I have had two guys tell me, on two separate occasions, that some men will marry a girl and live unhappily the rest of his life with her in order to avoid “grief” from her, i.e., a fight. Why is this? It’s because you men need to learn how to fight fire with fire. The only way to defeat the enemy is to learn how to use her dirty tricks against her, or at least see them coming and be prepared to deflect them.
Know Thine Enemy: Why Girls Win
We remember everything. As a consequence of a lifetime of female friendships, girls are trained to remember everything. For this reason, we can remember conversations that we had with you word-for-word, especially if we realize at the time how important your words will be (for instance, to discredit you in a fight situation at some point down the road). We also know that you know this about us and, paired with the understanding that you guys remember very little in general, let alone word-for-word, the door is open for us to make things up to suit our needs, if the situation becomes desperate.
Girls are not afraid to bring up past grievances over and over again. In fact, we can dismiss a past bad deed of our own in one breath and throw one in your face with the next. Often, when a girlfriend lets something go unexpectedly, she will file it away to bring up in a future encounter when her chips are down.
Girls think before they speak. You may think that an argument is coming out of the blue, but rest assured that not only has your girlfriend mulled over the issue for a minimum of 72 hours, she has discussed your behavior, her reaction and possible rebuttals that you may have with at least 3 of her closest friends in order to build a strong case. She is a brilliant strategist. She knows not only your stock reactions, she is prepared for any hidden material you may have. And she knows that she is squeaky clean, because if she wasn’t, she’d hold off until she had more on you. This paired with the first two strategies can mean that she could have your boys in her purse before the halftime show.
Girls have stamina. We can “discuss” at a very intense level for hours. Hours. This is also a skill developed over years of friendship with other girls. This may be the straw that breaks your back in the end, as we know that eventually, you will give up much quicker than us. We know you don’t want the grief. In the meantime, try some strategies of your own.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
First of all, your life would be much easier if you listened. No one is expecting you to remember everything, but practice remembering important things, like when she forgets to do something she promised. Instead of getting really angry about little irritants, file them away for future rebuttals. Just don’t forget where you filed them. If you don’t feel that you can get a handle on this listening and remembering thing, at least try not to walk into any of her traps. Don’t make promises that you’re not sure you can keep. If you are always late after “just catching a beer” with your best friend, don’t promise you’ll never do it again. You know you will, she knows you will, and this is exactly the kind of comment she will throw back in your face at a later date.
Do not let her bring up past grievances that you have already discussed and been forgiven for. This last part is important. As long as she says that you are forgiven and you don’t make any stupid promises that you later break, she cannot, by fair fight rules, bring it up again. You can see how this rule and the “no stupid promises” rule hinge on each other.
If you are not a man who enjoys a battle, there are a couple of ways to diffuse an intense situation and buy yourself some time. If you crumble at the thought of confrontation, or have trouble identifying a feeling or a motive for your actions (which is characterized by your stock “I don’t know” response to all of her teary queries), take the time you need to figure it out. Guys, not often as emotionally literate as gals, often need time to sort through the flurry of excuses flying around their heads. I had one friend who used to get his girlfriend to lay out her grievances and then give him 24 hours to ponder his response. This needs to be a house rule that you set up before hand, because it won’t generally wash in the heat of things. The only problem with this is that you’re going to have to come up with something better than “I don’t know.” If you have a close female friend, now would be the time to use her.
Another way to avoid the confrontation is to give her the opportunity to bring up her grievances in a non-argument situation. This doesn’t have to be as cheesy as it sounds. Simply ask her periodically if everything’s cool and she’s happy, and that way if she tries to pull something on you later, you can accuse her of not being honest with you. And you come off looking like a very caring guy.
Also, don’t sell preemptive strikes short. A phone call once a week to tell your lady that she kicks ass will bank you some major points for future screw-ups. The girls who give the most grief generally do so out of insecurity and making your lady feel loved and secure will probably do more for you than many of these tips. But, just in case it doesn’t, memorize these tips and destroy them so that she doesn’t realize that you’re on to her and change her strategy. Girls are wily like that.
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