Last night I had a fight with my ex-husband.
Here is a laundry list of the things I did wrong:
1. Upon hearing something that I disagreed with, I reacted defensively, mostly in an attempt to get him to change his mind. This is a completely useless way to react to anyone.
2. I decided that what he was suggesting was ridiculous, so I logicked away his feelings until it was a non-issue for me. And therefore decided there was nothing to fight about.
3. I threw in some frustration (and maybe spite) at the fact that our possible conversation topics were dwindling and that next time I saw him I was only going to mention the weather.
4. I did not listen to anything he said. In fact, I actually felt myself block from my hearing something he said that I didn’t want to hear.
In my defence, I called him afterwards and explained all of the above, and apologised.
He was very gracious and also conceded to some things that he did which weren’t useful.
I don’t know if it is possible to change what I did and said as I said it. The whole thing unfolded out of emotion and frustration and confusion.
In other words, I don’t think you can avoid “fighting”. Unless you are some zen guru. Perhaps I could have been very mature and thought through everything as I said it, but that is quite a lot to ask.
At best you can identify that the situation is intense and emotional, and withdraw for a “think”.
Hypothetically, you could do this together. Call the time out and have a “think”, then spend some time trying to find the actual issue.