Mr.&Mrs. Issue 03/March 2014 - Page 2

How To Fight With A Woman

By: Kristina Grish

Truly passionate sex beats obligatory makeup sex any day. Maybe men don't feel the difference, but we women do. We hate fighting—it makes us feel alienated, confused, and downright disappointed.

But the next time we bite your head off, don't rush to pack up your CDs. Experts insist that squabbling (but not screaming) is a healthy sign. It's silence that should scare you. "The guy might think everything's okay since they're not arguing much, but that can really mean she's over the relationship and planning her exit strategy," says Karen Sherman, Ph.D., author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, Make It Last.

You need to know what her fighting words mean. What follows is classified intel from behind enemy lines—code breakers that can lead to a cease-fire, then pay off in a peace treaty that will make everyone happier. If we feel closer and more intimate after each resolution, that's more naked for you.

The Attention Fight

Opening Volley: "We don't go out anymore."

It Means: She's nostalgic. "I want my husband to sit across from me, think I'm attractive, share my food, and realize we still feel what we did before I became a wife and mother," says Jennifer Jeanne Patterson, author of 52 Fights: A Newlywed's Confession.

Battle Tactics: Once a month, surprise her with a real plan. "If you've gone a whole month without proffering flowers, compliments, or a special date, you'll have a problem," says Carol Ritberger, Ph.D., author of Love . . . What's Personality Got to Do with It? "Do something she'd like, but give it a spontaneous twist. Go for a walk, but take her to a sight she's never seen. Or book a babysitter, then lead her through a night of surprises—without prompting." Men like familiar places, "but women respond best to novelty." What You Win: Dinner counts as foreplay. Really. "Women like to be shown off," says Charles Sophy, M.D., a psychiatrist and an associate professor of psychiatry at UCLA. "Men should hear this as a compliment. Avoid getting defensive, and realize she needs attention or loves PDA with you. You'll come home and have a great evening." .

The Friends Fight

Opening Volley: "What's with the morons in your fantasy baseball league, anyway?"

It Means: She's questioning your judgment. "Criticizing how men spend time with their friends implies that they're irresponsible in making choices," Ritberger says—meaning your partner is nervous about your decision making with regard to the two of you.

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