With modern technology, there’s always the potential for disaster, and never more so than when it’s placed in the hands of a warring couple. So why do so many of us allow our arguments to be played out over texts, emails and Facebook?
The simple fact is, mobile phones, laptops and the likes make arguing easier; though rarely any more effective. If you come home to a pile of dishes your partner promised would be cleaned, the first reaction is often to send an angry text that vents your frustration in an instant. And if a final demand notice arrives while your other half is at work, why wait to let them know what a downer it’s put on your day?
The problem with text arguments is tone. Difficult to read and easily misinterpreted, the tone can allow a reasonable comment to escalate into an ill-judged attack if one party misconstrues it.
What’s more, using technology to communicate can reinforce what is known as passive-aggressive tendencies if one partner insists “nothing is wrong” during face to face discussion, but allows their real feelings to come out over emails and texts. Imagine how frustrating this is for the partner who feels an argument can only be resolved in person.
Think about the times you and your partner have made up after a disagreement. What ended the argument? A knowing smile? Gentle touch? Perhaps just looking into their eyes was enough to spark memories of all the reasons you love them. None of these positives are present during a text fight; the squabbling can just go on and on.
But what about all those situations when face to face communication just isn’t working? Perhaps your partner shuts down when certain topics are brought up? Or maybe you find you break down in tears and fail to make your point when faced with a confrontation?
If your partner has a tendency to shut down during arguments, you might find a reasoned email is a good way to express and acknowledge different points of view. Likewise, writing things out when you’re feeling emotional ensures your point doesn’t get lost in all the upset.
In these instances, it’s important to allow yourself a ‘cooling-off’ period. Type out your email immediately and you risk making impulsive, negative comments that your partner can hold against you for arguments to come, thanks to the permanence of email records.
Instead, why not list the points you’d like your partner to consider the issue at hand. By sending them in an email you then give each other time to think about the reasons for being angry as well as ways to resolve them before meeting for a calm, face to face discussion rather than a full-on argument.
Just remember the crucial issue of timing. If an email regarding last night’s bust-up hits your partner’s inbox during a hectic day at the office, they’re unlikely to be equipped to deal with the issues raised. In fact, it might just tip them over the edge. Pick your moment, and don’t hit the send button until you know they’ve got the time to deal with it.
Other articles in the series:
- Facebook-proof your relationship
- The web and your relationship
- Conflict – the 4 Ds