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How To Avoid Showdowns Over The Thermostat

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Thermostat (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — We’ve all heard what couples fight over: money, sex and in-laws. Well, now there’s something else.

Would you believe that your indoor temperature is also a hot-button issue?  

But there’s something you can do to stop the thermostat tug of war, CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports.

Mike and Peggy Early have been married 34 years, happily enough for the most part — until you start talking temperature.

“Winter time, I’m perfectly content to have four layers on and have it set lower,” Peggy says.

“I don’t like that,” counters Mike. “I want to be comfortable. I’m not comfortable walking around all bundled up.”

Sound familiar? Marriage and family therapist Jane Greer says it’s a common fight among couples. Right up there with the other big stuff, she says, like “money, in-laws, sex, children, household responsibilities.”

And in her book “What About Me?” she explains this particular fight often has little to do with the temperature setting.

It’s more about control.

“If somebody is the controller, if they are always setting the controls and the temperature being what they want, without considering their partner, that’s a relationship that’s out of balance,” Greer says.

But you don’t have to fight over the thermostat. There is something you can do to fix the situation. 

“You want to have a winning conversation with your partner, acknowledge how they feel, consider their feelings and empathize with them,” she says.

Then show you care by coming up with a compromise.

In this case, it may require that you layer or shed, depending on your comfort needs. The key is to acknowledge the needs of the other person.

“It will make all the difference in the world,” Greer says.

Mike Early agrees it’s good advice. Greer says this advice works for arguments about other things, too, including who holds the remote control.

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