Welcome to Ask Anka, a weekly column where sex therapist Anka Radakovich dives into your most intimate issues with advice and tips to help you live your best sex and relationships life. Have a question for Anka? Drop us a DM (no fear, we'll keep it anonymous) on Instagram @Brides.
What does he mean when he says he doesn't want to fight but stays mad at you?
When a guy tells you he doesn’t want to fight, it usually means he doesn’t want to deal with the drama of the fight: yelling, crying, screaming, etc. But all you have to do to get him to start resolving arguments is change your approach. Start by calmly discussing disagreements instead of escalating things—it’s so much more fun to be a lover, not a fighter.
Here's how to get your partner to open up and talk things through in a constructive manner.
Never Go to Bed Angry
This was first said by English poet William Congreve way back in the 1700s, and it still holds true. One of the worst things a couple can do is not resolve a fight. Holding a grudge is one of the most damaging things for any relationship and can lead to further resentment. (This doesn't mean you can't take a few moments to cool off, just don't let the cooling off turn into a full-blown grudge.) Anger is toxic and grows into something bigger than it really is. And sometimes “the fight” is less about the issue and more about who is right. Both people need to forgive and forget.
How to Make Up: Try it on Sunday, Funday
First, wait until you are both relaxed, like on a Sunday afternoon, rather than when you both come home from work and are stressed out. Sit down with him and say, “I hope you’re still not mad at me because I don’t want to fight, but I do want to discuss what made you mad.” Let him talk and tell you what bothered him. Don’t interrupt; let him talk. Don’t resort to dramatic tactics, just discuss it, resolve it, and move on. End the talk with a big hug.
How Not to Get a Divorce: The Four Predictors of Divorce
John Gottman is a 76-year-old psychological researcher and therapist who has studied marriage stability and divorce prediction for over four decades. His studies have predicted, with 87.4 percent accuracy, which couples would divorce within the first five years of marriage.
According to his studies, there are four major emotional reactions that are destructive and act as the four predictors to a divorce. The four relationship killers are: (1) criticism of the other person’s personality traits; (2) defensiveness; (3) stonewalling; and (4) contempt. Among the four, he considers contempt the most important. It leads to resentment and one of you secretly “hating” the other. Stonewalling occurs when one person withdraws from the conversation, refuses to engage and shuts down. (Eight-five percent of stonewallers are men!) Criticizing something about your partner’s personality or having your personality criticized can also have a lingering effect, and defensiveness by either partner doesn’t resolve the conflict. The good news is that awareness of the “furious four” can save your relationship.
So How Do We Keep It Real?
When trying to resolve a fight, listen fully before responding, be understanding rather than judgmental, take partial responsibility if needed, use humor rather than sarcasm, and ask your partner what they really want for the future. Opening up and being vulnerable together is very powerful. It will bring you closer and create more intimacy. It will make you a “team.” And hopefully, once you resolve your issues and work them out, the only thing you will be yelling at each other will be, “Let’s have hot make-up sex!”
Anka Radakovich is a couple’s counselor, certified sexologist, and sex therapist. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.