Archive for Stop Fighting

Conflict between people can be viewed in very general terms, i.e.,  as a fight or battle. The word conflict may lead you to think of a nasty fight with your spouse, or a mild argument between business partners.  Regardless of how mild or severe, most conflicts in business and marriage are rooted in power struggles.  In other words, who gets to make the decisions?

Conflict arises from many sources but at its core conflict stems from differences – whether these differences reflect disagreement over values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, desires or goals.  In business and in marriage, these differences may appear trivial until they trigger a strong personal feeling, or a deep personal need to feel respected, valued, secure and/or a need for greater intimacy.

Conflict is an inevitable part of life; many people view conflict in negative terms. I find it helpful to think of conflict from a positive perspective since conflict provides your business and your marriage with the opportunity for growth. Conflict presents an opportunity to develop deeper more meaningful relationships based on the ability to understand and respect differences – creating trust. When you can successfully resolve conflict in any relationship (your marriage or your business) trust builds. It’s this very type of trust which is the foundation for success in your business because it creates trust among your colleagues and your clients. It creates success in your marriage because it strengthens the emotional bond between partners which enhances intimacy.

Below are 5 tools for conflict resolution that apply as equally to your  business as it does to your marriage.

1. Acknowledge that the conflict exists – sounds like common sense; however, I have seen marriages fall apart because either one, or both partner(s) refused to acknowledge the existence of a problem;  many businesses have declined for failure to recognize a conflict within the organization or a conflict between what the client wants and what the company thinks the client wants.  Failure to acknowledge conflict puts your marriage and your business on the fast track for failure.

2. Communicate effectively – failure to effectively communicate creates misunderstandings and misperceptions.  Verbal and non-verbal communication along with the ability to actively listen will allow for the appropriate sharing of information – minimizing the chances for any misunderstandings to escalate the conflict.  Be cognizant of verbal and non-verbal cues and address any ambiguity between them to insure people are saying what they mean and meaning what they say.  Use your active listening skills – hearing what someone is saying to you is not the same as listening to what someone is saying.
Note: more than 50% of all communication occurs non-verbally so it is imperative you actively listen for what is not being said.

3. Take responsibility –  Many times conflict can only be resolved with a change in our behavior and/or attitude.  Yes, often we can be the only person that resolves conflict in some situations because we are either at the heart of the conflict or we are being totally unreasonable, rigid and unrelenting about our position within the conflict.  Be realistic and remember there is no such thing as a one-handed clap.  If there is conflict in your business or in your marriage – you are as much responsible for the existence of the conflict as anyone else.

4. Resolve to make conflict resolution a priority.  We all know people who thrive on conflict – sad but true. In your marriage and your business, be determined to resolve conflict from the perspective of what is good for the business and what is good for your relationship- instead of being “right” at all costs.  Do not make the mistake of winning the battle only to lose the war.

5. Compromise &  Negotiate – Compromise and negotiation is based on understanding the other person’s position.  Understanding does not mean you are in agreement; rather it means you understand what their position is based on where they are coming from.  Compromise and negotiation is the most effective response to conflict in your business and your relationship because all parties gain something – leaving all parties feeling heard and empowered. Compromise and negotiation can only be reached if the above 4 conflict resolution skills are artfully employed.

Conflict can be seen from a positive perspective because once conflict has been resolved, all parties will feel secure with the knowledge that their relationships (in business and marriage) can survive challenges and disagreements.  View conflict as an opportunity for growth through adversity.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Every year you resolve NOT to do it. You promise yourself you do not want to always be fighting with your partner about the credit card bills. In fact, you promised your self last year that 2010 would be the year you finally stop fighting about money! And yet here you are, once again, fighting, bickering, yelling at each other, or giving each other the silent treatment about all the money that was spent during the holidays. Well what’s done is done! But to avoid this nasty scene for the rest of the New Year – and the rest of your relationship – read below and I will reveal to you 3 simple secrets to finally stop fighting about money in the New Year!

  1. Communicate your financial goals. Many couples “assume” they and their partner are on the same financial page with regard to their financial goals as a couple. This can be both a financial and emotional mistake. The best way to avoid fighting about money in your relationship is to very clearly and very specifically communicate your financial goals for the year. And write these goals done. Make a list of what you would like your money to be spent on – individually and as a couple – and then discuss how much money you want to spend on those items. This is not the same as discussing how much money you have to spend on those items. What you want to spend and what you have to spend can be two totally different numbers. Be certain to make that distinction – which leads me to secre t#2.
  1. Create a Budget. Once you have successfully communicated your financial goals – common sense suggests you create a budget together to successfully reach these goals. But do not just make a budget as a couple – you must also create a budget separate from your “relationship budget” so you account for your individual spending. This way –all the money you budget for is not just tied to your financial goals as couple, but also reflects your financial goal individually. Yes we need to cooperate as a couple when it comes to spending money, but we do not want to feel as if we are a financial slave to our relationship budget. In addition, be certain you have some wiggle room for discretionary spending – which is the preamble for secret #3.
  1. Re-Visit your Budget throughout the year. It would be terrific if we could set a budget and stick to it; however, even though a healthy budget will have provisions for emergencies, we should re-visit our budget every few months throughout the year to be certain both you and your partner are staying “on” budget. Also, maybe a great investment opportunity comes along that you could not possibly anticipate and therefore, did not budget for. Or maybe an illness or sudden job loss might have occurred. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it – so re-visit your budget with your partner throughout the year so you can tweak your financial goals as is necessary.

Communicating your financial goals, creating a budget and re-visiting that budget periodically are 3 simple steps you can take to stop always fighting about money in the New Year!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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In order to make 2011 the best year – ever – for your relationship, the most important thing we must do is not take our loved ones for granted. Human nature being what it is, we tend to take the things we have and the ones we love for granted. This is the kiss of death for your relationship. That being said, let’s start with the #1 way to make 2011 your best year yet:

  1. Prioritize your relationship. It sounds so simple and easy to do, and it is, IF you DO IT! Haven’t you noticed how life has a way of getting in the way of your relationship? We are all guilty of this. You know – your job, the bills, the kids, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, even your favorite TV show finds a way of creeping up on us and taking away all our “free” time, including the time we have to spend with our partner. Try really hard and don’t allow this to happen to your relationship. Life seems to have taken on such a hectic pace. Slow it down – it’s easy if you try – and spend quality time with the one you love. Even if that means doing nothing but just being together. If you have to schedule time together, do it. Do whatever it takes to make your relationship your #1 priority in 2011. Failure to prioritize your relationship at the beginning of 2011 might result in no relationship at the end of 2011.
  2. Romance is Retro. that’s right, bring back the romance your relationship was built on. Remember how you use to flirt with each other with your eyes? Bring it back and do it again. Send little love notes to each other throughout the week – with modern technology there are a million ways to do this: email, IMing, text messaging, bbm, etc. Or bring home a rose to your partner for no reason at all! Bringing back romance in your relationship is a sure fire way to stop fighting and to heat things up for 2011.
  3. Speak politely to your partner; say “please” and “thank-you”. That’s right. Everything you need to know about manners you learned in kindergarten. As I mentioned earlier, we tend to take our loved ones for granted and this includes forgetting our manners when we speak with them. Civility goes a long way to enhance the quality of your relationship. Try it – your partner will like it. Trust me.

So remember to focus on your relationship this year; don’t take your partner for granted and use your manners. Following these 3 easy and effective steps are sure to stop the fighting and shape up your relationship in 2011 – making this year the best year -EVER- for your relationship.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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Most women love to shop. Truth be told, the holidays can be the perfect excuse for women to not only engage in – but ramp up into full gear – this favorite female pastime activity. Never mind that I, the bizarre person I can be at times hates shopping. (I know, this alone should throw me out of the club called “womanhood” forever.) Although I hate shopping, I find myself spending a ton of time and money shopping during the holiday season; and like the rest of you, I suspect I spend more time shopping during the holiday season than at any other time during the year.

This means we spend more money during the holidays than any other time of the year as well. And therein lies the rub for most relationships – fighting about money rearing its ugly head once again – but now it gets even uglier because the fighting takes place during the holidays and this time it usually centers around how much money we are spending on gifts, decorations, food, etc.

How do we avoid fighting with our partner about the amount of money we spend during the holidays?

Do you spend out of control and way over budget – and not say a word about it to your partner? Do you just wait until the credit card bill arrives in late January and then have a huge blow out fight?

Or do you pay cash so your partner doesn’t know how much you really spent on the Coach handbag you bought for your niece?

Maybe you don’t even realize how much you are spending on your holiday purchases because you truly get caught up in the spirit of the gift-giving season.

Whatever your style of shopping and spending money might be, here are a few of Dr. Patty Ann’s Relationship Tips for Avoiding Money Fights during the Holidays – or when the credit card bill comes due.

  1. Speak with your partner and agree on a Budget before you even think about shopping for anyone on your list. I know, I know, it sounds boring and the Holidays are all about giving, but remember, less can be more. Really.
  2. Make a list of people you and your partner have agreed to purchase gifts for this holiday season and stick to the list. Do not add names as you go along. If you didn’t put the substitute teacher on the original gift-giving list you and you just remembered them while in the store – do not buy a gift for them. If you really, really, really want to let this substitute teacher know you are thinking about them during the holidays, bake them a pie or give them a call and let them know you are thinking of them. Believe me, we all realize what a precious commodity time is for everyone – especially during the holidays; and people will appreciate the fact that you took time out of your hectic holiday schedule to think of them.
  3. Avoid impulsive purchases. Just because something is on “sale” it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If the sale item is over-budget for the person you would be buying this gift for – do not buy it. It doesn’t matter that the item is on sale. Walk away from it. The receiver of the gift will never know you passed on that great pair of earrings you thought had their name written all over it.

In my work with couples I have found that a little bit of pre-arranged conversation and budgeting between you and your partner will go a long way in avoiding holiday money fights – before, during and long after the holidays.

Finally remember, it doesn’t cost us a dime to show people your love and affection for them. So try to remember “less is more” and time spent together is the type of spending Dr. Patty Ann recommends during the holiday season!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

We are off and running! Thanksgiving is just around the corner – Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are not trailing far behind. Just the thought of all the extra things we have to do for the holidays can be overwhelming! Women are already stressed out enough without adding all the extra holiday “to-do” stuff on the list. The dirty little secret about the holidays is that many relationships do NOT survive them. That’s right. Many couples break up during the holidays because all the stress gets under their skin and they can’t take it anymore. SO – couples break up a LOT during the holidays.

Below are easy and five highly effective tips to help you NOT break up during this holiday season.

1. Relax and Breathe! You read that correctly – relax and breathe. When we get stressed out and overwhelmed many of us hold our breath and tighten up every muscle in our body. These actions cut off the flow of oxygen to our body and vital organs resulting in our body tensing up!

The more overwhelmed and stressed out we feel, the more we need to remember to breathe. This will force the flow of oxygen and blood throughout our body allowing us to relax, which will help slow down our racing thoughts! We need to take care of our body and mind if we can even think about taking care of our relationship.

2. Exercise. I can already hear you say: “Exercise, you have got to be kidding me! The last thing I have time for, especially now is exercise”. My point exactly. You must make time to exercise on a regular basis because it will increase your energy. This increased energy will help you perform all the extra tasks the holiday season requires of you so you don’t feel thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day.

3. Moderately indulge in holiday junk food and alcohol. Overindulgence in food and drink leaves us feeling crabby and sluggish. These negative feelings end up impacting our relationships – especially our relationship with our significant other. So moderation is the operative word for our food and alcohol intake during the holiday season.

4. Make sure you get enough sleep! Many people deprive themselves of sleep during the holidays because they need to get so much done. Do not fall into this temptation. Getting enough sleep actually makes you more productive with fewer hours in the day. Allowing yourself to be sleep deprived only leaves you feeling tired, grumpy, overwhelmed and less productive. All these feelings can negatively effect your relationship.

5. Prioritize. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season that we forget to prioritize our relationship. This is a huge mistake. Yes we are incredibly busy during this time of year, but that is no excuse for ignoring – or not making time – for the one you love. Set a specific day and time each week between now and the New Year to spend with your partner. During these times do not spend a lot of time discussing all the chores and activities that you have to get done. Just try and enjoy each other’s company together.

The holiday season is upon us, with all the rush, rush, rushing it brings. If we don’t want our relationship to break up and be an unfortunate casualty of the holiday season -remember these five easy and highly effective tips. Relax and breathe, exercise, eat and drink in moderation, get enough sleep and prioritize your relationship. Taking care of your relationship begins with taking care of yourself – guaranteeing a happy holiday season spent together for you and the one you love!!

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

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Of course their might be some discrepancy between how much one partner wants to spend on items such as clothing, entertainment and/or vacation. However, the majority of the time money fights have very little to do with money! For better or for worse, money often becomes the battlefield for even the most romantic and otherwise compatible couples.

So what is going on here?

We are all cognizant of the fact that people enter into their intimate relationships with their own psychological portfolio of emotions, hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses; all of which have been created by an emotional blueprint of our past life experiences. Amazingly, we enter into our relationships without thinking about, or having very little awareness of the portfolio of emotions we bring to money and finances. (Research suggests our attitude and feelings about money is shaped by the age of twelve).

Therefore, our attitude and feelings about money is usually the six hundred pound gorilla in the middle of the room when we merge our life with the person we love. That is – until the credit card bill arrives! Then we are blindsided when this gorilla rears its ugly and not so little head! All of a sudden we discover our partner does not share our values about how much money we should spend vs. how much money we should save.

Let me provide you with some facts regarding this 600 pound gorilla so we can turn it into a gentle teddy bear. Otherwise, this gorilla will slowly but surely destroy all the love and intimacy you and your partner have for each other with each credit card bill that arrives in the mailbox.

1. Separate the myth that love and money are intimately connected. They are not! Love and money have absolutely nothing to do with each other when you view money for what it is, a commodity, and it should be treated as such. Money becomes an emotionally loaded issue for couples because each person brings their own set of values, beliefs and attitudes about money to their relationship. Conflicting values and attitudes about money are at the core of financial conflict in relationships – they do not indicate a lack of love! Therefore, handle your different values about money the way you would handle any other issue in your relationship – with effective communication skills!

2. As indicated earlier, most people don’t really know how their views and attitudes about money have been formed. We tend to know we are either a “spender” or a “saver”, but if hard pressed to tell you why or how we got this way, most people couldn’t tell you. Therefore, it becomes quite a daunting task to build a financial life that blends both partner’s hopes and dreams for today and the future if you have different values about money from your partner (but you don’t even understand your own views about money). Do a little soul-searching and think about how your parents and family-of-origin handled and felt about money. Did they believe you should save every penny you make or did they live beyond their means and not care about being in debt? This is a great start to understanding your own attitudes about money, and then convey them to your partner.

3. Whether you are aware of this or not, money symbolizes different things for different people. Does money represent emotional security or control and power to you? Do you understand what money represents to your partner?This information is absolutely essential if you want to begin to bridge the gap between what money represents for you as a couple. Since the two of you grew up in two different homes, chances are there will be a lot of bridging to do on this issue. The ability to bridge this gap will allow you to begin to mend and emotionally defuse your fights about money.

Yes money is a very emotionally charged topic for many couples; but it doesn’t have to be a six hundred pound gorilla in the middle of your relationship. Many couples have used the three secrets provided above and they have been able to bridge the differences between themselves and their partner on the subject of money – I know you can too!

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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Since all couples fight at one point or another in their relationship, I thought I would show you a healthy way to fight this week rather than take the approach of telling you not to fight – (since that is like asking a blind person to see). Fighting does not doom your relationship or kill the intimacy you feel for each other; however, the love and intimacy in your relationship highly depends upon the way you fight.

Put these three simple and highly effective ways to “fight” into play and you will keep the flames of romance burning bright – regardless of your differences.

1. Stay on one issue and avoid going off on a tangent. Easier said than done. Couples start fighting about one issue and then rapidly escalate the fight by bringing up different issues from the past. These past issues are usually introduced by the following words: “And another thing …” or “Since you are bringing this up, how about the time you …” Sound familiar? Doing this only escalates the tension between the two of you and is totally unproductive. If you are fighting about one particular issue – stick to that specific issue. While arguing, if you remember other issues you would like to discuss, set up a date and time to discuss them with your partner later. Otherwise, a fight about one issue will end up in a litany of past grievances with no resolution in sight – a sure fire way to kill romance, intimacy – and your relationship.

2. Do not interrupt each other. This is really simple and easy to understand but people have a hard time doing it. Do not interrupt your partner when they are speaking. If you need clarification about your partner’s point, ask them for it when they are done speaking by saying: “Can you please help me understand what you meant when you said …” This will let your partner know that you were not only listening to them but – perhaps more importantly, you were trying to understand what they were saying. Conflicts of any kind can never be resolved if people do not feel understood. Couples do not have to agree with each other but they do have to attempt to understand each others differences. Listening carefully while not interrupting will help develop this understanding.

3. Be respectful – and that means you are not allowed to call each other names. Just because your partner feels differently about something than you do that does not make them “stupid” an “idiot” or ridiculous”. If you find yourself getting over-emotional during an argument, take a time out from the fight and re-visit it when cooler heads prevail. Besides being disrespectful, name calling during a fight is unproductive and creates ill-will between you and your partner. Once respect goes out the window, the relationship itself is usually not far behind.

A final thought on fighting with your significant other. When you are at a crossroads with your partner on an issue ask yourself this question: “Is it more important that I “win” this fight? Or that I keep my relationship strong and happy?” In other words, are you willing to risk the love and intimacy in your relationship over the issue you are fighting about? Is it really worth it? Usually the answer is a resounding no.

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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On the heels of last week’s relationship advice ezine – where I blew the doors off of 3 relationship myths – the myth that healthy couples never fight seems to be a very difficult one to get people to stop believing.  As I’ve mentioned to you guys many times before, healthy happy couples do fight – but it is the way they fight that makes all the difference in the world. Below are 3 conflict resolution skills that will allow you to maintain love and intimacy in your relationship – regardless of any fights you and your partner might have.

Conflict Resolution Skill #1: Keep this thought in mind as you and your partner are fighting over anything: Is it more important to be right about an issue you and your partner are dis-agreeing over? Or is it more important that the relationship remain intact? Many times when we fight with our significant other, we fight as if we are fighting for our very lives; and we feel as if we have to “win” our fight at all costs! Think about this for a moment:Is it worth it to “win the battle only to lose the war”? So the next time you find yourself about to enter the ring for a knock-down, drag out fight with your partner, stop and ask your self the question: “Is the issue at hand really that important to me”? Do you need to win the fight and run the risk of losing your relationship? Has the issue you are fighting about become more important than your relationship?

Conflict Resolution Skill #2: People always look at me a little kooky when I say this to them but conflict resolution skill #2 is knowing your position on an issue where you and your partner disagree. Most people say of course I know my position – how else could I fight for or make my case for my position? My response to that is of course you know your actual position on an issue, but I challenge everyone to know what the motivations are, what the influences are, what the values are behind one’s position.

In other words, what is it about who you are that has gone into shaping the opinions that you have and the world views that you hold? These opinions and positions you hold on issues just don’t appear out of thin air. They are the by product of your goals, values, expectations and many other things that have shaped you throughout your life.

So knowing your position (which of course everyone knows) when you are fighting with your partner just isn’t good enough!

Conflict Resolution Skill #3: Conflict will never be resolved, on any level, whether it be in your interpersonal relationships, or on the world stage of political negotiations, without effective communication skills. Notice I said “effective communication skills” not just “communication”. The way we communicate with our self and other’s in our lives ultimately determines the overall quality of our life – and it is, indeed, the foundation for all conflict resolution.

So remember – it is how you fight that determines the health and romance of your relationship – not the absence of fighting! Differences of opinions are a great opportunity to learn more about each other as both a couple and as an individual! Approach your disagreements with your partner as an opportunity for growth – not as a major hurdle to overcome – and your relationship will be able to go the distance!

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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Romantic relationships are a partnership of two people who have decided to share in the joys and sorrows of a committed life together. Married couples take the vows: “For better or worse, for richer or poorer” – Stop right there. People say vows similar to the ones just written but do we really mean them? – especially the part about “for richer or poorer”? Even though we say these words – if we are totally honest with ourselves we really mean: “but I hope it’s for richer”. Common sense dictates no one in their right mind wants to be poor. I mean honestly, get real.

Following are 7 simple ways or guidelines for handling money issues throughout your relationship so you don’t have to end up fighting about money. Consider these guidelines to be your relationship tools for keeping the spark alive in your relationship whether you are dealing with the “richer” or “poorer” times in your relationship.

1. Know thyself. Be aware of what money really represents to you (this might require a little bit of soul searching here) – and do not impose your attitudes and beliefs about money onto your partner.

2. Know what money really represents to your partner. And don’t try to convince them that they should be more like you! (I know you know what I mean).

3. Communicate your individual attitudes and values about money to each other so you develop a joint strategy you are both comfortable with. Think of this as your financial blueprint for relationship harmony! Develop a clear, concise plan for how you use your money; that is, how you spend it, and how you save it. If you happen to come into a financial windfall – an inheritance or you hit the lottery (hey, somebody has to win) – discuss and develop a strategy for how you will use that money. Money that people “fall” into is often the start of a very slippery slope for the unraveling of relationships if plans for these monies are not discussed. This is why you need to be very clear on guideline #3 folks!

4. When you find you are at a crossroads when it comes to money issues, clearly communicate your differences to each other using respect as your baseline. This will avoid all the finger pointing, blaming and accusations inherent in the following statements: “You don’t care how I feel about blah, blah, blah when it comes to spending money” etc., etc., etc.

5. When differences regarding financial decisions come up ( and they will ) respect these differences without accusing the other of being cheap, irresponsible or spending money like it is going out of style. Doing this will keep the issue focused on the differences regarding the finances and avoid the pitfall of entering the dead man’s zone of character assassination!

6. Keep money in its proper perspective in your relationship. Money does not define your relationship or your love for each other. Do not allow money to come between the two of you. Keep your love and respect for each other at the core of your relationship and defend this love at all costs!

7. Love is the platform whereby all financial decisions will be made –“in good times and in bad, for richer for poorer”.
Make no mistake about it; money is an absolute necessity in life. If we use love as our platform and respect as our baseline, money will have its appropriate place in our relationship. Although all differences regarding the handling of money might not always be reconciled, we will at least be able to “agree to disagree” respectfully regarding money issues. Let’s not forget what we all know to be true – money is merely a commodity in our lives. Money cannot buy love and it cannot buy happiness!

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Stop Fighting
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