How does everyone handle arguments

PolyInWA

New member
Hello everyone.

I am new on this board and posted an introduction a few minutes ago. I've searched through this forum and didn't come across any posts that addressed my question, though I am sure I probably missed it. It seems like it would be a common concern.

My wife and I are at the point where we have decided to change from a monogamous relationship to a polyandrous one We have been talking alot about possible pitfalls because we both are committed to preserving our relationship. Just a bit of background before I ask the question... my wife and I have a very close relationship that has been built on a foundation of trust. We do argue, as most people do, and on rare occasions when we've argued one or the other of us has left the house to "cool down". Later when we are both together again and our heads are cooler we are able to talk through our issues and resolve them. We never allow a disagreement to go unresolved.

A couple days ago my wife asked me how I would handle it if we were in an argument and she left to cool off. She expects that in the past if she had a relationship with a man that she might have possibly gone to him to seek to be comforted rather than to drive around until she has calmed down. She wanted to know how I would respond to that, especially if she ended up having sex with the other man while being comforted by him. I have to admit that that scenario places a pit in my stomach, and my gut instinct would be to feel betrayed by my wife. I don't think I'd have as much of a problem with her seeking comfort from another man, but I am afraid of what the act of having sex with him under those conditions my cause me to feel. Like she pointed out, if we argued I would have no one to turn to since I don't want to have a relationship with anyone except my wife (this is the way she prefers it too) and I really do not confide in family or friends if my wife and I hit a bump in the road.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions on what you have done in this type of situation? What works? What doesn't? Any advice would be very much appreciated.
 

Phy

Member
I am in a relationship with two men. I can tell you about how it usually goes in our case, but have to say in advance that this obviously is only how we work :)

If I argue with one of them, I don't go to the other to seek comfort in that way. When I am upset I have no desire for sex, so that problem never arose for us so far. But I wouldn't go to the uninvolved party to be comforted, because those relationships are separated from each other. An argument is private stuff. Full stop. The other doesn't need to meddle in those affaires just as we never talk about sex or other personal topics outside of the respective relationship, if I am told that one of my partners doesn't wish for me to do so.

When (for example) my husband and I have a discussion and we aren't able to solve it right away, and I spend some time with my boyfriend shortly afterwards, I am affacted by this dispute. Sometimes I talk about the topic, if I need another perspective to clear my mind a bit. I never rant and I never reveal too many details. None of them would let me, btw. There has to be respect for the other relationship of the partner and it wouldn't be acceptable to take advantage of this situation.

Maybe this is due to our cohabitation. There is no complete 'outsider' in our case, that's why the affaires sometimes mingle partially. But never wholly and I wouldn't advise you to seek out a partner to solve problems with another partner of yours.
 
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BoringGuy

Banned
What you (the OP) describe sounds like a version of "relationship broken add people stir wait until thickened", except maybe your relationship is not broken.

How would your wife feel if you had a girlfriend who tried to fuck you every time she had an argument with one of her other partners? Is it a turn-on, or a turn-off? It sounds like this hasn't actually happened to you yet, so it's good that you're talking about these things, but it's kind of odd that your wife says "in the past, I would have..." So, in the past, HAS she? I don't really care, but it might make a difference to you.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi sjn1069,

My personal vote is that your wife should not go to the other guy's place if you and she are in the midst of an argument (unless she had already made a prior commitment with him to see him at that time). First of all because it only seems fair, after all you have no additional woman to run off to and seek comfort, secondly because you have always worked things out in the past without needing a third party involved. If she needs to take a drive to clear her head that's fine, but visiting the other guy at that time would be inappropriate in my mind.

Maybe your feelings will change eventually, and you will start to feel okay about her seeking out the other guy for comfort (and maybe sex). If you do start to feel okay about that, you can let her know your feelings have changed and re-negotiate that rule.

This is just my vote of course, and it is up to you and your wife what agreement you want to come to. It sounds to me like you are okay about her (when you and she are arguing) seeking out the other guy for comfort, but not for sex. That seems reasonable enough to me, if she's willing to stick to that rule.

An argument is a very delicate time. It is not a time to engage in behaviors that will make one of the people feel much worse. I think the argument should be resolved before she goes to see the other guy. Unless, like I said, she'd already made a promise to see him at that particular time and it just turned out to be a bad time. But even then, I am wondering in my mind if she shouldn't call the guy and say, "We are in the midst of an argument and we need to get it resolved, can I reschedule my time with you?" I'm not sure whether it should be handled that way, but I'm not ruling it out.

Hopefully you and she can work out an agreement that you can both live with, and stick to the agreement. It is good that you are thinking and talking about this contingency ahead of time.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
It's probably best to take things slow if you can. Sounds like you two are in the fortunate position of being able to do so and are able to take the time to go over some of these things in a theoretical context. Most of the time people who are new to this already have a new partner and the puppy love feelings are making everything spiral way too fast.

We do argue, as most people do, and on rare occasions when we've argued one or the other of us has left the house to "cool down". Later when we are both together again and our heads are cooler we are able to talk through our issues and resolve them. We never allow a disagreement to go unresolved.

My curiosity surrounds the nature of these arguments. I call them arguments because a "cool down" period is required in the middle of them. That is not a conversation I would call a disagreement, that's a straight up heated argument and is a red flag that there is a more base line issue not being dealt with.

In my opinion this should be the nature of your investigation, not the visiting of another partner. Regulating what partners do is against my fundamental viewpoint. If my focus is on how to contain their behavior to best suit my feelings I am decidedly making things worse and am ignoring or marginalizing the importance of a real issue. If I'm fighting with my partner that *must* be investigated because there is clearly something going on that is in need of mending.

Basically, I think you're looking at the wrong problem.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Are you saying then that you would be envious that your wife would have another close person to share burdens with and you would not? If so, the solution could be to develop such relationships with family, friends etc and create the support network for yourself to resolve the envy.

Shoot, people could have that support network already in place for their OTHER problems -- life happens. Births, deaths, car issues, house issues, child care emergencies, being sick... people need other people!

As for arguments? I don't argue like that with my spouse any more. That was more in our first few years together when we were still learning how to "fight fair" and resolve conflicts without temper fits as young married 20's people. Like anything else, those kinds of relationship skills are learned and then honed over time.

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_81.htm

is not exactly how we deal with it now, but close enough. A lot cooler and calmer and we've learned to plan ahead so as not to bump into conflict things later down. It's easier to head it off at the pass in the planning process and say "I see where a potential conflict could happen here... we need to sort that out before finalizing the game plan. Have you considered that...."

I would rather my partner not be out driving around while highly emotional. Driving mistakes can happen. I rather they stay home, and I could go out to give them space. Or if they want to be elsewhere go elsewhere then -- to the other partner is fine with me. A friend. Mom's house. Whatever. I can drive you! We can make other arrangements. It depends on the "volume" of their upset.

Having a "time out" to recollect composure when upset is valid -- people can get "too full" or tired and can no longer take things on board. Some things take more than one session to full break down and deal with.

I don't think I'd have as much of a problem with her seeking comfort from another man, but I am afraid of what the act of having sex with him under those conditions may cause me to feel.

What feeling(s) do you fear feeling? Are you fearing she'd be having sex so she can use it later to hurt you? Neener neener style? And how would you know they had sex anyway?

Seems weird to me to have a thing with my husband, he goes to see his lover for comfort and then comes home and announces to the household "I had sex while pissed off at you! Ta da!"

I'd be startled to receive unrelated news like that because to me it would be like "And your sharing this announcement at this time in this fashion is intended to do WHAT exactly to move conflict resolution forward?"

Because it doesn't. And besides... I could have done a lot of things myself in the time he was away. Mowed the lawn. Gone out. Slept. Taken over the world. So what you had sex? Maybe I had sex or masturbated or peed or ate my dinner? How's them apples? Life did not stop just because we had a fuss pot. TADA!

Sheesh.

I'm curious as to why wife is "what iffing" her having sex with lover when over there and asking you for your reaction. Isn't them having a sex share on their tier of relationship? What's it got to do with the conflict problem on YOUR tier of the relationship? The argument thing? Nothing.

Could keep the focus on the problem at hand -- conflict resolution.

  • How your both handle conflict resolution.
  • If info is shared with others, how much information to share or not about personal stuff going on in your tier of relationship in the polymath. And then how that is shared -- orally? In writing? With/without your knowledge that it was shared? Because it is your info too. To me, the hinge is responsible for keeping the TMI wall -- and all players agree how high the wall is. Some like no wall -- some want some privacy.

The only time sex with her lover during conflict time with you would enter into it, is if she plans on using "sex as a weapon" to hurt you or as leverage to get her way in the conflict resolution process. Like... "Let me have my way or I'm leaving to go have sex with my lover and not you!" or something.

And that's not a healthy attitude toward sex or to the people one is in relationship with.

If right now you do not know how you would feel -- say so. Maybe say something like...

"I do not know how I would feel in that situation. I have not experienced that situation before.

If you are asking my preference at this time? Not knowing how I would feel?

I prefer you not have sex. Or at least, not TELL me you had sex in that relationship while over here in our own relationship area we are doing conflict resolution.

Giving me distracting extraneous information from another relationship area does not help me focus or be more present in our relationship area so I can do my part to help move our conflict resolution forward."

HTH!
Galagirl
 
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Helo

New member
A couple foundation blocks with regards to arguing that I have always followed and that have never failed me;

-Arguing over stupid things indicates something else is wrong and neither of you wants to talk about it.

-Arguing never made a relationship happy. You'll never sit back one day with your partner and reminisce fondly about an argument you had. Chances are good you wont even remember most of your arguments. Keep it that way.

-If someone needs to vent, let them.

-Never, ever, EVER go to bed angry and never argue tired.

-Sleeping on the couch is not nearly as bad as it sounds.
 

Octopus

New member
Don't the last 2 contradict each other? Wouldn't you only sleep separately if you were still mid-argument?
 

Helo

New member
Don't the last 2 contradict each other? Wouldn't you only sleep separately if you were still mid-argument?
Sometimes diverting an argument can necessitate sleeping on the couch.
 

Guardian

New member
I would politely suggest you find a comfort zone for yourself and your dearly beloved. A poly relationship is good for those who can handle it, for one who is new or not extremely secure in their relationship it might be a negative influence on the relationship. What is the reason for changing from a mono relationship? If it is to perhaps spice up the relationship or out of boredom, perhaps the two of you should sit and review the relationship and where you want it to go. Judging from your post, it sounds as though your concerned about sharing the relationship, which is quite understandable. Introducing a third person in your case might introduce more argument, insecurity, and eventually more arguments or perhaps resentment. Please, take time to sit and discuss with her why the relationship should change, and possible other steps to fix the relationship. I wish you luck.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
When I'm angry I need to vent. If I don't I can make myself physically ill (if I hold it in for long enough). I try to respect others' desires about WHO I vent to, but ultimately it's my choice. I vent to MC about TGIB. I vent to TGIB about MC. Because they are similar in some ways they often end up providing perspective that I needed (sometimes details are necessary for this, sometimes not. They both trust my discretion and there are no hard and fast rules about what is/is not okay to reveal to the other).

I think it's important to note, though, that they are both extremely supportive of my relationship with the other. I trust that neither of them would take advantage of an issue I'm having in the other relationship. That is my own personal rule regarding venting- vent to someone who cares about you but can also be objective, who is not going to let your anger unduly color their feelings towards the other person.

Sex likely wouldn't be an issue because I'm another of those "I don't feel like sex if I'm upset" folks. In that regard, MC and TGIB probably feel it's in both of their best interests for me to vent and get over my anger as quickly as possible!

In the case of your wife, I'd advise sticking with what's worked for now. If she's managed without comfort and sex from someone else thus far, she can continue to do so, at least until a point in the future when you're far more comfortable with her having sex at all with this hypothetical guy. One hurdle at a time. But it's good to know the possibility exists and will probably come up again sometime.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Good points TGIG. I had to learn that when my lady vents to me about the other guy in our V (she's the hinge), it's just that -- a vent. She doesn't need me to fix the problem, defend her against him, or even say anything bad about him. In fact in a lot of cases, it seems to help her if I suggest what might be his perspective on the disagreement. So being someone's "listening ear" can be an art form sometimes! :)
 

nycindie

Active member
I feel that each relationship should be managed by the people in it. Why should one person have a say over the reason their partner goes to someone else?

Would you be okay if she went to this fictional boyfriend and played cards with him to cool down? Or had him meet her at a bar for a drink? Or talked it out and cried on his shoulder before heading back to you? Is it that anything else would be okay, but just not fucking him? Or is it the fact that you and she would have argued and you want special treatment for that? Would it upset you if she wanted to see him after a particularly happy conversation with you? Would you become upset if, instead of arguing, you and she had the best sex of your life and then later she was so revved up and turned on that she went to him to get some more while you lay there spent?

You see how it is problematic. Are you going to lay down conditions for every possibility there is and whether she can or cannot be with someone else? Maybe she should only see him when she is feeling nothing? Should she be all unemotional and distant with others so that you can be reassured that you are more important than anyone else she has in her life?

Perhaps you aren't ready for poly if you believe there are certain conditions that she should only be turning to someone else for. But this is good stuff to look at in preparation for this shift in your dynamic. Some couples talk about poly for a year or two before ever actually practicing it. There is no reason to rush into it, especially if a theoretical scenario like this felt like a punch in the gut.

You say you don't confide in family or friends when things get tough. Maybe, in preparation for poly, you need to start cultivating more close relationships with friends you can confide in. Maybe you need to start looking at other outlets/activities/hobbies/people so that she isn't your only focus. Maybe, to prepare for poly AND have your current relationship be the best it can be, you should look at how you argue, and see if there are better ways to express or debate heated topics without the need to storm out and cool off.

You need to be strong and to remember that her relationships are her relationships and yours are yours. She is entitled to invest in her relationships and get out of them whatever she needs, according to what feels right to her. Nobody else should be micromanaging the dynamic of any other relationships. You tend to your own, and she tends to hers. All you can do is ask for more of what you need, but when you put limits on what someone else is allowed to have/be/do with her, you are essentially dictating terms of a relationship you are not in and you really have no business trying to run it!
 
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LovingRadiance

Active member
How it works with us.
Nights are spent with Maca, early mornings with GG.
I don't derail my nights with Maca over arguments with GG and I don't derail my mornings with GG over arguments with Maca.

So-there are times when an argument takes place and I am with the other before it is resolved. What happens is what happens. I frequently make love with whichever one I am with & I don't cancel that because I may be in need of fixing an issue with the other.

I also will frequently ask for their advice in resolving a conflict with the other. As much as they claim otherwise, they do know each other well and sometimes see things more eye to eye then I do with either of them.

The key is: I never talk to someone who will try to undermine the relationship I have with the person I am in conflict with. It took time: but both partners are supportive of each others place in my life. So if Indo go to one for comfort regarding a conflict with the other-their form of support is tuned into resolving the conflict-not undermining the relationship.
 

xtrememousey

New member
with our relationship the two that are arguing...usually me and B..... will hash it out in another room away from the kids
 

BoringGuy

Banned
When i get on my Spouse's nerves too much, Spouse drops a refrigerator on my head and says "oops".
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Giggle. Sorry-but the image just left me in stitches.

It left you in stitches? I'm the one who had a large kitchen appliance dropped on me. It isn't as bad as walking down the street minding your own business and being crushed by the random falling grand piano though. But that has nothing to do with poly relationships and conflict resolution so i'll tell that story in the Fireplace sometime so as to avoid hijacking this thread.
 

YouAreHere

Active member
Wondering if BG also has a problem with anvils...
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Wondering if BG also has a problem with anvils...

No problems with them except when the elevator is broken and i have to take the stairs to get to the roof. I think it has something to do with gravity. My research is not finished yet, and i am always accepting new volunteers. Are you saying you might be interested? It doesn't pay, but there are free sandwiches in the waiting room and you get all sidewalk you can eat.
 
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