THEORYThe Beginner's Guide to Ending Arguments (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor

It is often claimed outside this sub that arguments are normal in relationships. In fact, some go as far as to say that arguing is good because the strong emotions exhibited are the kind that show you truly care about the relationship. However arguing creates an antagonistic environment. It fosters a "me vs you" atmosphere, rather than a more ideal "me and you vs the world". The strong emotions of that you create in the relationship don't have to be used against the person you love, instead they can be used for him.

In order to stop arguments, it is important to understand why they occur. A typical argument has two components a spark and an ignition.

Spark: The spark is the seed that starts the argument. It can be almost anything, provided that the listener has a negative emotional reaction to it (we'll get to that later). It can be something seemingly innocuous, like mentioning that the pizza is cold, to something disrespectful like saying that someone "can't get anything right". Normally we do not act like, or hang around, someone who would do the latter.... that is why often people will look back on an argument and wonder why they were arguing about something so stupid. That is the spark.

Ignition: The ignition is what happens when someone has a negative emotional reaction to a spark, and responds accordingly. This can manifest itself in either offensive ("You screwed up last time") or defensive ("It's not my fault") behavior. Once the spark is ignited, the argument escalates until one person chooses to end it (either be giving up their position or walking away).

We often hear the common wisdom that an argument takes two people. While this is true, it is important to understand that you can only control one of those people's behavior, your own. Here are some things you can do that can stop arguments before they begin.

Step 1: Don't create the spark. Watch yourself and try to make sure you are not creating sparks in your relationship. If you are nagging, condescending, or rude this is especially important.

In addition to that, try to learn and pay attention to your SO's triggers (we all have them). Does he dislike when you cross your arms? Does he hate when people chew with their mouth open? Does he not like you saying negative things about his mother? Avoid triggers whenever possible, and if you have to go near them, tread cautiously.

However you will not always know what will upset someone (remember sparks can be innocuous) so you can sometimes create a spark by mistake.

Step 2: Don't ignite the spark. If your SO set created the spark do not respond negatively to it. Normally (unless you have chosen a poor captain) your SO will not intentionally make you angry. He may have to tell you that you made a mistake, or he may step on one of your triggers by accident. If this happens you have a choice to not be angry. If you choose not to respond negatively there won't have to be an argument. Ask yourself "is this the hill I want to die on"?

Step 3: Defuse the situation. If step 1 and 2 don't work then there are some techniques to keep the situation from escalating. One typical example is if you create a spark by mistake, he takes it, and now you are standing right at the brink of an argument. Even at this point, you can still choose not to make it an argument, however if can be harder if you let yourself get emotional and angry.


  • Listen earnestly to what he is saying. An argument is what happens when being right becomes more important than listening. Put away your pride and acknowledge and respond to what he is saying. Whether you believe he is right or not, it it is important to understand where he is coming from so that you can come up with a solution together. Give him his turn to speak, then he will let you have yours. Understand that he thinks he is right just as much as you think you're right (otherwise there wouldn't need to be an argument).

  • When you prepare to talk to him try to not focus on why there is a disagreement brewing, but rather on how you feel about the situation. If you are able to get angry over this, ask yourself, "why is this so important to me?" Once you do speak, choose your words with deliberation and consideration.

  • Use noncomplementarity. It is only natural when someone gets angry to want to be angry back and up the ante, that is referred to as "complimentarity". This phenomenon is what keeps arguments going, and what escalates them. One well-known de-escalation technique is to become calmer and quieter if the other person is becoming angrier and louder. Another is to do use counterintutive behaviour, the opposite of what would normally be expected. Try making a joke (not as his expense) or doing something downright silly. If you're lucky you may even get a laugh out of him, either way, if you do it right, it will remind him that you are not the enemy here. When done right this can instantly stop on argument in its tracks.

  • STFU. As a last resort, if you are angry and want to say something that you know you will regret, keep you mouth shut until you have regained your composure. Not saying anything is better than giving into the argument.

  • Be willing to be wrong. Remember an argument is most of the time a difference in point of view. Just as you find your reasoning valid, he also finds his reasoning valid. Try to view things from his perspective so that you can at least understand where he is coming from. If you can understand his point of view you can turn any argument into a discussion.

With the right techniques you will start to look like the solution to his life problems, and not like the cause of them. Not all these techniques will work for everyone, in every situation. Choose the ones that work best for your relationship, and the ones that will work for you and your SO.

Lastly, remember one of the benefits of the captain first mate dynamic is it gives an absolute power dynamic. There is no point in arguing because he has the ultimate decision, and he will not listen openly when he is angry. Appealing to reason and his affection towards you are much more effective ways to get him to listen.

[–]FurRealDeal 12 points13 points  (1 child)

End any argument in four words: you may be right.

[–]benmarvin 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Or its cousin "I may be wrong"

[–]rprollerEndorsed Contributor 2 points3 points  (3 children)

This is a fantastic step-by-step word flowchart! I'll definitely be using this whenever I sense an argument storming--be it with my SO or whoever.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Flow chart! I was looking for that word last night and j couldn't think of it! But I second your comment. Way to go, /u/FleetingWish , you can tell a lot of thought went into this post, it's very thorough.

It also is very... Non confrontational. Which I get is the point you're trying to make, obviously, but I love the calm tone of the post itself. I'm going to read it the next time I'm upset before I react.

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I'm glad you liked it! I hope you don't mind me borrowing from you with the "is this the hill I want to die on" bit. I just felt like it was appropriate to the article.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

No totally use it, I read it somewhere in my RPW studies, I just don't remember where. Ian Ironwood? Laura Doyle? Who knows.

[–]thisisophelia 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Normally (unless you have chosen a poor captain) your SO will not intentionally make you angry. He may have to tell you that you made a mistake, or he may step on one of your triggers by accident.

This. So much. It was really hard for me to learn exactly this. If your SO accidentally triggers you in any way, don't assume that he does this to hurt you. If it doesn't happen too often, ignore it.

If your SO does not know that it hurts you, talk to him, but not when you are angry. Rather chose a moment, when you're calm enough to tell him that something hurts you without getting upset to avoid such situations in future.

[–]snbdmliss 1 point2 points  (2 children)

What if he knows it hurts you but still does it, and it's something very reasonable that in a converse situation he wouldn't be OK with you doing to him?

[–]thisisophelia 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Ask him, why he still does it although he knows that it hurts you. This not not even have something to do with being a good captain or something like that.

If you're a good person, you don't do things on purpose that hurt the ones you love. That's manipulative and nasty.

[–]snbdmliss 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I did ask him, and he would say things like how I feel is my own problem, not his. This just creates an impasse, and I am the only one hurt.

If you're a good person, you don't do things on purpose that hurt the ones you love. That's manipulative and nasty.

I agree completely. But why then does the other sub propose actions specifically designed to do this?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

100% agree. It took me a while to realize my husband is not catty the way women are and when he says something, there's no undertone to it.

[–]niyamadana 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I saw this post yesterday and thought "that's a good reminder." Then, last night, I accidentally ignited a spark and, even in the moment, I thought about it in those terms and IT HELPED SO MUCH. I didn't see it as him trying to make me feel bad, or about me losing my cool. I was like "oops, that was a spark and I just ignited it, I better fix this before it ruins our night."

Reading this sub everyday is so helpful, I'm so grateful for all of you ladies <3

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

My husband laughs because on my phone and tablet I always have this site open on my browser.

[–]ABC_Florida 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Does it trigger you? :P

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Awesome! I am glad that this was helpful to you.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

An argument is what happens when being right becomes more important than listening.

That is some extraordinary wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

[–]llaym 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is a bit unrelated to the arguments part of this great post, but in your post's introduction you mention a "you and me vs the world" type of world/relation view.

How can I help create this in my relationship? My SO is MRP and he doesn't view me as "on his team" and says that his biggest mistake was ever listening to what I said. He compares interacting with me/women as hostile negotiations. Is it possible to get from this view to a "you and me vs the world"? If yes, how?

[–]i_have_a_semicolon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm so sorry to hear that!

How do you think he got this perspective? Have you tried verbalizing to him that you believe that the team mentality could work better ? That you're willing to be on his side ? Does he have evidence to the contrary?

If hes unwilling to discuss this with you, I can't imagine you will get him to work towards this. Perhaps make it known you are Willing to discuss and try to work on things for the better? Let him tell you what he thinks is wrong and you can just internalize it and see if there's something you can change so he will be able to open up more with you?

If hes unwilling to talk and open up, I can't help . Being on the same page is really important in a team dynamic. And the first thing you need to be on the same page is talk honestly with eachother. Does he have distrust for you? Is he justified to have it, where did it come from?

So many questions..

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good read! People who have been sparked usually calm down quickly just by seeing you put in the effort to listen and understand them. I really don't see the point in arguing; tensions rise, tempers flare, and people become closed off. Yucky.

[–]i_have_a_semicolon 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I love this post. Did you come up with all of this yourself?very informative and I do a lot of this now and know it is certainly effective:)

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you so much. I did come up with most it on my own, though the mods did contribute to a couple parts.

[–]Big_Daddy_PDX 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It's painful to read such a simply laid out plan. Had my wife taken it to heart years ago (when I told her and when counselors told her), it here's answering chance I wouldn't be divorcing right now. Instead, she chose to continue exploding at ever real or perceived insult. She spent too much time being an adversary instead of a calm headed partner. Ultimately, she didn't bring enough value to my life to make me want to risk another 20yrs of my life on her.

[–]i_have_a_semicolon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

How old was she , just wondering?