Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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Fight Fair and Grow Closer
© 1999, Demian

All couples have disagreements. When opinions are strongly held, the disagreements can lead to highly emotional arguments, which could get in the way of a healthy relationship. To help sort through the emotional from the rational, couples can employ fair fight ground rules. The following tips can lead to greater mutual understanding and appreciation.
  • Be specific. Complain about one particular item.

  • Ask for a change. Donít just complain.

  • Ask for feedback.

  • Respond to your partnerís complaint.

  • Donít respond with glibness or sarcasm.

  • Consider compromise. Both your views are valid.

  • Solve one problem at a time. Wait for original demands to be resolved before launching counter-complaints.

  • Let your partner speak her or his own mind. Donít presume your partnerís feelings or likely reactions.

  • Donít tell your partner what to do or feel.

  • Donít label your partner. Donít call him or her crazy, immature, foolish, etc.

  • Mention grievances and irritations as soon after you experience them as possible. Ill feelings saved for days, weeks or months may be experienced by your partner as carefully saved weapons.

  • Meditate before speaking. Your best thinking comes with reflection.

  • No one ďwins.Ē Either both gain intimacy or both lose it.

Inspired by ideas from Concepts in Pairing, by Dr. George Robert Bach & Ronald M. Deutsch, 1970, $5.95, David McKay Co., Inc., NY.

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