Typically, guys like fights when they're at a hockey game, or watching reality TV. But guys don't particularly like fights when they happen in relationships.
We shy away from confrontation for several reasons: first, men win arguments with women about as often as the Detroit Lions win football games.
Second, we don't have that much we want to argue about. When Rodney King asked, "Can't we all just get along?" there were millions of guys nodding their heads, asking the same thing. For the vast majority of guys, fighting is failure, and quite possibly a violation of local noise ordinances.
We may have a few little things to quibble about (Where in the world did you put my Strokes concert T-shirt?), but for the most part, we'll do anything to avoid conflict, especially these types of conflict:
The "Blackberry" Fight
You look at it too much. Does that thing always have to be on? You work way too much! You're right, you're right, and you're right. When a man's work is pitted against his relationship for time and attention, he can feel utterly conflicted.
Many men feel an intense pressure to succeed, to be the one who's counted on, to be hardwired into whatever's happening, even if it's not much. And when you tell him that he should feel that way about you rather than the job, he retreats.
That's because he'd rather make a choice between right and wrong than the choice you're asking him to make: The choice between two things that are both important, but vastly different.
The "Ex" Fight
You want to know what she's like, what she does, why your man was into her, and why they broke up. Him? He wants to stay as tight-lipped as the CIA's man in Moscow.
Which only fuels the speculation - she must've been great, she must've broken up with him, she must've been the love of his life. The truth may be none of those things, but he wants to reveal as little as possible because there's no upside.
If he recalls any positives about her, he's afraid you'll compare, and think poorly of yourself. If he says nasty things about his ex, he loses two ways: you'll think badly of him for unchivalrous behavior, and wonder why he was with such a no-good girlfriend in the first place.
If you can survive the "ex" conversation, learn how to handle 5 other serious relationship talks.
The "Finale" Fight
When a break-up is inevitable, a guy doesn't want to go out with shouts, insults, crying, and random appliance tossing. Even though this relationship may have not worked out entirely the way either of you had pictured, he doesn't want it to end badly.
Why? Because there's a big part of him that cares very much about his rep; he doesn't want to be perceived as a bad guy, or a mean one, or some jerk who deserves to be hit by the cross-town bus next time he crosses the street.
Even if he wants an ending, he doesn't want it to be a bad one - which is why many breakup-minded men try to make a soft landing back in the singles world: Slowly, gently, and perhaps unfairly as well.
And no matter who's fault it is, consider these 4 ways to cope with a breakup.
The "Wedding" Fights
Not the wedding fight, as in whether or not to have one. But fights, as in plural, the kind that happen between the first ring he puts on your finger, and the second. He knows you want him involved in all the decisions big (who to invite) and small (what style napkins).
But in this case, his acquiescence isn't because he's uninterested; it's because he respects that this is your (and possibly your mother's) big day, so enjoy it, do what you want, and don't get mad because he won't tell you if he prefers the butter cream icing or the marzipan.
As for other kinds of fights, here's a great list of common face-offs and how men will try to defuse them. See if you recognize any of his tactics.
And if you've had enough about endings, check out these 15 moments that define a relationship, 50 things women wish men knew, and why men stare (but stay faithful).
Have other ideas? Please share 'em here.
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