Despite how satisfied you are with your relationship, every couple gets into it sometimes. Maybe your partner won't break that irritating habit of leaving the toilet seat up, or you start to become sick and tired of their aimless nagging — look, nobody's perfect. Arguing is a totally natural part of any relationship. There are, however, a few healthy arguing techniques that separate couples who are happy overall and those who may be headed toward destruction.
Although many people worry that arguing is a sign that something may be wrong in the relationship (i.e., a compatibility issue, unwillingness to compromise over something fundamental, etc.), in reality, it would definitely be a concern if two years into a relationship, you and your partner never had so much as a single disagreement. This is not to say that you should worry if you and your boo never duke it out as long as you both are being honest about your wants and needs. (We all know how tempting it can be cover up our true feelings in hopes of avoiding conflict.)
The truth is, the vast majority of disagreements can be resolved with just a few adjustments to your fighting style.
1. They Take Turns Talking
I have to say that I am the worst when it comes to this one. The minute I get heated, I start talking a mile a minute without letting my partner get a word in.
When you're upset about something, it can be easy to forget that every situation has two sides, and no matter how convinced you are that you're right, it's only fair that you each get the opportunity to present your case. Not talking over each other shows your partner that you care about what they have to say and their opinions on the issue — yes, even when deep down, you know they are spouting BS by the mouthful.
In my opinion, this is the key to keep your arguing at a manageable level that won't leave you feeling guilty for saying something you shouldn't have. I know, I know, but what if they did something super messed up? Don't they get their rights revoked? Nope.
2. They Avoid Letting The Conversation Escalate To Yelling
The biggest way to keep arguing from exploding into a relationship-ending fight, believe it or not, is by following point number one and letting your partner talk. Why? Because the minute you throw caution to the wind and stop taking turns speaking is the minute you begin to talk over each other. Once you start talking over each other, the person who feels it's their turn to talk starts talking louder to ensure they are being heard. Before you know it, you're screaming at full volume an inch away from their face, and the chance to settle things diplomatically has gone out the window.
Now, that being said, if the subject of the argument is particularly sensitive (i.e., a suspected infidelity), it can feel almost impossible to keep things at a calm level. But you must try.
3. They Don't Bring Up Past Issues (Unless They Are Very Relevant)
We've all been there in the heat of arguing when we feel like our partner is not really listening, let alone absorbing, a word that we're saying. In these moments, it can be all too tempting to throw just about everything they've ever done wrong in their face. But please, please resist the urge.
If something from the past that your partner did is still upsetting you or, for whatever reason, was left unresolved, it is totally OK to start a conversation about it. However, if you are in the middle of a fight about a completely unrelated topic, it is a very bad idea to bring up arguments outside of the one that's currently happening. Mainly because this is a black hole — all it does is give you more reasons to keep fighting.
On the other hand, if they have been displaying patterns of related bad behavior, drawing on past situations to prove your point isn't the worst. But do tread carefully.
4. They Acknowledge Each Other's Viewpoints
Once you're amped up and convinced that they are the one who's completely in the wrong, it can be really tough to acknowledge any validity in their point of views. Even when you're upset, if your partner is saying things that you know deep down are true, then it doesn't hurt to give credit where credit is due.
This doesn't mean that you have to let them wiggle their way out of the issue at hand, but it does present an opportunity to remember that in the end, you are with them because in the grand scheme of things, you are both on the same side. Even if the situation doesn't allow for you to acknowledge their viewpoints, it's a good idea to at the very least acknowledge their feelings.
5. They Don't Resort To Below The Belt Tactics Purely For The Sake Of Winning
There is absolutely no reason you or your partner should resort to name-calling or any other immature tactics to distract from the main source of the argument. Usually, the person who initiates this behavior is doing it because inside, they know that they are in the wrong. In a last-ditch effort to "win," they say something hurtful and completely irrelevant.
This is extremely unhealthy. Arguing doesn't give you a free pass to go HAM on your significant other. If you say something hurtful in the middle of the fight, don't make the mistake of thinking your partner will be so easy to forgive you because you "got caught up."
If you ever find yourself in an argument where things have escalated to a point where you feel physically or emotionally threatened, then it is time to stop immediately and remove yourself from the situation. Even if they continue to try to engage, sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back, separate yourself, and return to the topic at another time when you both are feeling fully in control.
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