved those issues.

Jase: Yes, I like that better. It is like the idea of is it resolved versus something happened two weeks ago you haven't talked about yet. That's one thing.

Emily: Sure, but if it's resolved.

Jase: Right. That's not fair to be like-- You can't bring that up.

Emily: If it is a year or years old. If it's a year or years old, then there is like it’s going to be okay.

Dedeker: Right well, that’s why I think this one can be so tricky and so easy for many of us to slip into is because I think that if you’re feeling the urge to bring up something from the past, it’s like either that indicates either that’s just like, your own personal BS and you’re kind of trying to find ammo and kind of trying to fight dirty. Or that means this is actually not resolved, actually this needs time and space if this still feels like a sticking point for you and it’s okay to actually make that time and space to actually resolve these unresolved things. Or it’s an indicator that there’s something systemic going on that is not okay. Maybe it’s an abuse situation. I think that’s why it’s so easy for us to fall into that.

Emily: Absolutely.

Dedeker: Moving on to the next category which is fighting dirty is aggressive. We’re going to go through these, I think unintentionally we kind of ordered these from most extreme to least extreme or less extreme. Because when we think about an aggressive fight, obviously we can go to a place of yes, using physical violence or even threats of violence within a fight is not only just clearly fighting dirty, but also abusive and really unacceptable. We know that that’s clear, but kind of scaling back it can include-- aggression can include things like physical outbursts such as throwing things, punching walls, punching objects even if it’s not physical violence directed at your partner, it can be physical violence that’s still expressed in front of your partner which can still be damaging, and scary, and very unproductive. It can be things like personal attacks on the partner. Which can be things like insults, verbal abuse, it can be like attaching that person’s behavior or being extremely unproductively critical of that person’s behavior. It can include things like going after a partner’s weak spots or “punching below the below the belt.” I think that-

Emily: Insecurities, yes.

Dedeker: Yes or going for their insecurities and I think this is definitely that moment in a fight when you’re not in productive mode and you’re in like, trying to win mode it can be really tempting to go there. Because it’s like, especially if you’ve been with someone for a long time, it’s like you know their weak spots. You know the things that hurt their feelings, you know the things they’re insecure about and I know definitely in my experience in some of the really bad or like toxic fights I’ve had, it’s definitely that when it’s like I feel when I’m losing, or I feel like I’ve been hurt. I feel like I need to hit back by making some kind of dig or even a passive dig that I know is going to hurt my partner right where it hurts the most. Again, even if you’re not using actual physical outward violence, there can still be this aggression in the way that you approach this particular fight or the way that you handle your partner in this particular fight.

Jase: Yes, I think that Emily was kind of hinting at this earlier, but this bleeds in a little bit to the bringing up the past resolved issues. Where it could be like, I think it could-- I guess the extreme example would be something like, “Well, this is exactly, this is why your ex left you is over this same stuff.” Right? Something that you know is like a pain point that’s like a sore point. Or it could even be something with us. Oh, see this is exactly why, say it’s something that you resolved earlier that your partner did because of some deep insecurity of their own that is something you’ve talked about and worked through. Then bringing it up later and being like, “Well, it’s just because of all your insecurity. Just like you did this other thing from before or just like you’re selfishness that you did before.” Right? These can kind of-- you can kind of use that bringing up of past issues as a way of personally attacking or attacking something on someone that-- on a topic that you feel you’ve already won.

Dedeker: Interesting.

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: Like you’ve had that conversation and maybe they did admit, “Yes, I was wrong. I did something shitty and I’m going to work to repair that.” Right? You’ve already resolved that, it’s like going back to that one because you know they’ve already lost and so you can keep winning that one when you’re afraid you’re not going to win the current one.

Dedeker: Right.

Emily: Yes, that’s tough. Again on the aggressive side, yelling, or screaming, or even raising your voice that can be really powerful and really hard to be on the receiving end of. I know from experience, definitely, I’ve been in relationships where people have yelled, and really-- who are quite much bigger than I am. It can feel very vulnerable and it can feel very aggressive and very awful in those moments. I definitely urge you all out there to temper that if you can because that can be really scary in a way that physical or threatening violence can be. It is almost a threat of violence in a way. It can be when that intense aggression is thrown at you. It can feel abusive and it can feel pretty awful. Then also, this is a little bit less on the scale of aggression, but just even initiating argument or a fight at a really unproductive time. When your partner is clearly tired, when they’re busy, when you’re in public maybe or just ambushing your partner out of the blue when they’re in the middle of something. Maybe when they’re at work or just even when they’ve-- directly gotten home from work and they clearly are tired from a long day. Just kind of aggressively-

Jase: Or about to leave for work?

Emily: Sure. About to leave for work, about to leave for something really important and it’s like, “Well, we really need to talk about this thing right now?” Do you actually? I don’t really think that you do.

Jase: I’ve been on both sides of this one, really. The yelling, like raising my voice, or a partner raising their voice. Or with my roommate, both of us raise our voices sometimes when we’re arguing and it’s like even if it’s a situation where it’s not even like Emily described where it’s like a physical power imbalance and a fear there. Even then it’s still not productive. That’s not making that argument go any better. That’s not letting us resolve that even if we are equally matched and I feel like sometimes people will use that to defend it. It’s like, "Oh we both yell at each other," but like--

Emily: It’s not ideal. It’s not ideal.

Dedeker: Yes, yes. Related to the aggression. Aggression often comes from a place of anger. It’s actually relatively natural to have these physical responses in our body when we’re feeling angry from your heart rate getting faster and the rate of your breathing getting faster, feeling this tingling, feeling like your body getting ready for that fight or flight response. I just want to give a call back to our episode 205 that we did pretty recently about anger itself being good for you and not necessarily being something to squash down. I just want to clarify, we’re going to talk a little bit more about this in the episode, feeling angry or feeling these violent physical sensations coming up on you doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person for feeling that way. It doesn’t mean that you need to squash that down or repress it and you need to never feel that way. It does mean that you probably need to take steps to have a good outlook for that as opposed to using the fight or the argument itself as the container for that anger. Again, we’re going to talk about that a little bit later on.

Jase: Yes. Our third category here for what fighting dirty looks like is that it’s disempowered, it’s static, and it’s reactive. I feel like that one's a little bit hard to parse just from the title of it so let’s look at some specific examples. The first of these is ignoring or procrastinating on dealing with problems or refusing to discuss them. Just being like "No, no, I can’t talk about that now," and kind of over, and over, and over again just not being willing to talk about the thing. It’s that very sort of static, "No we’re just going to keep things how they are because I’m not willing to discuss it." Or like Dedeker was talking about just now with anger is bottling up or refusing to share your true feelings. This, I feel like can happen for a ton of reasons. It could be because you don’t want to rock the boat.

Emily: Yes.

Jase: It could be that well, I was upset about this thing at a time when I couldn’t bring it up. Now things are okay and so I don’t want to bring it up now and make the good times bad. I’m just not going to. It might not even be that step by step thought out, but I’ve very much done this one. Where I just won’t bring stuff up at a time when we are calm because I don’t-- I want to just enjoy the good time that we’re having and so instead that will bottle it up and that will get to a point where then I’ll bring it up at a not as productive time to talk about it when I’m in the moment upset about it. The other one is to just sort of drag out a fight rather than reaching actionable solutions. Very reactive, it’s like we’re just reacting to being upset. We’re being upset and then kind of run out of energy.

Emily: Going around and around and around in circles.

Jase: Until we run out of energy and then it stops until the next time we fight again.

Dedeker: Right, yes, this is the kind of thing where it’s kind of this tricky version of static in a fight where it can feel like the fight’s ongoing especially if you’re dragging it out. Especially if it’s like you start the fight, someone has to leave for work. You continue the fight via text.

Jase: Geeze, yes.

Dedeker: Maybe you throw in some silent treatment. in between, and then continue the fight via text later. Then the person comes home, and maybe we go to bed and don't talk to each other. Then the next morning, we have the fight again. It can feel like-

Emily: Forever.

Dedeker: -the fight's still going on in the timeline, but it's not going anywhere. It's still actually static, we're not moving toward-

Emily: A goal.

Dedeker: -actual resolutions, we're not moving toward trying to collaborate on this. It's just dragging out us, maybe venting our negative feelings, or just trying to hurt each other, or trying to withdraw from each other. It is this weird thing where it's like, in the moment, it can feel like no progress is being made, but actually, it's more of spinning the wheels, just staying in one spot.

Emily: Yes, absolutely. To go along with that, just as you said, silent treatment, or stonewalling, which is one of the Gottman Institute's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Very important. Stonewalling, just so those of you know what it is, it's really like withdrawing or closing off from your partner, just shutting down from them. It really can cause an argument or just anything, in general, to go nowhere, because if you can't have a mutual understanding between two people, then you're not going to move forward and progress in the potential argument that you're having.

This is a really important one, and a really challenging one to combat if you come up against it.

Jase: I feel like there are some very sneaky ways that this one can show up. I feel like for a lot of people, the silent treatment, maybe we do it sometimes, but it's usually for little bits of time.

Emily: Like a moment.

Jase: It's like a moment-

Emily: Ten minutes.

Jase: -and I think we know that we're being a little bit childish by doing it, because it is a thing we're aware of, the cold shoulder or the silent treatment. There's more subtle ways of stonewalling, which is pretending to be coming from a place of being very emotionally intelligent or emotionally understanding of saying like, "These are just my feelings and you can't argue with my feelings." What they're saying is, "I'm not willing to have this conversation. I'm right. I won't accept any conversation about it."

It's this tricky thing because there are times when just being really honest about like, "These are my feelings and you can't just talk those away," is true and is a valid thing to do, but there are other times where you can use that exact same description as a way of stonewalling and of just being like, "No, you have to agree with me or nothing."

Dedeker: That's really interesting, because I thought you were going to go a different direction with this, with the sneaky ways that stonewalling and the silent treatment can come up. It actually came up for me quite recently in my last RADAR with my partner, Alex. Toward the end of a RADAR that had been relatively conflict-free up to that point, we hit on a topic that struck a nerve with both of us. I got upset enough that I was like, "Okay, I need to halt. I'm going to take a walk and then come back."

I went out, I took a walk. I just walked around the block, and went across the street, and sat down on a bench. I think at this point, it took maybe 10 minutes. I sat down, started writing some stuff out on my phone just to clear my thoughts. After doing that, I started feeling actually quite better and felt like, "Okay, I feel like I'm ready to come back to this." Again, this was maybe only like 10 or 15 minutes. It was a relatively short period of time that I needed before I was ready to come back to the discussion.

However, then, in that moment, I had that devil on the shoulder, angel on the shoulder moment, where the angel on my shoulder was like, "Okay, you've had your venting time, you've had your halt time. You feel ready to come back to this now. You better go head back and have a productive discussion now," but the devil was like, "You should stay out for another 20 minutes just to-

Emily: Get his goat, yes.

Dedeker: -just to get his goat," I guess, or just to get him a little bit worried. When I think about it now, I'm embarrassed because it's like the devil had literally nothing good to say-

Jase: Nothing helpful, yes.

Dedeker: -about the situation. Wanting to stay out for an extra 20 or 30 minutes was just purely selfish, purely non-productive, but it's like I still felt that. I think that that can be a very slippery slope to being like, "I'm going to remove myself from the situation, either go in the other room and lock the door, or go out for a really long walk, or be out for hours at a time, and I can make the argument of like, "I needed to halt and get out of the situation," when it's a mix of maybe halting combined with some stonewalling.

Emily: Interesting, yes.

Dedeker: Do you all get what I mean?

Emily: Yes. I'm not a big fan of halting. I am for the right reasons, but I generally I'm like, "I want to continue this," unless it's a huge infraction in the middle of it, I'm like, "I really want to keep going because I think that I can piece together my thoughts best if we just continue talking through it together."

Dedeker: Maybe it's a spiritual thing, because I know for me, at that particular argument-

Emily: Maybe.

Dedeker: -what really caught me is I felt my anger coming up and I was like, "I know if I just sit here and power through this, I'm going to say something really not nice."

Emily: Maybe that's it, see, because my sure partner halts like all the time, a lot.

Dedeker: Maybe, yes.

Emily: Just a lot more than me, at the very least. I think maybe that's it, it's a wanting a hope of being able to collect one's thoughts in a productive manner, as opposed to Jase and I, I think, who would both be like, "Let's talk about this together. I'm just going to throw some stuff out there and just listen to me for a second while I talk," [chuckles] instead of sitting there quietly by oneself thinking about it before we go back to the conversation.

Jase: Yes. I was thinking about this one recently of just being like, "I think there are definitely times that I could get better at realizing when to halt-

Emily: Yes, me too.

Jase: -just for a short amount of time, even for just a couple minutes."-

Dedeker: Interesting.

Jase: -which I think would be a good habit interrupt for things like raising my voice or getting physically agitated about something of just training that mental-- It's like a circuit breaker, I guess, where it's like, "I start feeling this way and emergency halt, timeout," like on How I Met Your Mother where Lily and Marshall would do their timeout.

Emily: Timeout, yes.

Jase: They would just immediately pause-

Emily: Everything stops.

Jase: -go take care of their lives and then come back. Like that. I actually think that would be a really helpful thing because I tend to be like Emily, just want to power through it.

Dedeker: Like a micro halt?

Jase: Micro halt, I like that.

Dedeker: Something like that?

Emily: Yes, just a micro halt.

Dedeker: See, maybe it is a spiritual thing because when I think about it, I'm like, "That gives me anxiety to think about micro halts."

Jase: Wait, why?

Emily: Why?

Dedeker: I don't know. I guess because when I think about halting--

Jase: I thought you would love halts.

Dedeker: No, I'd love halts, I do. Trust me, I do. I don't know, maybe I just need to experiment with it and try it. Jase, we can try it.

Jase: Okay.

Dedeker: Like a speed halt.

Jase: Mini halt?

Emily: Yes, a mini halt. One of our, let's say, patreons used the word timeout, like you just said, and said they and their partner will say the word timeout, and that that means everything is dropped regardless of what is happening in the moment. You timeout, and then for 10, or 15 minutes, or however long they decide, they have to just go to separate rooms and cool off, and then maybe they can come back to the argument. That provides a safe word almost, just like, "Okay, we're timing out right now," and anyone can say it for any reason. I don't know.

It's better to me than just the wishy-washy halt that sometimes happens like, "I really think that maybe we should halt right now," which to me, I'm like, "No, we're fucking not. We're going to fucking keep going." [laughs]

Dedeker: Okay, I'm going to jump in because I think what I think makes for a more effective halt is when you call a halt on yourself and you're dedicated to just that-

Emily: Sure.

Dedeker: -and it's never a, "Hey, you need to halt." It may be even for the sake of safety, it's never a, "Hey, we should halt," because I think that can also be a passive way-

Emily: I like that too. I like that.

Dedeker: -of implying, "You're getting out of hand." I find for myself, it definitely goes a lot better if I'm like, "I need to take a break. I need to take a halt. I need to take a walk," even if I feel like-

Emily: No, I appreciate that hugely.

Dedeker: -it's the other person who's more upset, but it rarely is, usually, it's me. [laughs]

Emily: I appreciate that very much because then it's taking ownership for something as opposed to being like, "Clearly, you need to fucking calm down right now,"-

Dedeker: Yes, because it escalates.

Emily: -which to me, I'm like, "I am fine, okay? I am totally fine."

[laughter]

Emily: It all comes out. Anyways, we have one more in this disempowering and static section, which is what we were just saying, only blaming or not taking responsibility and owning your own shit, which I think is huge and happens a lot in arguments. It is like, "Let's deflect, deflect, deflect," and we're throwing everything at your partner, and saying like, "You're doing this, and you're doing that, and you're not showing me enough respect. Whatever. I don't feel safe in this relationship."

Dedeker: "I only act in this way because you did this thing."

Jase: That's good. I mean bad.

Emily: Sure, any of the above.  Instead of being reflective and I think it is an important thing. Yes, hurt is great but I think it can be really important to be reflective in the moment and to really actively listen to what your partner is saying. If they're like, "Hey, actually, in that moment when you said X, Y, or Z it really hurt and it really made me feel challenged, like, why did you say that? Can we maybe examine that for a minute." And to be able to say, like, "Hey, shit, why did I say that? That was uncool," Instead of just being like, "Well, obviously, it was something you did that made me do that."

Dedeker: The interesting thing is, when we were writing this episode I considered putting the like, blaming and not taking responsibility under a different category but then when I thought about it, I feel like that impulse to only blame on either your partner or some external factor. I feel like that actually comes from a very disempowered place. I know the times that I felt it easier for me to be able to hold up in an argument and be like, "You know what? You're right, I shouldn't have said that, or I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry that I said that."

If I'm feeling disempowered it's a lot harder for me to do that versus, if I feel more empowered and I feel like me coming clean or me taking responsibility is going to empower the situation and allow it to move forward, then for me, I find it a lot easier. It doesn't mean that it feels like good, it's definitely humbling but I don't know, I guess this is just like a subtle nuance thing that I feel like I'm starting to learn at least about my own behavior is that if I'm feeling disempowered, then it's definitely a lot easier to go to a place of like, I need to try to win or I need to try to save face or I need to try to make sure that you feel worse about this than I do.

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: Yes, and then when we were reading about this, one of the things that came up that really-- I was just like, "Shit, you're right," was this idea of a sign that you're fighting in a dirty way, is as if your objective is ever to win. I was just like, "Oh, fuck, [laughs], like just the truth in that and when I looked at this list as we were going through it, I'm like, so much of this comes from a desire to win. That's how we end up resorting to some of these tactics without even being aware that we're doing these shitty things because it's just coming from a place of wanting to win and that's--

Emily: Something that--

Jase: We see it all around us like this glorification of winning or the idea that like, an argument has a winner and that winning is a good thing and that the reality of it is that arguments that do end with a winner even if that's you, ultimately is going to hurt that relationship more than--

Emily: More and it's also going to have a loser and that's-- If that's your partner that's shitty.

Jase: Well and that's the thing is that that's going to weaken and harm your relationship in a way that's eventually going to make you both lose. Really winning isn't even winning, it's not even just like winning sucks because it's good for the winter and bad for the loser. It's like, no, it's actually bad for both of you, it just feels good for the winner at that moment. When I read that, I was just like, "Yes, there's something to this of checking in with myself, of like, am I trying to win right now? I am I concerned about winning right now versus am I concerned with a positive outcome or getting this thing resolved or finding a way for us to move forward and find a solution to this which is a good segue into our second half here.

Dedeker: Let's talk about what fighting fair actually looks like? What are the more positive, more healthy, more productive rules of engagement? What are going to be the things that need to be in place in order for an argument to still be productive? It doesn't mean that, if these things are in place with the argument it's going to automatically just feel great, that it's going to be all like rainbows and butterflies. It'll probably still have uncomfortable emotions come up but ideally, taking on a sense of fighting fair rather than fighting dirty is going to lead you to a more productive place, which means productive resolutions, which means less fights in the future usually is the way these things worked out.

To counterbalance our three categories of fighting dirty, we also have three categories that all the behaviors surrounding fighting fair tend to fall into. Those three are being clear and focused instead of unclear and distracted. The second one is being compassionate instead of being aggressive and the third is being empowered, actionable, proactive instead of disempowered static and reactive. Let's dive into our first category.

Emily: Yes. That clear and focused category instead of the unclear and distracted. Again, in this category, you want to stay focused on one issue at a time and don't be vague about it. Again, really try to be very specific to something and say, "Hey, this was challenging for me when you said X or this made me feel X when you said Y," anything along those lines. Really be specific and in trying really hard not to be vague because that's not going to be helpful to anyone. Then again, stick to the truth, don't exaggerate, don't generalize, don't say always or never, just be like, again, "Hey, this is the thing that I perceived happening, this is how it made me feel. Can we talk about that?" Something along those lines.

Jase: Yes. Then going along with that, like the examples Emily was giving is to speak for yourself instead of speaking for your partner. Instead of saying something like, "You disrespected me when you said this," it saying," Hey, I felt disrespected when this thing happened." It seems like such a subtle difference but it makes that--

Emily: It's huge, though. It's so huge to say I statements versus you statements.

Jase: Because then it's at least acknowledging the possibility that that's not what they intended and that you just felt that way, that doesn't mean the solution isn't going to be for them to change the way that they talk or for both of you to do something. It's just acknowledging the fact that they didn't-- You're not putting intentions in their brain, like words in their mouth.

Dedeker: Inceptioning things into brain.

Jase: Yes.

Dedeker: Well, I've definitely been in situations, I've been on both ends of a fight going to a place of like, when you said this or when you did this, you were thinking XYZ or you have been must have been thinking like, "Whatever, I don't care about the relationship," or you must have been thinking-- I've also been on the receiving end of that as well. I think that it's the same as projecting these intentions and thoughts on to your partner instead of just speaking from your own point of view.

Jase: Yes. Then the next one is to stick to the present. Stick to what the actual issue is at hand and don't bring up those issues from the past that have been resolved. We talked about this one quite a bit before, I think you get the idea. Sometimes I feel like we can come up with a lot of ways to justify bringing those things back up but to really try to stick to the issues right now. Even if it might be tempting to just bring up a thing from the past to maybe take a moment to go, "You know what? I'm not going to go there, let's try to focus on a solution to what's happening right now."

Emily: Yes, because, ultimately, who is it going to help?

Jase: Right, right, yes. If it's something they can't go back and change.

Dedeker: I just want to throw out there. Unless it's clear that it's like, "Okay, this thing from the past keeps coming up, we need to make time and space to actually resolve that."

Emily: Sure.

Dedeker: Because we've seen--

Emily: If there was a single infraction once or something.

Dedeker: Right. At least things take-- It takes nuance and it's hard to paint with a broad brush like you should always do this or not do this. We've heard of people weaponized this whole two week rule and making it so that you can't bring up things that you actually still are unresolved and upset that happened more than two weeks ago. It's like, use your head, use your heart and again, if things from the past keep coming up for me, I'm saying that's an indicator that something is not resolved and so actually give it the intentional time and space to resolve it or don't bring it up if it actually is resolved.

Jase: Which then I think goes back to the first one which is to stay focused on one issue at a time. I think if you are having that realization that that's not an excuse to then just sidetrack the actual conversation but instead to go, "You know what? I'm realizing this is the thing we need to talk about. Let's dedicate a time to that rather than it constantly hijacking other conversations. Then the last one here in this clear and focused is, give equal time for each person to talk and this one, you'll have to gauge for yourself how this looks. Maybe this is something just as simple as being mindful of that and just be sure-- being sure that you give time to listen to your partner and resist the urge to interrupt and just jump in with your side of it.

Really give it time to listen or this could be something that you find with your partner you need to be very structured about. Some people suggested things like actually setting a timer, being like, you get one minute and then I get a minute and going back and forth like that where you have a third party in this case, a timer, telling you when you cannot talk. Could be different intervals of time, whatever but just really being sure that each person is really getting time to talk.

Dedeker: We're going to move on to our next category, which is that, fighting fair is compassionate as opposed to being aggressive. I'm going to start out by saying that this includes being compassionate to yourself and to your feelings when you're in the middle of the fight. I'm going to bring up again the acronym that we learned about when we were researching the Anger Is Good For You Episode Episode 205, which was area. It's this step by step process of first admitting that you're angry, restraining the anger in some way, then finding a way to express your feelings and then coming up with action points or actionable steps that you and this other person can take together.

That means something like, first of all having the courage to even say, "Hey, I'm feeling really angry right now" and then moving on to restraining an anger, either it's, "I'm going to go for a jog, I'm going to go for a walk, I'm going to go hang out in the other room and meditate for 10 minutes," or whatever. The idea being that you're precluding any kind of violent expressions of that anger, whether it's yelling or throwing things or actual physical violence. I see that as being compassionate to yourself, in choosing to do that is like being compassionate to your feelings or letting yourself feel the anger.

Giving yourself a place or a way to get those negative feelings out of your body in some way and then coming back to it so that you can also show compassion and gentleness to your partner as well. Related to that, the next one is, avoiding personal attacks, avoiding degrading language. This is something where we talked about this a little bit in the Conflict Crash Course episode. This I think sometimes requires self-awareness, I call it checking what's in your arsenal, checking what are the things you whip out when you are angry, when you are hurt, when you are in a fight, when you are trying to win.

For some people it is going straight for the juggler with personal insults, for some people, it's a much more roundabout sneaky way of going at it like maybe passive aggressive comments or sometimes backhanded compliments. My thing is, your shit's going to find a way to come out and just be aware of that and be on top of that. Know when it's okay to be like, "You know what? I'm getting to this place where I match more quickly or I know that I'm coming after you and I need to step back and I need to calm down and I need to re-approach this in some way," so that you can be compassionate and kind to each other.

Again related to that is halting. It is okay to halt, recognize when you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired, drinking, sick, horny, got added to that one years ago because I guess that's the thing that comes up to sometimes. It is okay to be compassionate, both yourself and your partner by saying, "You know what? I'm really tired, I know that you're really tired, you told me you're really tired, let's go to sleep," or "You know what? We are drinking right now. Let's either stop drinking and sober up before we continue this" or "Let's table this and find a time tomorrow when we're sober we can talk about this."

Jase: I think that second option is more realistic.

Dedeker: Yes, it's a more realistic option, let's just say it. I think when you say these things, it doesn't have to be a weaponized thing. Again, like we said earlier it doesn't have to be like, well, you're too drunk or you're too tired or you need to shape up or you need to calm down or you need to halt. It can be this very compassionate thing of just asking for that time and space. It can be very gentle, it can be, "You know what? I really want us to have a good conversation about this but I feel way too tired. Can we please find some time tomorrow to do this?" It can be delivered in a compassionate way that will help move things in a more productive direction rather than a more aggressive direction.

Emily: To go along with that one should really respect the state of where their partner is at at the present moment. If they have been going through a lot of stuff at work, if things are really difficult for them during that time, maybe understand that and be like, "Hey, it's time to cut my partner a little bit of slack here" or to realize the like bringing up certain things might not be the most productive just simply because they're not in the mood or in the correct emotional state to handle those types of things that I'm about to throw at them. Be mindful in those moments and really understand that, hey, your partner may not be at their best to come at this situation in the way that you need at that moment.

Mindfulness in these ways are really important. Also if something occurs that causes a partner to cry, which I am a huge crier. Anyone who is a longtime fan of this show and especially of the bonus content of our patrons knows that I am a huge crybaby. It's really challenging when people say, well, you're just being-- What is it? Victimizing yourself in this moment because you're being a crybaby or whatever, you're just being a victim. It's like, no, I actually just like cry, that's just what I do but then I can-- I process my emotions sometimes through that and then I move on from them. It just happens and it's like instead of me getting angry I cry.

I don't know, I think that it's important to be respectful in those moments and not just be like, "Well you're crying at me" and be like, "Maybe I'm just crying."

Dedeker: Yes, I think crying such a charged thing not even in the experience of crying itself but in the ways that we react to other people crying. If you can have a conversation about this with your partner at a time when neither of you are crying or fighting or whatever,. I think it's a really interesting conversation to get into because I found that your family of origin, how your family dealt with crying can really shape how you react to it or how often you cry or don't cry or whatever. Because, like, yes, sometimes people have experienced, like, weaponized crying from their parents sometimes where it's like, "Oh, as soon as my mom cried, as soon as mom didn't get what she wants, she would resort to crying and then I would feel bad."

They have that weird negative association with crying or maybe something like as soon as I cried, I would get punished for it or I'd get yelled at and so I really try not to cry. There's like a whole gold mine in there of interesting stuff and I would definitely really encourage people like, have a conversation, just examining that and share that with each other of how crying was dealt with when you were young or like what you experience seeing people cry growing up. Because I think it would really inform how the two of you act when that happens in the context of an argument.

Emily: Yes I agree. Then the next one is just as Dedeker said before build your partner up again acknowledge what they're feeling and what they've contributed to the conversation. Again this can look like just in the moment being like, "Hey, I really know that you're trying here, I'm listening to what you're saying, I really appreciate that you are doing XY&Z to help this issue and I see the progress that you've made and I'm really, really love that. Maybe we can still go a step further by doing whatever but I do see that you're trying and I so so appreciate that." I think that that's huge and that that is a way in which to acknowledge your partner for all of the great things that they're doing and the progress that they've made in any specific thing.

It's really important to do that instead of just being like, "Well, you're not trying hard enough or you're not doing whatever." Instead, it's way better to keep moving forward and showing them your love and showing them that you care and that you can see the progress that they've made.

Jase: Yes. Our third category now is about being empowered and actionable and proactive versus being disempowered and static and reactive. The first of these is, don't make your arguments public, don't do them in front of people. With the exception--

Emily: People do that at the restaurant. We just are walking, I don't want to go over to that table because they're yelling at each other or when someone gets up and throws something and walks away. It's like, "Do you want your check?"

[laughter]

Jase: Gosh, yes. This is also not just like public, public but in front of family or in front of friends, things like that, right? Places where it could be humiliating or embarrassing to someone. Find a place that is an actual private place where you can actually have this conversation, have this argument with the exception of times where you realize this is-- we need a third party, we need a mediator, we need a council or something like that. Obviously, that's an exception but just in general, don't be like trying to have your arguments in a place where you can make them lose face or something like that. Next one is along with that is to make a plan to argue together. I know that sounds silly and people are like, "What are you talking about?" Really it's like things we talked about with radar which is dedicating that time, each month, where you're going to talk about your relationship, and that doesn't have to be just arguments. That's also--

Emily: What is this section that we talked about.

Jase: Right. It can also be talking about the good things that are going on. Talking about what your plans are for the next month, whatever it is, but kind of finding a way to have a dedicated time to have this conversation. This could be something going along with halting. Say you work too tired right now, or we're drinking right now, or I'm so angry right now, instead of just saying the vague will talk about this later, which can kind of turn into kind of a stonewalling situation. Instead being like, "We can't talk about this now. I have some time on Saturday in the middle of the day. We are going to spend some time together. Anyway, could we finish talking about this then?"

It's actually making a plan so that you can both come to that, ready and able to have that conversation and not as you're trying to head out the door or when you're tired about to go to bed. Then going along with that, is with the exception of taking breaks to halt is to stick with it to the end. Is actually see this through to a resolution rather than just, "I need to get out all of my angriness with you, and then okay, now we're done."

Emily: Now I'm leaving.

Jase: Right. It's like, no let's get through this to the end where we get to a resolution. Where we get to what are we going to do about this now to make it better instead of just vent, vent, fen, fen. Okay, stop until the next time.

Emily: The next one is, I had a huge epiphany when I read this, but have a goal in mind when you come into an argument which I think almost none of us do. I don't know, I don't want to say always or never or whatever, but I feel I really, generally don't come into an argument with a specific goal in mind, but I think it's really important to give your partner the benefit of the doubt and expect that they will give you what you need and what you want from that argument as opposed to being, well, this is just going to go shitty again, but I got to bring it up because I'm pissed.

That kind of thing. Instead really be, "Okay, my goal is for my partner to understand me in this moment, or my goal is for the two of us to mutually understand each other better." Or for them to understand what is challenging for me, an insecurity that I have that they continually touch upon or something like that. For them to get it and for them to change that behavior in the future, instead of just expecting them to continue on in the same way that they have. I think that's, when I read the host like, "Oh, God."

Jase: Maybe just to clarify, it's not about-- My goal is that they're going to agree to exactly this but more. The goal is--

Emily: It's a collaboration .

Jase: You said, Emily, the goal is to better understand why they're doing this and find a way that we can work together that neither of us will be upset, rather than they will do exactly X, Y or Z. Because then you're getting into the, I just need to win, right?

Emily: No, I mean, sure. Yes, exactly. Definitely, that collaboration goal I think is huge, and that hopefully, the thing that I need, which might be challenging but might be a like, "Hey, I really need to be better understood by my partner." Which I think is generally what most fights are about anyways, then that gets resolved. To go along with our radar, to make action points to be like, "Hey, okay." You feel not good in a certain situation. Actionably, I am going to do these things, these actionable things in order to make sure that that doesn't happen again. To kind of make goals and that way. To further your endeavor of triggering your partner in that way or whatever.

Dedeker: The idea behind the action points, I don't think every fight is not necessarily going to produce action points. Sometimes, just by talking about this, we've resolved and we understand each other, and it doesn't feel there's anything that needs to be put in place. Sometimes, it is good to have things in place, to know, and for both of you to feel you can trust. Like, "Okay, we're taking steps to make sure that this doesn't happen again, or this kind of miscommunication doesn't happen again."

Again, it is the kind of thing where, I've definitely weaponized this myself, of where it's like, well, what are you going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again, or kind of trying to use it as like, "I need you to save the thing that you feel you're to blame for." This can also--

Jase: Partners are not mind readers.

Dedeker: Yes, but it can also be a process, it can be just as easy as like, "Okay, cool. I feel we both had our say, can we sit down and come up with some action points that both of us can do?" Or maybe starting by volunteering, like, "Okay, well, I think from hearing what you have to say, I think that what I can do is do X Y and Z. How do you feel about that? Can you give me some feedback on how that would feel?" Kind of starting that collaborative conversation around what are the specific things that we can do

That is also part of leading to our last point, which is coming to a place of resolution or coming to a place where you feel you're able to make up with each other. Now, I know sometimes you've both vented what it is that you want to vent. You both feel the other person's heard what you wanted them to hear. Maybe you've come up with some action points of like, "Okay, well, maybe I'm going to try to do this and you're going to try to do this."

Maybe you still feel fucking pissed. I know I definitely am in that place sometimes where even though logically, I know we've come to a place of resolution, but my body still has this energy in it, or this tension in it, or this irritation in it. I know in the past, that's definitely been the thing that encourages me to just drag out a fight, even past the point where it's been resolved, because I just don't feel kind of pissed even though things have technically been resolved. Which is why it's really important and can be really helpful to have some kind of ritual, some kind of formalized way to reconnect to your partner.

It could be, I don't know, it kind of depends on you and your partner to make this thing up for yourself. It could be, "Okay, great. Let's take 10 minutes in separate rooms and just take a breather, and then let's come back together and watch the next episode of our favorite show." Or something like that. Or it could be sometimes being like, "Hey, can we do a quick little appreciation round, where I can express, "Hey, thank you so much, because I really feel I was hurt, and I really appreciate hearing your apology about this thing. I really appreciate that I still felt safe. I really appreciate that you didn't raise your voice.

I could see that you made this effort." Time where you can even appreciate each other, either about things that went down in the discussion itself, or just about other things. It could be just, "I really appreciate how attractive your face is." Things like that. Again, just to kind of start to discharge some of that lingering aggression, or fight energy and generate kind of more of this feeling of normalcy and more of this feeling of reconnecting to each other. If you want to go back to Episode 186, our episode titled, Reconnecting when you don't want to. There are definitely some other helpful tactics for employing, being able to reconnect to each other kind of bring things back to equilibrium, even when you're still kind of on the tail end of a fight.

Emily: I hope that you all got something out of that. I know that I did, looking at these lists out there of fighting dirty and finding fair. I'm really interested to know those of you out there who have tactics for fighting fair and those of you also who listened to this episode and realize, "Hey, maybe there's some things that I'm doing that are dirty fighting tactics and maybe I shouldn't be doing that anymore." I do want to hear about that as well, because the three of us definitely saw that in ourselves.

I think when we research this episode, the best place to share your thoughts with other listeners is on this episode's discussion thread in our private Facebook or discourse forums. You can get access to these groups and join our exclusive community by going to patreon.com/multiamory. In addition, you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You can email us at info@multiamory.com. Leave us a voicemail at 678, and you'll see I, 05, or you can leave us a voice message on Facebook.

Multiamory is created and produced by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren and me, Emily Matlack. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio. Our social media wizard is Will Mcmillan, and our theme song is, Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand from the Fractal Cave EP. The full transcript is available on this episode's page on Multiamory.com