Fighting is a part of every partnership (or at least it should be), and learning how to fight or disagree constructively is a big part of maintaining a healthy relationship. Sure, slamming the door and not coming out for hours sounds super fun, and yeah, sleeping at your sister's for a week will drive home some sort of point, but those two options aren't nearly as beneficial as having an effective conversation with your partner, even if you're seething.
Here are 5 ways to stop the fighting, and start the talking, before things get ugly.
- Speak using "I" statements. It's classic advice, but it works. Saying "I" statements helps you avoid saying anything you'll regret, like, "You're so lazy and all you do is watch TV!" and turns it into "I feel neglected when you don't help around the house." Feel the difference?
- Avoid sarcasm. A lot us try and use humor to diffuse a situation, which is great, just ... don't be sarcastic. Tensions are running high, so what you think is a sarcastic joke about divorce can be misinterpreted in the worst way possible.
- No response is sometimes the best response. When we're pissed off, confused, hurt, or even tired, we can be quick to lash out. When you're having a disagreement with your partner and you feel like going for the jugular, remember that sometimes it's just best not to say anything. There's always tomorrow to say how you really feel in a constructive, thoughtful way. Which brings me to ...
- There's always tomorrow. Sometimes when we're fighting, we think we have to say everything that's wrong, or unleash every frustration we've ever had in the history of the relationship because we think this fight is the only chance we'll get. Not true. I know we've been trained to seize the day, but in some cases, you need to seize the tomorrow. Or the next week. Or the month. Take time to think about what you want to say and what's really bothering you, then bring it up (yes, you can do that!) when you've both had time to step away from the trees and take a look at the forest.
- Breathe. Age old tip, but counting to 10 and taking deep breaths really, truly helps.
How do you diffuse a fight?