How do you handle arguments?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by lhunt04, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. lhunt04

    lhunt04 Fapstronaut
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    Hey guys. First time thread post -
    I wanted to ask those of you with partners have a particular rational to handling arguments with your partner so you don't feel so drained and frustrated that porn becomes the answer to make you feel better.
    I relapse around the holiday period as work continues for me through the holidays and it stresses me out. That being said, I find I must be the first to apologise and re-establish contact after a fight with my partner. I can acknowledge where I went wrong (as is my first line when I'm trying to get us to talk again), but I often feel like I have to admit I'm the problem that caused everything else to not work and ask for forgiveness.
    Porn is of course not the answer, but I can't cry very easily, I haven't got friends close enough to talk about this with and my family aren't the best to talk to with these issues either. So I feel alone, stressed from work and having to apologise for being a screw up. How do you make sure you don't fall back on your addictions to feel better when the thing you're meant to love being a part of isn't going well at all?
     
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  2. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I try to stay emotionally present (that's not easy). I take my time more and try to step back from my own anger while acknowledging her's. Like you I am often the one to apologise first but I have noticed that the deeper into my recovery I get the more likely she is to acknowledge her part in an argument first.

    You are on a long streak now (264+ days) and I guess you've found the same as I found: to stay away from porn we need to delve deeply into ourselves. Those two things, delving deeper and no hiding, do make us more present in our relationships and our partners notice that. It helps them grow in confidence. Some of that might be counter-intuitive, for example my wife gets far angrier with me now than she ever did before I gave up porn, but that's because she trusts me now: she can risk owning her own anger whereas before she'd bottle it up and hide it.

    I'm not sure I'm making sense. Let me try to lay this out logically ...
    • Giving up porn requires us to dig deep and understand ourselves and our motivations & fears.
    • Knowing ourselves makes us more emotionally present in our relationship.
    • We hid from difficult situations by immersing ourselves in porn, and it was an effective way to blot out things we did not want to face.
    • Without that crutch we need to be more present in our relationship, even owning the emotionally messy bits.
    • Hiding our porn use made us dishonest, now we are more honest and open. That is scary but we have proved that we have the strength to do it. Our partners may not like what they find, but they will draw strength from our honesty and openness.
    That's no better! I'm struggling to put this down in plain English, sorry. Does any of what I am struggling to say resonate with you and your relationship?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
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  3. ichabodcr

    ichabodcr Fapstronaut

    @kropo82 thanks for sharing. You might think you struggled to put your thoughts down, but what you wrote sounds clear and simple to me.

    I have noticed the very same things, especially about honesty and openness making us more present in our releationships, but also more exposed and with no place to hide.

    I meant to write an answer to the interesting question from @lhunt04 but I fear I have little to add. There's no magic recipe for not falling back into the old habit when we need it the most (in times of emotional turmoil, like after an argument), you just try hard not to do it and focus on something else..
     
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  4. lhunt04

    lhunt04 Fapstronaut
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    Thanks guys! I get what you're both saying. I can't change my signature yet, so I just relapsed yesterday and can't update it. But @kropo82 makes sense when he says you have to retreat into yourself more. It makes sense to draw the conclusion that porn has become important to me enough that it masks the things I either don't like about myself or feel uneasy about changing. Life is change though, to a degree anyway. I think I'm still learning to be patient with myself, with the process of becoming and wanting to stay sober despite what life throws at me and with other people. Thanks @ichabodcr too! There does need to be a lot of focus on the right things (respectable pursuits to be passionate about) rather than emphasis on what's wrong right now and how long it'll take to fix. You're absolutely right. I think that rather than 'expecting magic' one day, I'll try to remember that we must both love each other even as we fight. If I can not dive into fantasy somewhere else, but take the quest to reconnect and stay connected with someone, it's probably in a way what I've been searching for in porn but only pretending to experience. Reconnecting after a fight can be amazing, it just comes back once again to patience. Thanks guys!
     
  5. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We still have a lot to learn, but, when it comes to arguments, we have gotten SOOOO MUCH BETTER!

    I could write a lot about this topic, but at the moment, I don't have much time. So, I will resort to some quick tips and maybe come back later for a more thorough answer.

    1. Learn to trust your spouse, trust that if you remove stressors, tiredness, anxiety, your spouse will be there for you. Trust that the ill will your spouse has caused was just them not being at their best.
    2. Often times, the best way to resolve an argument is to FIRST get yourself and your spouse into a good state of mind. For us, this usually requires sleep and time. We come back to the argument later, sometimes days later, when we are both in a better mood.
    3. If both people are in a bad mood. Leave it at that... say to yourself... "She/he is just in a bad mood, there is nothing that can be done to fix it, that is ok, I will just have to tough it out, until one or both of us can get some sleep or find some time to relax". Do not try to fix problems when you are in a funk, you will just make it worse.
    4. Learn to say things like... "I don't agree with you, but we can do things your way this time." I used to think I had to agree with my wife's demands before I gave in. Now, I realize, I can bend to her will, while very openly letting her know I don't agree. It is a freeing feeling. And, I end up not holding a grudge the entire time. Also, I have found that she really doesn't like me 'not agreeing', so, sometimes, she will say... "Ok, fine, we can do it your way this time." In the olden days, she would never do that.

    Gotta go. Good luck! Things can get better, I know, they did for my wife and I. DM me if you want a more back and forth discussion. My experience might be helpful for you.
     
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  6. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    This is all really good. From my perspective , when my husband is/was using pmo he was numb and not present and not much empathy. So a small argument would escalate because he wasn’t listening, he didn’t care, and he wasn’t emotionally there ever! So that little fight wasn’t just about what he was doing in that moment. We have never fought dirty even at our worst, no name calling, belittling, or abusive in nature. After 28 years of marriage we still disagree, but I’ve noticed since he’s been clean, we disagree without anger. He’s more willing to listen and empathize and I’m more willing to admit when I’m wrong and more willing to not have to fight till “ one of us wins”. We can agree to disagree.
     
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  7. Les_Brown

    Les_Brown Fapstronaut

    Great question!

    2 suggestions to consider:
    1) As previously stated, if either party is "heated", do something active (e.g. go for a walk) to let off some steam and take time to reflect on the scope of the problem and how it makes you feel deep down before discussing with your partner.

    2) Communicate emotions not intentions. This is most clearly understood through an example. Let's pretend Bob is scheduled to meet Mary at a certain time but shows up 20min late. Mary can say:

    a) You're always late. You don't care about me. ... This is communicating (i.e. guessing) her parter's intentions.

    Or

    b) Jeez Bob. Sometimes when you're late, it makes me feel abandoned/alone/etc. I don't feel loved/valued/cherished/appreciated ... This is communicating Mary's individual emotions, ignoring the circumstances or intentions of Bob's actions.

    IMHO, communicating emotions in an argument strays from assigning blame to discussing what really matters: how your partner makes you feel. At the end of the day, that's probably a majority of why people stay in relationships - because they like the way their partner makes them feel.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  8. lhunt04

    lhunt04 Fapstronaut
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    Thanks for all your replies!

    As I reflect on how I handled the argument in question that led to me writing this thread, I think that it's fair to say I have very practical partner who wants to see things done to the best of our collective abilities - a fair call. I was probably the one getting emotionally exhausted, wanting my effort in the gardening to be "more appreciated" as I did what I thought was best without realising she's the better gardener. Saying "you need to appreciated me and what I've done now" isn't exactly a quote from someone entirely ready to take of feedback or improve - it's probably the voice of someone feeling defeated who needs to comeback to the work some other time (and that's what I could have done).

    I wouldn't probably realise this if I wasn't in the process of overcoming an addiction, but if I can take care of myself as if I were a close friend, I definitely tell that friend that they should feel comfortable within themselves and their potential. They can do anything if they're patient and dedicated and listen to their thoughts so they know when things are getting too much. If loved ones aren't reacting expectantly, they know that love is still there and it's permanent - it's only the temporary stuff that calls for a little more improvement, not the them as a person.

    I take it the answers to @Les_Brown's points a) and b) are "I hear you. I hate holding you up because I can't get my shit together. *Insert explanation*. But that's no excuse." An apology later after things have cooled down if they're heated works too. As the victim has to deal with the damage that is done, me being the perpetrator, I need to be patient with my own emotions which can be more violent than the victim's reaction, and be patient with the victim to make sure I give them a platform to voice their objections as much as possible - it's BEING HEARD. Being heard happens on the inside too - as I recover, I've realised I have feedback loops of negativity from both recently and a long time ago, but I need to disrupt that loop with positive comments and hope for the future in order to make sure that relapse is realised for the fantasy trap that it is.

    Thanks once again for your comments - we have some bright minds with experience here! :)
     
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  9. moonesque

    moonesque Fapstronaut
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    Great points in this thread and it sounds like you're listening and thinking a lot about this @lhunt04

    I suggest therapy if affordable/possible, from my own experience and what I see as specific to P problems in people as surrounded by an unwillingness to give someone else insight into our experience a lot of the time and then not knowing what to do with difficult feelings and what that means about the circumstances you're in. Its really hard to sense our emotions and hold them and see what's happening and the whys and hows without interpretation and judgement, not to mention reacting on negative emotions through negative behaviors you're talking about. Talking to someone else and hearing them is a valuable learning experience. And that's kinda the point, you will have to learn from talking to someone else and then doing differently, not watching P is necessary for recovery, but we really have to learn to do something different and that requires understanding where you are now, what you do, what you think and feel and what's happening.

    I was super hesitant at first for myself and even with my recent troubles I saw resistance but Therapy is a tool just like anything else to actually get information about yourself and use that to make choices. Just to talk and learn and listen. If P use is linked with emotional pain and you struggle to feel and sense, then how are you really going to understand reality and what's actually happening and further what you really want? When we get cut off from being able to feel, we become more dull and then how can we know what's wrong? Imagine if we couldn't feel pain and put our hand on the hot stove, how long before we realize our hand is burning? Would we even bother to take it off anyway? Just some thoughts, I hope you're doing well and continue holding on to that feeling that something can get better because it does.
     
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