John Gray Q&A: “What’s the Right Way to Fight?”

By John Gray

arguingDear John, At least once a month my boyfriend “Mac” and I get  into nasty fights that threaten our relationship. His way of solving these fights is to ignore me for days while he gets over the problem. Tim thinks that it helps him avoid saying mean things to me. Meanwhile I’m at home wondering how  in the world he can ignore me for days at a time! What is your opinion on the right way to argue?

—Lana K., Austin, TX

Dear Lana,

You feel ignored because you’ve already gotten over the anger hours or even days before he is ready to reconnect. However, he’s right that he should avoid confrontation when he is too angry to discuss the issue without saying cruel, hurtful things.

You won’t always be able to avoid anger in a disagreement. However, you have a better chance of doing so if you follow the following steps:

1. Don’t bring up an item of contention when either of you is already upset over something.

2. When the right time comes about, bring up the subject without blaming your partner.

3. After stating the problem, ask for your partner to come up help you find a compromise that works for both of you.

4. Allow your partner time to come up with the solution. This may take ten minutes, or perhaps a whole day.

5. When you revisit the problem together, don’t interrupt your partner as he makes a suggestion. In fact, listen with both ears open.

6. If needed, counter with an alternative answer, or a modification to his suggestion. However, in doing so, give him credit for taking the issue to heart.

Remember, your partner is on your team. Together, you can come up with the winning solution.


John Gray, Ph.D – the best selling relationship author of all time – is the author of 16 best-selling books including Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: one of the best-selling books of the last decade. In the past fifteen years, over 40 million Mars Venus books have been sold in over 45 languages throughout the world. His latest book Why Mars and Venus Collide. Visit his website at


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