Always Fighting?
Conflict is Common,
But Fight Fair

Whenever we hear someone say, “Oh, we never fight,” it always raises a few red flags. If you’re really engaging with another person, there’s going to be conflict!

Things are never going to be perfect.

Dating and relationships can reveal so many “a-ha!” moments. After all, dating is a great opportunity to learn new things about yourself and the ways you set boundaries as you engage in (or shy away from) conflict. When you go out with someone, are you panicking at the first sign of conflict? What about when you’ve reached a make-or-break moment in the relationship? Do you commit to holding your ground, or do you backslide after a few weeks and assume more than your share of the blame?

Many of us have a very difficult time with conflict—understandably, of course. We all have limiting beliefs that are comprised of sets of preconceived values, perceptions and ways of dealing with others which shape our relationships. We may catch ourselves avoiding unpleasant emotions (like hurt, sadness, fear, or anger) because they’re uncomfortable for us. However, even when our emotions make us uncomfortable, that doesn’t always need to be a negative thing.

Our emotions, even if they’re unpleasant, can be great tools for growth, as they can help us understand ourselves on a deeper level.

Assuming Fault or Passing Blame?

Often, many of us have a tendency to want to assume everything is our fault—OR to assume any disagreement is ALL the fault of the other person. When a relationship ends or when things aren’t going well, it’s usually not just because of one thing we’ve done or said; it’s really about the bigger picture and the roles each of us play within the relationship. What yearnings were expressed and met, and what yearnings were held back out of fear?

When conflict arises in your relationship, there’s a set of rules to help you and your date or partner fight fair. In our new book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss these rules of engagement. For example, did you know that everyone is responsible for their own emotions? Here’s another great one from the book: no one takes more than 50% of the blame.

When dating, you have this great opportunity to “play” with all of these rules of engagement and really feel them out. You can meet someone and in the first few sentences you might have an immediate connection…or you might have to work to find the connection. Neither way is wrong and both give you a chance to learn new and exciting things about yourself, about another person, and about conflict.

Fighting More Frequently? Stay True to Yourself

Once you’ve been on a few dates, you might find that conflicts arise more freely. This is something to be celebrated rather than feared! When you’ve reached the point that you’re comfortable enough to be honest with yourself and tell your date how you feel, it’s a great moment in your personal growth.

Some of us find we go into a relationship ready to debate, engage in conflict, and discuss things open and honestly—but we hold back on building the emotional and softer side of our connection. It’s still a question of whether or not you’re fully engaged. Again, neither approach is wrong, but the challenge is in how you can continue to express your truth. Are you being you?

Emotions and connections make us vulnerable, which can be frightening. When we’re putting our real selves out there and being open and honest, we’re in a place where we may be rejected or hurt. And let’s face it, that doesn’t feel good. The real joy is when you can look at the situation and no matter the outcome (whether it was a great connection or a not-so-great connection) you can say you were 100% honest about who you were throughout. That’s the awakening.

When Relationships End

If you just can’t reach a give-and-take point or if you feel stagnant in your personal growth, it might be time to move on. If you feel you’re being honest and engaging with the other person but it’s just not there on a fundamental level, it can be difficult.

Breakups never feel good. They leave us questioning our actions, and wondering if we were too reactive or if we were really honest in what we wanted. We question if we held back our emotions due to fear or anger. We can question everything about ourselves.

The great news is a breakup is a great time to reevaluate and lean on your friendships and support system. It can give you a chance to work through growth and even find an eventual way to get back to sharing a friendship after a cooling-off period (assuming you WANT to continue a connection and found the friendship nourishing).

Breakups aren’t fun, but they give us a chance to sort out what we want and how we can better express our desires and yearnings. They allow us to examine the interaction, and we can rest easy knowing we were fully engaged, we didn’t shy away from conflict, and we approached the relationship with honesty and openness.

Dating and relationships can be fraught with opportunities for both awakenings and disturbances, but both can be moments of beauty and growth.

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Join us every two weeks on Wednesdays at noon CST for our podcast Bring Out Your Best! where we discuss dating, relationships and being your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


What Questions Should
I Ask on a First Date?

Don’t you wish there was a script for first dates? A standard set of screening questions? Have you ever seen the article circulating online detailing 36 questions YOU should ask to “find love”?

We’ve all read magazine articles like this before—promising the perfect interaction and happily ever after if we just screen with the right set of questions.

In reality, there’s no tried-and-true questionnaire for screening your dates. In online dating profiles, we do get the answers to some questions. But not all of us meet our dates online. What about the girl you approach at the gym or the guy you meet at a networking event? You can’t exactly ask them to fill out a profile on the spot, just to see if you’re compatible.

It’s easy to make snap judgments when we walk in on a date. We look at how our date is dressed, we evaluate their jewelry and their habits, and we immediately have a reaction. Maybe his glasses remind you of your dad or her perfume reminds you FAR too much of the coworker who drives you nuts.

The truth about first dates: To have a successful first date (and a successful fifty-first date)—it’s all about what you put into it! What does a successful first date look like, anyway? I consider it a good date if I’m enjoying my own company, learning something new from my date, and learning about myself. When you’re fully engaged, expressing your yearnings, and being up front and honest about who you are, you can discover more about yourself and others—even if you don’t feel a romantic connection.

This ISN’T a Great Date

Sometimes “bad dates” can teach us more about ourselves than the great ones. The next time you’re on a date that seems to be going awry, ask yourself what’s really bothering you about your date.

Maybe he’s rude. Maybe she talks incessantly about herself. Maybe she’s condescending. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be fully IN the situation. Let your date know what’s bothering you, and see what you can learn from the interaction. It will tell you a great deal about how you handle being uncomfortable and the ways you shy away from or engage in conflict.

Not every date is a perfect match, but every date is an opportunity. Part of the joy and fun of dating is getting to know different people and getting to know yourself. If something bothers you, explore what’s going on with you!

This IS a Great Date

Many times, first dates might actually be going well, yet we find ourselves holding back. Maybe you don’t ask the hard questions because you’re having fun: you’re attracted to your date and enjoying your time together. Maybe you don’t want to scare them away by bringing up big topics like babies, houses, and marriage. Maybe you don’t want to find out they’re a homebody when you’re an adventurer.

Here’s the truth: a first date is a great time to ask anything! You haven’t fully invested your time, effort, and energy into the relationship yet. It’s a great time to find out if you’re on the same page and working toward the same outcomes so you can continue. Why wait until you’re six or seven dates in, only to be disappointed that you’re not really jiving on some of your biggest yearnings?

Some of us go into our first dates with our tough question ready—guns a-blazin’. We’ll ask anything, engage in conflict, and figure out what page they’re on. THEN, as time goes on and we become more emotionally invested in the relationship, we start holding ourselves back. By then, we’ve put our emotions and heart into the relationship, so we don’t want to be crushed when we get an answer we don’t want.

Relationships Are About Continued Engagement

In The Heart of the Fight, we talk about how you can continue to discuss and bring up your yearnings, engage in conflict, and keep the communication flowing throughout your entire relationship. For the first TEN YEARS or more, you’re trying to find your footing and you’re vying for control and understanding. Face it: if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to address these issues. Putting them off is just staving off the inevitable.

Dating is such an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself and someone else. It’s exciting to engage with someone and to learn more about your reactions—what you like, what you don’t like, and how you feel. Allow yourself to go off-script and get down to discussing what really matters to you. You’ll feel better about the relationship if you like who you are being. I want to be someone who takes risks, who tells the truth, and who gets to know myself better with each date.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

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About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.

Blog image courtesy Flickr user dickuhne.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.