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The Un-Fight

Today my friend Lisa told me that she and her boyfriend are "un-fighting." At first read you may think this is a good thing and that Lisa just hasn't quite mastered grammatical constructions of the English language. You may think un-fighting is the opposite of fighting which would be not fighting. You've thought wrong.

Un-fighting is a special skill, mostly exhibited in men. It is a defense mechanism not all that far from the Men are from the Mars/Women are from Venus concept of going into one's cave. Let me provide you with an example, drawing of course, from my own life.

I'm reading a book about the marriage contract and the importance of renegotiating the relationship during certain points of life, like the birth of a child or loss of a job. I think the book is fabulous and wanted to share its thesis and finer points with Andy. To start, there was a dialogue of sorts:

"Andy, do you remember last week when I told you that if eight years ago I could look into the future and see our life now that I'd never have married you?"

"Mmm. Hmm."

"Well, this book says it's because we had created a relationship for ourselves, back then, with certain, set roles. And then, when we had Caroline, we expected those roles to stay the same and they can't."


"So, we have to renegotiate our roles now. Then we'll be happier. Are you listening to me?"


"Andy, this is important and I want to talk about it. We need to renegotiate our contract!"

"Are you whining?"

"You are making me mad! I want to talk about this and if you don't then I'm going to call a therapist and then you'll have to talk about it! How's that?"

"Are you talking to me?"

This is a very common conversation in our house. If you can call it a conversation. Usually, I start the discussion with a question. I want answers and I want Andy to give me his full attention and to answer my questions. I pressure and probe. I start to yell. Andy, most often parked in front of the TV, stares at the computer or TV and avoids eye contact at all costs. It is the un-fight. How can you have a fight with someone who refuses to fight back? Sure, I can spend about five minutes arguing with myself but after that, the topic is dead in the water. I have no choice but to retreat angrily and go sulk while folding laundry. I mutter to myself for a bit longer. Maybe I come back out and yell at few more times, in hopes of a response, "Oh and yeah, by the way, the book also says that men are always wrong and you suck." This one gets a real rise out of him- total silence and not even a nod in my direction.

I like to win arguments and this lack of participation makes it very hard to determine a clear winner. Do I win if his lack of arguing is considered a forfeit?

I have my own un-tactic that I like to use in retaliation of the un-fight. It's called the un-sex. And let's be clear about this one. It is the opposite of sex.


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