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post #15 of Old 08-26-2001
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On board conflicts

Another lesson in resolving conflicts taught to me by my first wife a bit too late to save that marriage is "Its not what it is, its what it feels like." Guys tend to think of conflicts as solely being about solving some problem. So, for example, when a woman feels powerless on board, a guy''s first response might be to try to give her some power, "You can pick the cushion colors." is a real classic guy response.

The problem is that this response really ignores the feeling, in this case ''feeling powerless'', may have less to do with having real powers on board and more to do with how the she is spoken to and involved in the processes on board. In other words less to do with how things actually happen and more about how it feels like they happen.

In my 20''s, I could not get this idea. My immediate response was to try to do a quick fix to the ''problem''. Now I find myself listening for the ''feel'' word, and when I hear it or sense its there somewhere, I stop to ask questions and try to understand if perhaps there is something more than the simple problem that appears on the surface.

So guys the next time you hear, "I feel...." or "I was hurt by..." and you ask in a classic guy way," Give me an example.", don''t focus on why you think you might be right in that case, but on what you may have done to cause you S.O. to feel that way and more significantly look for ways to not create emotion again. The wife you save may be your own!
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