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An app for couples to get out of arguing by invoking a free pass

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 25, 2021
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An app that lets couples get out of arguments with each other by invoking a finite number of free passes. It doubles as an emotional currency exchange. You redeem a free pass from your partner by doing nice things for them.
Why?
  • Instant argument quencher.
  • Fewer pointless arguments between partners.
  • For extreme situations where the problem can't be solved by talking.
  • Partners should be on the opposite sides as little as possible. The idea is to end a big fight before a winner or loser emerges. Both partners should return to the same side as soon as possible and with the fewest resentments.
How it works
Both partners agree to honor the amnesty app no matter what happens. The rules are strict (explained below).
Each partner gets 2 free passes, to begin with.
Invoking a free pass
Invoking a free pass grants the person immediate amnesty and ends the argument, no questions asked. It effectively closes the case with no further discussion - as if nothing happened. It is the angry/sad/disappointed side's responsibility to deal with their feelings and move on without retribution towards the partner that invoked amnesty.
Invoking amnesty transfers the "free pass" to the partner's balance. One of the partners invoked amnesty, so s/he now has one, and his partner has three free passes.
The rules
  1. If a free pass is invoked upon you, you must take a few deep breaths and realize that the argument is over. The case is closed, and nothing else associated with it matters.
  2. The free pass covers the entire situation.
  3. The partner invoked amnesty and should feel no wrath. You can take a walk to relax and deal with your emotions however you like. There should be absolutely no consequences for the partner. No display of dissapointment, anger, resentment, etc. It's a total reset.
  4. The partner that invoked it loses its free pass, while the other partner gains one.
Emotional currency
Free passes are a form of emotional currency between two partners. The person that runs out of free passes can try to earn them by doing nice things for their partner. "What can I do for you to earn one back?"

Update:
People in the comments section expect that this app would prevent important conversations between partners from taking place. To this I say: If someone uses the app to avoid uncomfortable conversations, do you think it would be beneficial for the relationship if you forced them to have said conversations anyway?
In the analogy of a ship: The app keeps the (relation)ship from sinking because people on it are prevented from throwing hand grenades at each other.
Everyone decided that they wanted to be on the ship a long time ago. They have a choice to disembark at every port. The app just prevents a rough ride while the ship is sailing. The right to disembark is the only right you should have in a relationship. Everything else should require mutual consent between partners. You shouldn't get to force your partner into uncomfortable situations they can't get out of. The app is their "get out of uncomfortable situation while not opting to disembark the ship" option.
In summary, the app achieves the following:
  • You don't get to corner the partner into uncomfortable situations
  • You get to make the partner feel good (to earn "free passes")
  • This has no effect on your right/ability to get out of the relationship. This is the only thing you should be able to do without your partner's consent.
  • Maybe this app could help you learn what situations are uncomfortable to your partner and trigger their defenses. By adjusting your approach to conversations, you can avoid cornering your partner.
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Creative contributions

How to earn a free pass?

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Dec 01, 2021
If I invoke both my free passes (or whatever number I initially start with), how do I gain more? I understand the "making the partner feel good" thing to gain a free pass. However, if I invoke a free pass in an argument where my partner was hell-bent on finishing the argument (for whatever reason there may be), will my partner "feel good" and grant a free pass the next time? I see the battle switching from real arguments to gaining and receiving free passes, then. There should be a concrete way to gain free passes, ones that are not dependent on emotions and grudges or the outcomes of past arguments.
Also, one of the partners will be the one using significantly more passes than the other. The partners may not be equal or similar with respect to arguments. There can be numerous reasons for this - the partner is not good at explaining themselves, the partner loves the other so much that they decide to not talk stuff that makes the other sad or angry, the partner has insecurities (of losing the partner, etc.) that discourages them from participating in the argument, the partner is just a bad partner and does stuff in the wrong way, etc., and that partner will be the one using more free passes. That means that partner needs to earn more free passes. Will the other pissed-off partner grant those passes?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic7 days ago
There is a finite number of free passes in circulation. You lose them by trading them in for peace in the relationship. You earn them back while making your partner happy. If one of the partners abuses the system to their "advantage" and detriment of the relationship and the other partner, that might be a sign you are dealing with a sociopath. If that's the case, the free pass system would be useful in making this fact more evident. In which case it might be time to run for the hills.
You don't earn back the free passes while the partner is angry/sad. You wait for the storm to blow over and then figure out a way to enrich your partner's life.
At any calm period, the partner could say "I'm running out of free passes. What can I do today that would make you happy?"
The partner that uses significantly more passes than the other is the same partner that invests significantly more effort into making the other partner feel good (and regain their free passes back). This translates into: piss them off, then make up for it.
Partners can agree upon the total number of free passes in circulation at the start of the game. If each side requires 10 free passes to begin with, that seems like a pretty rough relationship:)
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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic9 days ago
I understand that Juran and Miloš Stanković envision this app could prevent important conversations between partners from taking place.
If someone uses the app to avoid uncomfortable conversations, do you think it would be beneficial for the relationship if you forced them to have said conversations anyway? If you push the person so far that they are hitting the "defense" button, you've gone too far. Maybe such an app would be useful in training people to be more mindful in the way they approach conversations. Because of it, people could learn how to approach conversation so as not to trigger the partner's defenses.
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MS
Miloš Stanković13 days ago
I think this would just lead to resentment and measuring of whose argument was bigger or more valid down the line.
I can see too many situations in which one partner would see the argument as pointless and free pass it, while the other partner saw it as a topic worth discussing and clearing out. Even with the limits.
It's basically putting issues under the carpet, even negating the other person's feelings.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic13 days ago
I disagree. Arguments are often the result of stuff that has piled up in the background and has little to do with the issue that seems to have caused the fight. For example, people could fight about the toilet seat being up/down when in reality the problem is in old resentments.
You wouldn't invoke the free pass when there is a clear path to resolution. You would envoke it when you don't want to fight. Consider the alternative - you would be forced to fight even though you don't want it. What good can that do for the relationship? The more you fight, the more you resent each other, and the sooner you will explode in the future about the toilet seat being up/down. Every fight until the end has a winner and a loser (resentment). Fights that are stopped and disqualified have no losers. The rules say that they cannot be reopened or carry any consequences for the other person.
Not everything needs to be resolved or even talked about. My idea proposes a polite, mutually acceptable way of saying "I'm not doing this now. The argument about this is over, indefinitely".
Most fights can be resolved by postponing them until they are pointless.
You only have 2 free passes. Then you have to earn them back by making your partner happy. Isn't that better for the relationship than fighting everything out until a winner emerges? Partners should be on the opposite sides as little as possible. The idea is to end a big fight before a winner or loser emerges. Both partners should return to the same side as soon as possible and with the fewest resentments.
The free pass system can be used for good. It can also be "gamed". If one of the partners takes advantage of it, then that's a very useful revelation and a red flag. The relationship might be toxic. One of the partners might be a sociopath.
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MS
Miloš Stanković13 days ago
Darko Savic I'm gonna use the free pass on this one. 😄
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Juranium9 days ago
Darko Savic I must agree with Miloš Stanković. Talking is the key to a successful relationship, which is why psychologists and marriage counselors exist. Considering the fact many relationships are not perfect, people are encouraged to talk, work it out, and meet others' needs. You mentioned the case when the argument is the result of stuff that has piled up in the background and has little to do with the current issue. In that case, the current issue should be the trigger to talk about the past problems and finally clear them out. Taking a free pass is just prolonging the awkward but needed conversation. Postponing fights until they are pointless would diminish the importance of the current issue for the "issue-maker", which would possibly reduce the importance of his/her opinion, leading to, as Miloš said, "resentment and measuring of whose argument was bigger or more valid down the line".
It seems like these free passes would be there for people not ready to make an effort and work on their relationships.
I would rather suggest creating a problem-tracing app that offers you questions that you can ask your partner to trace back problems and resolve the underlying issues. That way the partners could know each other better and resolve problems that are the source of small fights you wanted to skip with the free pass.
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