No one wants to fight with their partner, but we all do, don’t we? When you’re so in love with a person and spend so much time building a life with them, you’re going to have some disagreements. Instead of letting these arguments get under your skin and throw your relationship off course, read these tips so you’ll be prepared to have a calmer, fairer fight in your relationship.
1. Trying to improve him/her
There’s no such thing as a perfect person, so don’t expect unrealistic changes. Reminding him or her to make the bed is one thing, but trying to radically change shyness or anxiety is another—and could be ignoring the underlying causes for those issues in the first place.
2. Avoid generalizations and be specific
When you’re fighting, you often just say whatever’s on your mind without thinking of how it will sound to your partner. When you say, “You always do this,” or, “You never say that,” you’re making your partner out to be inconsiderate, like they keep making the same mistakes. Think before you speak, and take away the ‘you always’ and ‘you never’ qualifiers. These phrases put your partner on the defense and they will immediately come back with, “I don’t always…,” which will derail your argument. Reference specific times when your partner forgot to do or say something and only say these things, instead of making them feel like you’re dumping everything on them at once.
3. Finding faults with the fam.
The ’rents may be harder to handle than your significant other. But even if there’s some clashing of heads, don’t focus on the family’s faults. Getting criticism from family members can make people feel depressed and hostile—which means some tense holiday dinners . Besides, the situation can’t be worse than what Gaylord went through.
4. Set out to become closer, not to win
It’s really hard to not want to win a fight. In fact, it’s one of my biggest problems. I think I’m right, and therefore I want to win and be proven right. But that’s not fair in a relationship. During a fight, you should be trying to understand your partner’s point of view. You’re having a disagreement because you don’t see eye to eye on an issue. You already know your opinion, so take time to listen to your partner. Once you hear their thoughts, you’ll feel closer to them. You’ll know them better, and can see things from their point of view in the future.
5. Fighting in public
As if PDA weren’t bad enough. Arguing in public can embarrass the couple and make everyone around feel awkward, too. Talk it out in private, please.
6. Negotiate and compromise
Instead of winning, try to make sure everyone gets what they want. Okay, that’s nearly impossible, but you can at least make sure each of you get a little something that you want. Compromising means you both give up something, but you both get something, and this will help move your relationship forward.
7. Not talking it out
If something is wrong, the other person probably can’t read your mind. When a problem comes up, speak upat the right time. One study suggests young couples are less stressed when they talk out their issues than when they keep their feelings bottled up. And don’t forget to say, “I love you.” Expressing emotions—positive and negative—can benefit that bond .
8. Establish a plan to move forward
Once you discuss a compromise you can both live with, establish a plan to implement this compromise in your daily lives. When you both know what is expected, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to keep this fight from happening again. You can both follow the plan you mapped out and know that your partner will be happy with what’s being done to change the relationship.
9. Timing discussions badly
Conversations about important issues, like relationship expectations and financial blunders, all have their time and place. Don’t bring up serious topics when someone’s stressed, like at the end of the workday or right before hosting a party. Set up a time to talk when both people are relaxed.
10. Use humor to tone down an argument
Using humor during an argument is a really helpful tip because if you or your partner crack a joke, you’ll laugh, lighten the mood, and remember that you love this person because they make your life fun. Laughing during a fight can break the tension and make you realize that the fight is kind of ridiculous. Be careful with this tip, though, because if you’re having a very serious argument, cracking a joke might make you seem heartless, like you’re not as invested in finding a resolution as your partner is.
When two people want to make it work, trust is key . Have confidence in your mate and respect their privacy: Don’t snoop through texts, emails, or bedroom drawers. (Definitely don’t use this!)
12. Look at and touch your partner
It’s easy to be angry at someone if you’re not standing right in front of them or looking at them. When you want to have a serious discussion with your partner, sit down next to or across from them and frequently make eye contact. Looking deep into your love’s eyes will remind you how strongly you feel for them, and might take some of the edge off the disagreement. The same goes for touching; feeling your partner’s skin, realizing they’re a real person with flaws and emotions, will help keep you grounded instead of just hurling insults at them from across the room.
13. Allowing jealousy to take over
Doubting your partner may be a symptom of a larger problem: relationship insecurity. And women who feel insecure in their relationships may be at greater risk forhealth issues like a weakened immune system . Some advice for reducing envy, at least temporarily? Stay off Facebook and other social networking sites .
15. Forget the past
It’s not fair to bring up past arguments or mistakes in your current disagreement, especially if the issue has already been forgiven. If you keep bringing up past problems, the argument may never end! Not to mention that thinking about the past will more than likely make you angrier, because even if you’ve forgiven the issues, you’re still thinking about past fights and that will only make you more eager to win the current disagreement.
16. Don’t let it ruin the relationship
What happens if you can’t reach a compromise or you can’t let the issue go? At this point, stop fighting and think about damage control. How much do you value the relationship? Is it worth fighting this hard? If the problem is very important to you, then maybe it is worth ending the relationship. However, you shouldn’t go into the fight thinking you’ll break up because of it. Try to make it work. Most often, the fight will be petty in the scope of the bigger picture, and your love is so valuable that you’re willing to let something go just to stay with your partner. This isn’t failure; this isn’t losing. This is knowing what you value and what you want in your life.