Conflict is normal in relationships, in fact, it’s healthy. It is caused by a variety of factors including differences in opinions, needs, desires, backgrounds and even simple misunderstandings. Regardless of how normal and expected it is, it remains difficult and couples struggle to deal with and resolve it. It can be especially difficult if couples struggle to express their feelings or needs clearly, or if they feel like their partner is not listening or understanding them. These difficulties can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, or resentment, and may result in a breakdown of communication or even the relationship. One couple found an ingenious way of dealing with any arising conflict in their relationship. A way that makes each of them feel seen and heard. Fighting over email. Here’s why they recommend every couple hash out any differences and disagreements over email.
Why you should fight over email
In the heat of an argument, with emotions running wild, people can end up saying hurtful things that they would never say if they had just taken a moment to pause and reflect. This is what email does. Writing even if you’re still angry and your words are emotionally charged forces you to be more thoughtful and deliberate. You also have to read through what your partner had to say and think about that as you respond to each issue they raised.
Time and space
People are so different. Some people can be articulate in an argument while others end up tongue-tied and unable to communicate as effectively as they would wish. These types need some time and space to think about the issue raised and formulate a response. Email for them is a great opportunity to convey their feelings and articulate their views in ways they are not able to in the heat of the moment. It also gives equal voice to each partner even the one who isn’t good at in-the-moment fights who can often feel like they always lose in person fights.
Email can allow a person to be more expressive and more honest than they would be in person. Some heavy conversations can be difficult to have while looking someone in the eye. Email allows people to go deeper and articulate their feelings more than they likely would in the heat of the moment or in person. This increased vulnerability can even make it easier to get to the route of the issue and resolve it.
Stay on topic
During arguments, people can find themselves bouncing all over the place raising issues that are not related to the immediate concern at hand. Writing allows people to stay focused on the issue at hand. When you respond, you respond to what the person wrote which keeps everyone on topic. This increases the likelihood of resolving the conflict.
Fighting over email means there’s a record of the grievances and the resolution. This allows couples to hold each other accountable. No more he said she said. The record clearly shows what you agreed on as the solution making it easy to see who’s not living up to the agreement and how you can address that.
All the benefits of email translate to better conflict resolution methods even in face-to-face arguments. Learning to articulate your views while carefully reading your partner’s position is a useful skill overall that can serve the couple in many ways.
It’s true that not all arguments can be settled over email. Bigger issues which vary for different couples are best served by face-to-face engagements which allow you to read non-verbal communication and body language. It’s important to point out that while email works, texts do not. Email works because it allows for long-form communication. SMS is a terrible medium for any deep conversations and should be avoided. Emails allow for deep, thoughtful responses while texts are designed for quick reflexive responses. Try it with your partner and see if it works for you.
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