Getting into heated arguments from time to time is a normal part of most healthy relationships. What drives different couples to argue in a relationship can very widely, depending the dynamic and temperament of those involved. Surprisingly, the health of your relationship is less dependent on if and even how much a couple argues, but rather, on how.
Figuring out a productive means of conflict resolution is not only important for romantic relationships, but it is a life skill that can make a huge difference when it comes to being better at communication overall. One of the most frustrating things about unhealthy arguing habits is that in the end, more often then not, the root of the issue is never really resolved. Instead, many couples end up spending all night throwing everything wrong their partner has ever done over the course of their relationship in their face.
Elite Daily reached out to relationship expert Susan Winter to better understand the type of argument tactics healthy couples should avoid. Don't let these common pitfalls stand in the way of a healthy and happy partnership between you and the one you love.
There you are in the heat of an argument, and a truck load of pretty messed up things to say to your partner come flooding into your mind. But before you let a slew of insults come flying out of your mouth that you can't take back, resist the urge. "Name-calling is a way of hurting the other person, making fun of them, and putting them down. It has no place in an adult romantic fight," says Winter.
If you feel yourself getting to the point in argument when you no longer feel in control of your words, then this is the time to remove yourself from the situation and resume the discussion when you are able to talk about what upset you without resorting to insults.
"Name-calling is strictly grade school behavior. The partner (or partners) who engages in this form of personal assault is not functioning with mature emotional capacity," explains Winter.
When we get upset, it can be easy to blame all of the problems surrounding a current situation — and even the entire relationship — on our partner. Despite how tempting it can be to relinquish ourselves of any responsibility, more often than not, what lead to this behavior are usually a result of decisions made on both sides.
"Even when we think it’s a clear case of our partner being at fault, there’s some aspect of our involvement that can also be amended for the better," says Winter.
Grandma was right — it takes two to tango. Relationships and their conflicts are the result of the actions (or inactions) of both parties, and blaming one person for a two person dynamic can feel a bit unfair. "Pointing fingers, blaming or accusing our mate is dirty fighting and it’s nonproductive," says Winter.
"Attacking can be verbal, psychological or physical. It’s the ultimate form of being a bully. Attacking our mate is for the purpose of instilling fear and compliance," explains Winter.
Nobody wants to be in a situation where they feel threatened in any way by the person they love. Not only does this usually end up triggering the fight-or-flight response, opening up the potential for the fight to escalate to new heights with no resolution in sight, but it also increases the likelihood that the original argument topic gets derailed.
Before you know it, you'll be blowing out your vocal chords over the fact that your partner can never remember to put the toilet seat down.
4. Condemning And Shaming
If you are in a fight where things have escalated beyond accusing and into attacking or condemning/shaming, then it is definitely time to press pause, warns Winter. This is the point where the possibility of things becoming physical increases.
"Condemning and shaming our mate is meant to emotionally and psychologically batter our partner. The end goal is control. This is not an acceptable behavior, and cannot foster a healthy relationship," notes Winter.
Keeping things at the lowest possible level of intensity when having a heated dialogue with a partner is much easier said than done, but if you hope to build and maintain a healthy bond then it is absolutely necessary. Instead of trying to "win" the fight, try to focus on uncovering the real root of the issue — which isn't always the surface level straw that initiated the disagreement.
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