OK. With all the responsibilities of a Sandwiched Boomer and the stress over the financial fallout, you and your partner have been driving each other crazy. How do you avoid doing permanent damage in the heat of the moment?
All couples get angry and have arguments, so know that you’re not alone. But remember, when resolving conflict, to keep your words sweet – because you may have to eat them.
When in conflict, you can minimize emotional overload by focusing only on the issue at hand. And try not to blame your partner or be defensive. Research conducted by relationship experts indicates that one of the most effective ways to have control over the outcome of disagreements is to assume some personal responsibility and, in the end, be willing to negotiate a compromise. Fights don’t have as much fallout if you and your partner have accumulated a shared positive reserve in your emotional bank account. That is, the more positive interactions and feelings, the less damage.
It seemed to Sybil that her parents were always angry with each other. She hoped they would get a divorce but they stayed together and just kept on fighting. She vowed that her marriage would be different. “I couldn’t wait to move out. Over the years I broke off several relationships that could have worked, but I was too afraid of ending up just like my parents. At the age of 42, after years of therapy, I finally felt secure enough to take the plunge. Every day, for the past seven years, I wake up and make a conscious decision to focus on the positives in my marriage.
Over the next couple of days. we’ll be offering tips about how to ‘fight fair.’ And we welcome your ideas, as well.