Fighting in relationships: do’s and dont’s
How many couples have you met that have never argued? Chances are – none! Rows are unavoidable in intimate relationships.
Tiffs can turn ugly, but they can also bring people closer together. But the way you argue has an impact on the outcome – so fight fair!
Listen and respect
Do pay attention to your partner’s position, no matter how strongly you believe you’re right. A fair fight is one in which both parties have equal air time. If you’re yelling at the top of your voice 90 percent of the time or your partner is shouting at you for majority of the fight, it isn’t fair.
Always deliver points that will eventually help build a stronger relationship. In a fight, we often get carried away by emotions and there’s little room left for constructive thinking.
In such moments, remind yourself that the argument is only one tiny event in your important relationship and shift your focus towards constructive criticism.
Mean what you say
When we’re under pressure we often take it out on the people we’re closest too. So if a row is brewing and you’re the one starting it, think whether it’s your partner that’s really the source of your annoyance, or is it your boss, your bad day, or your money worries.
Before the fight gets started, take a deep breath and wonder if you really have something to argue about. Don’t end up saying something to your partner that you’ll regret just because you’re stressed out for some other reason.
Make up afterwards
Recovery from a fight can take time – sometimes days or even weeks – depending on the severity of the row. Do your bit to make a smoother transition. And make it as soon as possible. Let your partner know you still love him or her despite your differences.
Leave a note on the refrigerator or get some flowers. A big hug is probably even better. Or how about some racy sex? Making up after a fight is essential to return to normality.
Never get physically or emotionally abusive with your partner while arguing. If you hit your partner, they might give in but only because they are scared or frightened.
And don’t get into name-calling. By putting your partner into a stereotype, you only end up angering and hurting them. Think how you would feel if your partner did the same to you? Also, if you continue telling your partner that they are, let’s say, ‘good-for-nothing,’ not only will they start behaving in a way that they fit into that stereotype, the fear is that you could start believing it too.
At all costs avoid making emotional threats like, ‘If you leave me, I will hurt myself,’ or ‘If you carry on like this, it’s over.’ This will just force your partner into a corner and leave matters unresolved.
Of course, you or your partner might really think you’ve reached the end of the line. This doesn’t call for wild threats, but serious talk and respect for the other person’s view – even if it breaks your heart.
Don’t evade answers to important questions. Don’t avoid discussions, arguments or conflicts fearing the outcome. Learn how to tackle them maturely using the above tips and stop running away from fights. If you don’t involve yourself in a discussion, it could leave your partner dissatisfied and result in an unhappy relationship.
Go to sleep on an argument
Finally, it’s an old cliché, but you’ll feel much better if you manage to make up before bedtime, even if you haven’t settled your differences.
What’s more there’s even science to back it up. Sleep researchers discovered that bad emotional experiences get worse in your memory if you go to sleep before you’ve got back into a better mood. So push yourself to snap out of the sulk and reach out for that cuddle!
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