How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said Arguments

How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said ArgumentsDid you know there’s a hidden danger in trusting your own memory?

Most of us think of our memory like a personal video recorder. When you remember something, it’s like sitting down in the theater of your own mind and pressing play.

Except, that’s not how memory works. Research Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus knows first hand.

When Loftus was 44 years old, her uncle told her that as a child she discovered her mother in the pool after an accidental drowning. Loftus had no memory of seeing her mom’s body, but she trusted her uncle.

Before long, she started remembering. She could picture details of the day. How her mom was dressed. Even the lights of the police cars.

Which is odd because, as it turns out, her uncle was mistaken. Loftus didn’t witness any of it. Instead, her mind created memories to match what her uncle said.[1]

That’s memory for you. We think of it as an accurate recording, but Loftus is famous for her research that shows how bad eye-witness accounts can be.  It turns out, our memories are surprisingly malleable.[2]

Memories change over time. They morph and combine. Sometimes we add to them. Sometimes we edit details out. Even otherwise honest folks have been known to fabricate entire scenes, believing something happened that never did.

Okay, so there’s A LOT we could explore here, but let’s narrow our focus. How does this affect your relationship?

That depends entirely on how much you let it.

Below are two tips for minimizing the impact of less-than-accurate memories—yours AND his! If you’re tired of he-said-she-said fights, keep reading.

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How to Know if He’s Worth It . . . On the First Date

How to Know if He’s Worth ItWant to play a fun (and completely immature) game? Fantastic. Answer the following question.

What’s the most ridiculous reason you’ve ever given for breaking up?

There’s a viral post making the rounds on social media. It includes some priceless answers to that question. Here are some of the ones that made me laugh (or cringe) the most.

  • When he made a mistake, he’d say “my bag” instead of “my bad.”
  • He pronounced the “L” in salmon.
  • He wore jean shorts.
  • He told me I was sitting in his cat’s chair.

Funny, right? But let’s explore the deeper side of this thing. Do you really think any of these people broke up because of the stuff listed above?

Of course not. Each justification is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In other words, if your dream guy wore the tackiest pair of jean shorts imaginable, you’d be embarrassed, but you wouldn’t ditch him.

In a sense, dating is a process of elimination. We get to know other people until we decide we’re no longer a good match. And we keep doing that until we meet the one.

But sometimes it’s hard to see it’s time to move on. After all, even short dating relationships represent an investment of time and emotion. It’s not always easy to walk away.

What if there was a way to determine early on if a guy even stands a shot at being a good match? Like, on the first date.

There is.

In fact, there’s ONE THING that determines, more than anything else, if real romance is possible.

If this one thing happens on a first date, there’s potential. If it doesn’t, don’t wait for him to ask you to get out of his cat’s chair. Just move on.

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What Men Need More than Pep Talks When Feeling Stressed

how to help your man when he's stressed outMany of the women I know can give a motivational speech better than any keynote speaker.

If you’re having a tough time, these women are the ones you want by your side.

They’re supportive, encouraging, and positive. When they see that someone is feeling down, they make it their job to bring that person back up again.

I think that’s wonderful. I value having people like that in my life.

But I’m also aware that their supportive nature can backfire on them … particularly in romantic relationships.

Men don’t always appreciate motivational speeches. They don’t necessarily want help to feel better. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need a woman’s support.

In a minute, I’ll share with you an extremely effective way to help the man in your life when he’s going through a tough time.

But first, let’s look at why men and women respond to support so differently.

We live in a world where everyone is supposed to be happy and having fun all the time. Social media captures the highlights of people’s lives.  Which makes us feel bad when we compare our lives to their seemingly exciting lives, full of funny and interesting posts.

Things do get hard at times. But, because it’s not necessarily socially appropriate to share those things, most people don’t advertise what they’re going through.

As a woman, you want to know what your friends are going through so you can be there for them. You don’t want them to hide it from you. It would feel as if they’re shutting you out.

But, if your friend is a man, think twice.

Men and women have very different ways of dealing with stress.

Researchers have found that men are more likely to fight or flee. This can mean getting argumentative with you just because things are going bad at work, or withdrawing to his man cave and communicating only with grunts.

Women are more likely to tend and befriend. Talking it through and engaging in healthy self-care activities (yes, shopping counts) can get a woman through most things.

The stage is set for trouble when a woman assumes that “tend and befriend” is the best stress-management strategy for everyone, including her man.

She knows something is wrong, but he won’t talk to her. He keeps finding excuses to avoid spending time with her.

When she reaches out to help, only to be met by a wall of male resistance, she feels hurt. And then she starts getting mad.

how to help your man when he's stressed outWho does he think he is? Why get into a relationship in the first place if you’re not going to talk to each other? She knows he’s withholding something, and that’s not okay. Honesty is the foundation of a good relationship.

Fair enough. Now let’s see what he’s thinking.

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Stop Old Arguments from Wrecking Your Relationship Rhythm

Stop Old Arguments from Wrecking Your Relationship RhythmTry this quick experiment. I’ll explain why in a bit.

Think about the last time your boyfriend did something really irritating. For just a moment, 30 seconds tops, remember every detail you can.

Got a specific annoyance in mind? Good.

Okay, the next part is the important part. How do you feel RIGHT NOW?

The original emotions came back, right? You spent less than a minute thinking about something frustrating, and you felt yourself getting upset all over again.

You’re probably not surprised by that. I’m sure you already know that when you remember something, good or bad, it’s like reliving it. [i] The feelings always come back.

And, boy-oh-boy, are there times when that can wreak havoc. Like in the middle of a fight.

When conflict breaks out, it’s only natural to think of other times something similar happened. But when you do, it makes everything about the current conflict messier.

Silent Man - Relationship RhythmIn part, that’s because you’re piling negative emotions on yourself. Now you’re upset about two things instead of just one. But there’s another downside.

Once you think of ONE other time he’s been a…ahem…bonehead, you’ll likely think of SEVERAL other times.

In the world of psychology, this is called “kitchen sinking.”[ii] That means throwing everything into the current argument you can think of, including all kinds of past pain.

And, yes, guys do it, too.

Kitchen sinking will make any conflict much harder to navigate.

What’s more, a recent study[iii] found that even if you don’t actually mention past irritations during a fight, just thinking about them is as bad as bringing them up!

Luckily, there are two surefire ways to keep the past in the past.

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