All of us have a natural instinct, when we are pushed up against a wall, some of us are fighters, others runners and some of us, do absolutely nothing at all.
Take this same scenario and reflect on your romantic relationship. Are you a fighter? Do you run for the hills? Or do you do nothing at all?
I think there is an appropriate time and place for each type of reaction, based on what you are dealing with.
Fighting it out:
When someone is overstepping your boundaries and discounting your discomfort with a situation you must assert your position.
If I am not comfortable with something happening, I will fight to have my voice heard. I refuse to be passive, because I have learned, through meaningful precedent, that we teach people exactly how they can treat us.
Sexism, racism, ageism…any of the ‘isms really. If you are telling me what I can or cannot do because of my race, age or gender, we clearly are not meant to be.
This also accounts for ‘family traditions.’ For example, if a partner told me, ‘This is how is has always been in my family, so you have to do it this way’ well that’s too bad for your family because it does not float on my boat.
Be very keen to control in your relationship; if your partner is saying it is their way or the highway, no matter how nicely they may be saying it, I would run for the hills. There is always room for negotiation, meeting in the middle or trying something new and if your partner cannot see that, then there is a problem.
Freezing (for awhile):
If you have asked for a change in behaviour, give the person the time to actually prove said change to you. Do not whack them over the head at the next misstep, but actually allow them the room to prove themselves to you.
Sometimes it is smarter to be a silent observer than a shouting, sideline participant. If you have asked for an improvement, watch, assess and wait. Do not harp on your partner everyday because change takes time, so give them the time to prove their change to you.
If you are going through a really stressful time, huge change or positive personal development, wait it out. Sometimes, when we are making big life changes we are inclined to change everything and anything and all at once.
On my own journey of self improvement I have considered: breaking up with my significant other, adopting a dog, cutting off all of my hair, moving to a new province, becoming a vegetarian (even a vegan) and many, many more things. Sometimes you just need to slow down and wait it out…you might just be reacting to stress and not true feelings.
There is a time for all of the three reactions, but not every situation is the same. Take the time to assess what step is best for the specific situation you are dealing with. The safest best, for me, has always been to freeze, before fighting about something that is not worth it or leaving something that is worth sticking around for.