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Make-up sex can be the most intense romantic experience of your life. Sadly, it takes the apocalypse to get there. Arguments are emotionally taxing and potentially catastrophic. If quarrels are inevitable—and they are—keep your costs low: Learn to fight your way gently to a toe-curling, earth-shattering, multiorgasmic cease-fire.
Here’s how to get to yes, yes, oh, yes.
Repeat after her. When she says, “You were supposed to do X,” you have one line: “You think I was supposed to X.” This makes her feel listened to and validated. The fight is half over once you repeat her premise. Obi Wan Kenobi never said it, but the Force works on the strong-minded, too.
Good arguments have rhythm: Acknowledge her point of view. Briefly explain yours. Acknowledge her point of view again. “Gosh, I can see how X seems neglectful, but that wasn’t my intention, and I’m sad X came across that way.” Repeat it like the verses of a song: ABA.
Don’t point a finger and make accusations—it only raises the temperature, so she’ll double down on defense. Neutralize her opposition by beginning every single sentence with the same two words: “I feel.” Start with your feelings and she’ll be reminded you have them. Women love men with feelings.
She might cry. Crying isn’t about manipulating you; it’s about feeling sad and being vulnerable. Recognize her tears as a call for tenderness, and answer the phone: Take a time-out, then be warm—you’ll be a decent person and run up the relationship points at the same time.
You see a nail. You have a hammer. Why not use it? Because she doesn’t want a solution; she wants you to listen to her talk about the nail. Talk and sex are connected for women—you can’t get to the naked resolution without the talk. Let her talk, listen, listen more, fast-forward to the horizontal reconciliation. It’ll be infinitely easier to fix things—to hammer that nail—after you’ve both enjoyed a good pounding.
Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean “you’re right and I’m wrong,” it means you’re sorry. And you are. You love her, she’s in pain, that blows. Never use the conditional tense in an apology, “I’m sorry if you feel this way,” that’s just passive- aggressive jackassery. Instead, the script is: “I’m sorry you feel this way.”
If you’re conflict avoidant, establish good habits. Every day, each of you swallows the bitter pill of naming one little thing that annoys you, followed by a chaser of one thing that makes you feel loved. This quick routine lets you share info about a problem, but not necessarily the emotion attached to it. It’s like a vaccine—a daily dose of a poison that might otherwise kill you. Relationship fights aren’t zero-sum; she doesn’t have to lose for you to win. You’re both better off winning. So tell her she’s right, and make it easy for her to say you’re right. Then make out while you make up. Score!