The art of war

The art of war

By TAMAR CASPI
October 9, 2009 19:35
3 minute read.
love quarrel couple bickering 248 pepe

love quarrel couple bickering 248 pepe. (photo credit: Illustration by Pepe Fainberg)

 
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There's no rulebook when it comes to fighting when you're in a relationship. The gloves are off and the fangs come out. You say things you don't mean, you say things to deliberately hurt your loved one, and you say things you can't take back. Fighting is an art when you're in a relationship because often you're in the heat of the moment and you aren't thinking straight and thus words come out of your mouth before you can edit them. It's like Jackson Pollock flinging paint at a canvas and hoping it falls the way he wanted it to. Add Jewish guilt to the mix and suddenly the war of the words becomes a cry-fest with the words getting twisted to make the blameworthy into the victim. Israelis know a thing or two about arguing. If only one partner in the relationship is Israeli, then the non-Sabra is entering the fight at a major disadvantage. An Israeli will argue circles around you until you're dizzy and you've forgotten what it was you were angry about in the first place. If both partners in a relationship are Israeli and they argue, well that's just called having a conversation. The thing about fighting while you're in a relationship is that you have to decide if it's worth it. If you met the person on J*Date, but haven't yet met in person and are already fighting, then you need to log back on and keep on clicking because he or she is not it. If you've been on a few or more dates already but the relationship is still considerably new and you're already fighting, then you may need to take a step back and look at it from a new perspective. Are you both passionate people who enjoy arguing and of course the making up that comes afterward? Or are you just not a match and need to break up and move on? SPEAKING OF breaking up, if you're bouncing in and out of the same relationship you may be addicted to drama. Personally, I hate drama and try to stay as far away from it as possible. As soon as drama rears its ugly head, I'm outta there. It's hard to see a bad relationship when you're the one in it, and it's even harder to hear it from an outside source; so if a number of your loved ones have either tried talking to you about your relationship or have distanced themselves from you, take the hint. Don't be stuck having to use the excuse that 'hindsight is 20/20' because you didn't follow your instincts. If the relationship has matured, it's normal to argue, fight, yell and even enforce the silent treatment every once in a while. Hitting is not normal, calling each other nasty names is not normal and threatening to end the relationship is not normal. Those types of threats are not nice and should be eliminated from your vocabulary unless you absolutely mean it. The other thing that's not normal is never, ever fighting. If you never have an argument, that doesn't mean your relationship is perfect, it means you're not being honest with yourself or each other. It means there are bigger, weightier issues lying below the surface and that the volcano will erupt soon enough just like Alaska's Mount Redoubt. Just because a couple fights, doesn't mean they couldn't have a successful marriage… as long as they both agree divorce isn't an option. Once you say the sheva brachot under the huppa and exchange those solid bands symbolizing eternity, any fighting must be resolved because you can't break up as easily as you did when you were single. Nobody wants to become like Ross Geller, the Jewish guy from "Friends," and be divorced three times. Don't fight via instant messenger, e-mail or text because chances are your message will get misconstrued. If you have something to say, if you need to get your point across or prove yourself, do it in person. Even a phone call isn't necessarily good enough because you can't see the person's eyes. The same goes for apologizing when you're wrong - nothing beats a face-to-face admission of guilt. When you're fighting, make sure you listen to your partner: let them say their peace, respect their opinion and then relay your side. You won't resolve anything unless you hear each other out. Compromise is a must and it doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong. But if you are wrong, own up to it and apologize. Just don't start using the word "sorry" as a way to avoid arguments because you think that's what your partner wants to hear. Trust me, I'm always right.

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