5 Ways To Kiss And Make Up After A Couple Fight

Did you encounter a major bump in the relationship? Cosmo gives you tips on restoring the peace effectively.
Tricia, 28, emphatically complains to her amigas, “I hate him! There is absolutely no use reasoning with Dan! He doesn’t understand how I feel!” She sighs, “It seems like we can’t resolve anything at all. We just can’t see eye-to-eye.”

Familiar scenario? Let’s face it: Every couple fights. The reason could range from something as petty as what dish to order for dinner to something more serious like a third party in your relationship--heck, it can even blow to national scandal proportions. Fact is, couples do and will clash. No two people are alike, as they say, so differences in opinion will lead to conflicts. “Men evolved with a completely different job description,” say Allan and Barbara Pease, authors of Why Men Lie and Women Cry. “The concept of focusing on a relationship is not a natural part of the male psyche, thinking or scale of priorities.”

But who wants to fight all the time? Cosmo comes to the rescue and gives you handy hints on how to increase couple communication and hopefully lead to a congenial, cordial kiss-and-make-up between you and your honey. Heck, if even Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao can try and patch things up, surely you can!

1. Stop. Look. Listen.

Before completely exploding at your man (as most femmes are wont to do), take a step back and look at the situation—or problem—from a different, more objective POV. This has been echoed in countless self-help books, and Cosmo agrees. Robert Bramson, who penned Coping with Difficult People, advises, “Assess the situation.” Sometimes, we become so enmeshed in our irritation over the seeming helplessness and inability of our guy to comprehend where our issues are stemming from, that we fail to take on things from his own angle.

Just as careful drivers follow the “Stop, look, listen” sign, so should you if you’ve reached an impasse with your guy. Go do some objective tango on your own first and check if what’s happening “is temporarily bringing out the worst in an ordinarily non-difficult person,” Bramson notes. Is this issue something that you’ve been constantly arguing about since time immemorial? Or is this something completely new? Take a moment to ponder, and try out this exercise: Jot down your feelings on a piece of paper (with this, be as free-flowing as you want!) and pour out your thoughts, bad feelings, and anxieties in a no-holds-barred manner. Leave it for a few hours—or days, if you like—then go back and read it again once your negative feelings have settled down. This way, you’ll have an easier time thinking things through.

“A wise friend advised me to do the same thing,” shares Melanie, a 26-year-old bank teller. “I’ve read about it in some self-help books but I never really believed it would work until my friend told me. I thought it might help, and it did! After venting out my feelings on paper, I reviewed it and realized that some of my feelings were selfish. So when I talked to my boyfriend, I was cool-headed na.”

By learning to stop, look, and listen, you’ll feel calmer and more composed once you’re ready to approach your guy. And by imbibing that kind of demeanor you when you sit down to talk to him, your guy won’t go into defensive-aggressive mode, either.

2. Formulate Your Plan Of Action

Since you are the girlfriend, you obviously know your guy best. Despite the thousands of nuggets of wisdom you’ll be getting from friends left and right, you know which tactic or approach will work best to reach that mutual understanding between you and him. John Gray, author of Mars and Venus on a Date, suggests what he calls “planned intimacy.” This can connote a lot of things, but mostly, it refers to pigeonhole-ing a schedule or a particular setting where the “purpose is for a man to listen to his partner’s feelings and understand her needs.”

The place could be your favorite restaurant (take note that it should have a quiet, chilled out ambiance unlike that of a crowded bistro or bar), a place in a park, or some nearby out-of-town place like Tagaytay where you can really address the issue and even let loose a few tears (if you’re the emotional type) without the risk of public humiliation. Make sure that the place isn’t riddled with distractions, just to ensure that your guy will give you his complete attention. Gray writes that men naturally have “tunnel vision,” so if a woman “persists in communicating, she can help a man become aware of the relationship problems that his tunnel vision prevents him from seeing.”

Read the next of Tip #2 on the next page.
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Be careful not to nag him into doing this, though. If your man reluctantly accepts your invitation for a talk, bring up the matter cautiously, but firmly. If your man appears to be agreeable but still wary, be sweet and gentle.

“Mike is very artistic. He paints, does graphic design, loves music, and writes,” reveals Beth, an accountant in her 20s. “He’s not the talkative type, so when we had this huge fight that had us ignoring each other for weeks, I knew that the best way to ‘reach’ him would be through a letter, a poem, or a sketch. So I wrote him a letter, then asked him to read it with me in our neighborhood park. I kept quiet while he was reading it. When he finally finished, he looked at me and I could see his willingness to iron out our issues.”

Beth was in a good position to figure out what sort of medium or approach was best to be able to communicate with Mike effectively, and she did based on empirical knowledge and her instincts. Same goes for you and your guy. Just as you know which buttons to push to annoy the hell out of him, you also know how to woo him back and make him metaphorically stand up and pay attention.

And keep in mind Gray’s words about a man’s and a woman’s needs in a relationship, listed below:

MAN’S NEEDS:

a. To be loved
b. To be accepted
c. To be appreciated
d. To be trusted

WOMAN’S NEEDS:

a. To be loved
b. To be cared for
c. To be understood
d. To be respected

3. Talk Is Not Cheap

We all know and have been told dozens of times that the most important thing in making a relationship work is having open, honest communication with your guy. However, being honest doesn’t translate to being brutally frank—a big no-no. Gray says that a woman must “practice sharing her negative feelings before they have built up,” meaning she must learn how to “share her feelings and needs without resentment.”

So ditch the primadonna dialect and, more importantly, beating around the bush. As Bob Berkowitz, author of What Men Won’t Tell You But Women Need to Know, puts it, “Women have a knack for sending and receiving signals. Most men aren’t built that way. Why? One theory is that…[men] take events at face value.”

Take this cue from Louise, 30, a call center agent. “I’ve learned to condition myself so that when I talk to my boyfriend Jao, I’m direct and straightforward without coming off as too harsh. It’s thinking like a man without losing the essence of what I want to say,” she says. “It worked for me, and it worked for him, too. I mean, he can tell me straight-out whenever he’s unhappy or needs this kind of lambing from me, so fair’s fair. I give what I get.”

Don’t expect your guy to be a mind reader. If you encounter the same hassles with your friends or even your mom, then you shouldn’t expect your man to know what’s on your mind all the time—even if he’s your soulmate.
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4. Compromise

Once you’ve talked it through, convince your man that both of you need to reach a resolution to avoid going through the same argument in the next era of your life as a couple. And with that, it spells out C-O-M-P-R-O-M-I-S-E.

Gray says that “men and women see the world differently,” yet don’t lose hope, because there’s always going to be a happy medium that will make both of you, well, happy. But how can this balance be reached?

“To find balance, a person needs to understand, accept, appreciate, and respect both sides of himself or herself, feminine or masculine,” Gray adds.

Girls have both masculine and feminine sides (remember the X and Y chromosomes?). But don’t let yourself do all the work—that’s not considered compromise, that’s sacrifice! If you’ve followed tip number three, then you and your honey have both reached that stage where you can discuss and agree on the next step.

Julie and Carlo’s relationship took a major turn for the better when they decided to have a “negotiation” of sorts. “Carlo hated the fact that I loved to go out and gimik. He’s the square-ish type who’s also a homebody and feels more comfortable at home. I tried not to let that bother me but when he blew up at me for going out five straight nights in a row, I also got mad. But when we both calmed down, however, we agreed to compromise. He’d go out with me at least once a week, and I’d limit my other gimiks to twice a week. And since we really love each other, we both don’t feel that what we’re doing is such a huge sacrifice. In fact, the way I see it, it’s not even a sacrifice. It’s actually good for both of us—he gets to go out and experience his latent extrovert self, and I get to experience the joy of having quality time with my own self.”

The bottom line is love. And the willingness to adjust and make leeway for changes that will benefit both of you.

5. Live And Let Live

This means to “stop wishing they were different,” Bramson translates. Wake up from your Disney dream and face reality. You can’t expect him to change overnight, just as you yourself can’t morph into his Angelina Jolie ideal ASAP. It doesn’t mean lowering your expectations, but accepting him for who he is.

“When Tim and I got together, we were both working in the same company, so I didn’t mind waiting up for him when he was working overtime,” Mary, 28, a banking officer, shares. “But when I moved to a different company, I learned how difficult it was to be able to get quality time with him. He was just too much into his work! Then I remembered why I fell in love with him. His ambition attracted me to him, and his drive was one of the qualities I really admired in him. I finally talked to him and told him about my feelings—and the good thing is, he listened. We’re fine now—he’s making an effort to see me more often, and I’ve stopped being the clingy girlfriend who’d always demand that he spend his free time with me.”

Once you start resenting your man for his so-called flaws, juggle your memory and recall why you fell in love with him in the first place.
You’ll discover that the thing you hate most about him right now is actually the reason—or one of the reasons—you started liking him. Bramson adds, “Blaming isn’t changing.” So you have to cope with how your man is, and he, in turn, has to do the same for you. If you stamp down on your control-freak tendencies and be honest with your man, you definitely won’t have any catastrophic problems when arguing amicably with him.
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