Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could have your opponent in any given disagreement read and acknowledge a set of argument rules before the first verbal volley is launched? As an example:
1.You, the opponent, agree that any one storming away from this argument automatically cedes any claim to being right. You leave, you lose.
2.You also agree that this argument will be limited in scope to the immediate issue at hand. All past misdeeds, errors in action or speech, or miscellaneous issues are now past their statute of limitations and are inadmissable. Raise the issue when it happens, or let it go.
I know it’s not as cut and dry as that. There can be instances where the current argument is being triggered by a repeated behavior, so it makes sense to look at the past occurences of the same issue to demonstrate its habitual nature. And sometimes it might be a big enough emotional catastrophe that you need an extended amount of time to gather your composure and come up with a plan of action. But most of the time, forgetting to take out the garbage two weeks ago has nothing to do with who’s going to pay today’s phone bill. It’s a shame the garbage incident made you angry back then, but you can’t deposit that anger into a metaphysical savings account and withdraw it at some later date. If it wasn’t serious enough to deal with at the time, it’s not important enough to keep holding a grudge over.
The idea of an end-user agreement for arguments may make its way into a stage play-we’ll have to see how I feel about it after a few days.