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Old 01-26-2013, 05:49 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 467

I have loads to say on this topic - apologies in advance!!!

My girlfriend says that if we ever broke up, she'd never date another woman. She says that, in her opinion, she has the "best woman in the entire world", and she wouldn't go through all the f/f issues with anyone else, because it just wouldn't be worth all the Woman Crap. She could definitely relate to what you are saying. She's always been with men. I am her first female relationship.

I actually adore the complexity of women. They can drive me absolutely insane - in both a good and bad way. But men (in general) bore me. I like the challenge of women; the subtleties. To be honest, I even probably like the unpredictability. Perhaps you will grow to love it; perhaps you won't.

If this helps at all....

There are three common conceptions about lesbian relationships. 1. wild arguments, 2. wild sex, 3. wondering where all the wildness went when you're in the midst of Lesbian Bed Death ....

I have to admit that in my experience (and I have dated mostly women) all three things are 'true' to a degree.

I'm going to make generalised statements here; but know that I do not mean them stereotypically. There are of course many, many different kinds of men, women and everything in between. In general, women are more emotion-driven. Even the ones (like my GF) who say they aren't. The sex can be mind-blowingly fantastic. And, yes, Lesbian Bed Death (where sex falls off, because of all the moving in, bonding, talking, being cosy) can and does happen at times.

I've been with my GF for two years now. I'm guessing your relationship is younger than 6 months. Those were the most volatile months for us. Being poly, we quickly saw how our 'fighting' styles with other previous/current partners clashed when it came to the two of us. This caused a lot of friction and it's useful to think about, whatever gender you date. Everyone brings baggage and bad habits from other relationships. If you realise it and start to learn how to relate, things get easier. We used to fight every week - and I'm talking big, ridiculous fights. We now only have a major fight about once every three months. There is hope!

The first step is to research and think about your arguing style together. Is it effective? Constructive? Productive? In general, do you fight because you're trying to communicate, or because you're trying to attack each other? Are you both listening properly? Are you being defensive? Do you work out future solutions at the end of fights?

We came up with key words, trigger words and analogies to help us fight more productively. We realised that, actually, fighting doesn't have to be a bad thing. Fighting, if productive, can air out the bad stuff to make room for the good. We call this "knocking out the bad bricks" - we're building a house; issues are the rotting bricks that will make it crumble if not addressed properly - discussing, even heatedly, can eliminate these and replace them with good, solid bricks. Eventually, you should get to a place where you feel better after an argument than you did before, most of the time.

Your number one goal during a disagreement should be to raise an issue, or hear an issue, with the end goal of UNDERSTANDING why someone did something. If you're entering it with the goal to win or be proved right, take a step back and think again.

Our key words are things that make us laugh when we notice the other person being cranky (i.e. "got crabs?"). This helps us to avoid the petty arguments.

We take a break if things get heated. We step away for 10-15 minutes, have a cigarette, play a game on our phone, and come back calmer.

We try different methods of communication - if it's a long-term, recurring issue, we try writing it out in a letter. Sometimes even going to a public place, going for a coffee together, can help keep things calm.

Sometimes, emotions run riot. Shoes have been thrown at walls. Feet have stomped. When this happens, we sincerely apologise for our behaviour and let it go. We're not robots - sometimes frustration gets the better of us. Afterwards, we laugh about how ridiculous we were.

The number one thing I've learnt about women and arguing (even, women in general) is that we need to be LISTENED to. 99.9% of the time, arguments occur because two people have two different PERSPECTIVES. I'll use an example. I'll make it basic, but hopefully it will outline things.

I was cranky with my GF the other morning, because she'd picked a fight with me the night before, launched into me and left me shell-shocked. (MISTAKE 1 = going to bed on a fight) She'd gotten everything off her chest, but I found it futile to talk back, because every time I tried, she'd tell me I wasn't listening, wasn't understanding, wanted to be proved right, etc. (MISTAKE 2 = one-sided communication). In the morning, she asked me what was wrong: my answers were short and snappy. (MISTAKE 3 = passive aggressive "I'm fine" woman behaviour). This caused her to push me to talk. I didn't want to. She barraged me until I snapped. (MISTAKE 4 = don't push it; if they say "i'm fine", leave them alone - pushing spurs aggression and encourages passive aggressive behaviour). The rest was an emotional, volatile mess that came out of nothing. She went to bed and left it over 10 hours before contacting me again. (MISTAKE 5 = letting it fester; cold shoulder).

A more effective technique, which works for us usually (as I said; we fight once every three months now, not every three days!) would have been:
1. Don't go to bed on a fight - stay until it is resolved; or make it known that you would like to discuss it further in the morning
2. Don't end an argument with anything still festering on your mind; get it out there, or you will hang onto it
3. Avoid passive-aggressive "I'm fine." behaviour. Either spit it out calmly or try to put on a happy face if you really don't want to talk.
4. Don't push each other to talk; don't jump on your partner if they pull the old "I'm fine." routine. Say "ok honey, no worries' and pay no attention until they are ready to get over it, or communicate
5. If it all goes to shit, don't avoid each other. Make up like grown-ups. If you're not ready to talk and need space, communicate that softly. Don't just not call, or walk out, leaving your partner to stress for hours. Be kind and considerate to each other.

Yep, I've been in the position of trying to help and being made out to be the Devil. I'll say "do you want to talk, you seem upset?" - GF: "there's nothing to talk about" - me: "ok baby, just know that i'm here for you if you need me" - GF: "just leave me alone" - me: "ok sweetie, I'll give you some space" - GF: "sure. I'll just deal with it on my own. fine. you're being about as helpful as a slap in the face" - me: (WTF???)

(that's a genuine transcript)

This happens because emotions cloud judgement. Poor judgement means poor communication. My GF calls it wounded dog syndrome. Imagine you're a dog who has been attacked. You're in pain. Suddenly, a woman comes towards you and is all up in your space, making you claustrophobic. You are likely to lash out and feel sorry for yourself. We've all had moments where we've felt so incredibly hard done by and ohhhh woe is me. Sometimes, our partners seem to have done the most horrific thing in the world to us.

When your girlfriend comes to you with a problem, try to think of her like a wounded dog. Whatever her issue is; however rational or irrational, she's hurt about something. Hurt comes out as anger. Try to focus on the hurt.

This is how we try to agree to structure our discussions:
grenade = person with issue
field = receiver of issue

1. Approach the field calmly, asking to talk, using "I feel" NOT "you did this"
2. If things are already tense, someone needs to suggest stepping away. The other person needs to respect this and NOT push!
3. Try to stay calm. This is the listening portion.
4. Grenade talks first. Field sits and LISTENS.
5. Field points out any ways they can understand and empathise. "Oh, I can completely understand why you feel that way. Thank you for explaining that to me"
6. Now it's the field's turn to talk back.
7. If the field has screwed up and they know it, it's time to apologise.
8. If it's the age-old different perspective thing, it's time for the grenade to sit and listen, whilst the field explains their perspective or actions.
9. Have we reached an understanding? Do we know *why* we felt/acted/reacted a certain way?
10. Have we gotten everything off our chest? No? Keep talking.
11. What can we do better next time? Think practical. field: "Next time, darling, I'll text you if I'm going to be late." grenade: "Thank you. Next time, I'll try to remember that you are forgetful and trust that you aren't being intentionally rude"
12. I love you snuggle bunny. Hugs, kisses. Go and have fun.

Other than the arguing side of things, relating to women in general may take some getting used to. It is usually very emotions-based. The old cliche of "tell a man a problem and he'll fix it; tell a woman and she'll talk about it" is pretty true. My girlfriend and I have been together for two years and often still jabber away on the phone about mindless crap for 5 hours a night. I read a study once that said for every 10 words men use, women use 30-60.

There are many wonderful things about being with a woman. They are often sensitive to YOUR needs and emotions more than men are. They usually get subtleties. They like to talk about who you chatted with at work, what drama you have going on, what your thoughts and feelings are.

Give it some time. If it's not the right match for you, you'll realise it. But relationships of any kind take work. Hopefully you'll see things improve and improve.
Me: 32f, evolving

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha

Last edited by sparklepop; 01-26-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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