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Choosing Your Battles

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Shachi Lavingia
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choosing your battles


Shachi Lavingia spoke to Rohit , Shivangi Chauhan and Suresh Ramdas about what choosing your battles looks like in a relationship, the aftermath of fighting these battles and so much more. 

Relationships are messy and beautiful. And as much as we'd like to look at them with rose tinted glasses, we know that a lot of effort goes into keeping them going. Picking our battles is a big aspect of adult relationships and that’s not a concept a lot of people are familiar with. Being in committed relationships requires a lot more of this which doesn’t necessarily make it the easiest process but an important one. Shachi Lavingia spoke to Rohit , Shivangi Chauhan and Suresh Ramdas about what choosing your battles looks like in a relationship, the aftermath of fighting these battles and so much more. 

And here's what they had to say!

Relationships tend to change after marriage, even with our families. Does choosing our battles help keep relationships intact?

Relationships evolve over time because we are evolving too. While that is happening, we are also seeing our partners evolve, according to Suresh. “Hence our relationship has an evolution too. During these times, it is wise to choose our battles. Understand when to share and when to keep quiet and they all depend on the severity of the situation/comment.” It can be ugly and frustrating or beautiful and comforting to discover different parts of a human, according to Rohit. “It may come up as a surprise or frustration. Amongst all of this, it’s important to understand that all battles are not meant to be fought. Adjustment and intention to make relationships work is what counts in the long run.” Choosing our battles wisely can be an effective way to maintain healthy relationships, both before and after marriage. When it comes to relationships, especially with our family, Shivangi thinks it’s important to recognize that everyone has their own unique perspectives, opinions, and ways of doing things. “There may be times when we disagree with our family members, but it's important to ask ourselves whether the issue is worth pursuing or not. By doing so, we can help maintain a positive and healthy environment in any relationship.”

How do you define your battles? How do you decide which ones are worth fighting for and which aren't? 

Life isn't measured by how many times you stood up to fight. Rohit believes that it’s not winning battles that makes you happy, it's how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. “Most of the time it’s difficult to define which battles are worth fighting for and which aren’t. Most of the time you feel that what you are fighting for is right. But it's important to ask yourself what matters more - the person in front of you or the battle and that’s when you get your answer.” For Shivangi, the relevance matters a lot. “If the issue or problem directly impacts my or my loved ones' lives, values or goals then I don't hesitate in engaging for further discussions.

When deciding whether to engage in a disagreement or argument, I often ask myself a few questions. First, whether the issue is something that really matters to me, as mentioned, or if it's something that I can let go of. Second, considering the potential consequences of engaging in such disagreements or arguments - could it escalate into a larger conflict or lead to hurt feelings? Finally, consider whether the issue is something that can be compromised on or we can find a middle ground. It's important to remember that not every battle needs to be fought, and sometimes it's better to let go of small disagreements in order to maintain a positive and healthy relationship.”

Suresh would rather call them difficult conversations than battles. “Because mostly in battles, there is a winner on one side and the loser on the other. Battles have a very negative association and power games are associated with it, while in difficult conversations, we talk about things that we are not comfortable with and we learn a lot about our partners too. I decide on the severity of the issue and how much I am agitated by that issue/concern. I think of the surrounding/environment that we are in for having that discussion.”

How do you keep calm? Is fighting a battle in a relationship the only route to take? 

There are times when your emotions like anger and disappointment hold more power over you than your ability to resolve issues. The best way to move forward in such cases, according to Rohit, is to withdraw from those arguments and come back when you don’t feel overpowered by those emotions. “Being in the right state of mind to discuss and resolve issues helps.” Shivangi is usually calm and prefers transparent communications over arguing or disagreeing. “In my relationships, with my partner and families, we have always adapted the way of communicating our feelings calmly and respectfully with an intention to listen and understand other people's opinions and stance on the situation.”

It’s important to remember that not every disagreement or issue needs to turn into a battle and it's important to approach any conflict resolution with an open mind, a willingness to listen, and focus on finding solutions that work for both parties. Suresh always thinks of what problem he’s here to solve with his partner. “Is it someone's insecurities or trauma that's triggering or anything else? At times, heated conversations can bring out a lot of inbuilt steam, which is a good idea so that one is feeling relaxed and can think clearly after a while.”

Daily arguments also end up affecting our peace of mind. Does picking our battles help with that? 

Daily arguments can feel suffocating and painful at the same time and no human wants to stay like that forever. Rohit thinks that we all need a safe space, a place called home. “An environment where you can just be who you are and feel happy and content when you come home. We can often have clashes and disagreements at home but every individual needs to adapt and adjust to create this environment.” Picking our battles can help us maintain our peace of mind and avoid unnecessary stress from daily arguments.

When we constantly engage in small, inconsequential arguments or disagreements, it can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment, which can negatively impact our overall well-being is what Shivangi believes. “Effective communication, using clear, respectful communication can help prevent misunderstandings and promote healthy dialogue.” Suresh thinks that one needs to identify the types of conversations. “Is it a rant, are they upset with you or the situation, or the person.”

Is this concept the same as shoving things under the carpet? How would you differentiate between the two?

Sometimes it’s important to just shove things under the carpet. Rohit believes that it’s not an indication that you don’t care. “But a sign that those issues are not worth the fights and destruction of your peace of mind.” Shivangi, on the other hand, is of the opinion that picking our battles is not the same as shoving things under the carpet. “When we shove things under the carpet, we are avoiding or ignoring problems or conflicts, rather than addressing them directly. While picking our battles involves choosing which issues are most important to us and worth addressing, while letting go of minor disagreements or issues that are not worth fighting over.”

This approach can actually lead to better communication and a stronger relationship, as we are focusing on the things that truly matter to us and addressing them in a constructive and respectful manner. Suresh thinks that it’s more like putting things in a box for time being in-order to take it out and talk later. “Brushing things under the carpet means ignoring it or not acknowledging it.”

When do you realize that a relationship is above winning or losing the fight? How do you decide when winning the battle is more important than losing it in a relationship or vice versa? 

In the end, Rohit thinks that it’s important that we realize that there is no win-win in a relationship. “Even if you win a battle with your spouse, you may end up feeling like a loser and at times losing to your spouse’s happiness makes you win. It has to be the issues vs your relationship and not you against your spouse over the issue.” Realizing that a relationship is more important than winning or losing a fight can be a gradual process that comes with time and experience, according to Shivangi. “It often involves a shift in mindset, where we begin to prioritize the health and well-being of the relationship over our own desire to "win" a particular argument or conflict.

It's important to consider the long-term goals and vision of the relationship, and whether winning a particular battle will align with those goals. If it doesn't, it may be more important to let go of the desire to "win" and focus on finding a solution that benefits the relationship as a whole.” Ultimately, the decision of whether to fight for a particular issue or let it go will depend on the unique circumstances of the relationship and the specific issue at hand. Suresh believes that we decide based on if we’re letting too much of ourselves go and we’re not happy. “One would want to lose the relationship and fight every battle at hand if that’s the case.”

Do you feel like you are losing yourself if you are not fighting a battle for yourself? 

It’s usual to lose parts of you in a relationship. Rohit believes that we change, evolve, accept and start doing things that we would’ve never thought of. “It should be a healthy conscious decision that you make to make your relationship work.” For Shivangi, it does not necessarily mean that she’s losing herself. “It's important to remember that picking our battles and choosing which issues are worth fighting for is a conscious decision that requires us to prioritize our values, beliefs, and goals.” Suresh thinks it completely depends on the person and the battle they are fighting for. “But one does feel like that if they can’t share with their partner about who they truly are.”

What’s the aftermath of fighting a battle?

It’s important to talk over it and clear the air before you move forward. Either you come back with more love or more hatred towards each other, according to Rohit. “At times it’s not about the facts and assumptions but how and what you felt during that fight. It’s important to acknowledge and express such feelings to come back stronger. We close the old chapters and move to the new.” Suresh, on the other hand, experiences sadness, hurt, losing pieces of himself while fighting and anger. The aftermath of fighting a battle can vary depending on the nature of the conflict and how it was resolved though. Like in Shivangi’s case, resolving a conflict through open and honest communication is of utmost importance and the only way she chooses. “This also helps in strengthening the relationship and deepening the level of trust and understanding between the parties involved.” 

This article was a part of Social Ketchup's 2023 April Edition.

Suresh Ramdas Shivangi Chauhan queer relationships Social Ketchup Magazine relationships rohit Choosing your battles