Are you and your partner one of those couples who is always bickering? Do your friends refuse to go on a double date with you because they know you'll spend it arguing with your partner? Is it rare that you and your boo go a week without some kind of blow up? For some couples, having conflicts can be a part of their romantic spark, but a well-spent argument has a time and place. If you feel like you are missing out on the best parts of your relationship because you are always fighting with your partner, switching up the terms of your relationship can help you achieve a healthy balance.
If you start to pay attention to the patterns you and your partner fall into when you're arguing, you might find that disrupting your routine gives you both some levity and some breathing room when you're addressing conflicts. If both of you find something more entertaining to do than bickering, you also might find that you were only fighting out of boredom in the first place. And don't listen to the naysayers who might believe that, because you are arguing, it's over. Conflict is a healthy and important part of any relationship, and love is usually worth fighting for — as long as you and your significant other are not constantly at war.
Here are some habits you can break if you find that you and your boo are always using fighting words:
1. Staying Engaged In The Conflict
Disengaging from an argument can be super difficult, but relationship expert April Masini, of Relationship Advice Forum, says that if you find yourself in frequent fights with a partner, you should "just stop."
"It takes two people to engage in anything," Masini says, "whether it's a relationship or a fight. But it only takes one to end the engagement — again, whether that's a relationship or a fight."
If, mid-way through an argument, you suddenly get sick of the conflict all together, then you can decide that you don't want to fight about it anymore. But if you're worried about the issue being unresolved, you might want to try another method, because this one won't put your issues to rest.
2. Being Super Serious
Making a joke can take the wind out of an argument's sails, Masini says. "Breaking the tension with humor is a great way to give yourselves perspective on the fight at hand, as well as get out of it!" she continues.
So the next time you and your partner find yourselves going head-to-head about something trivial, you can disarm them with a dose of your signature wit. Of course, if your partner doesn't have a sense of humor — or deliberately refuses to laugh — you might need to save your stand-up for the next open mic night. Personally, I don't know if there is a conflict that a well-placed whoopee cushion couldn't fix.
3. Staying Stuck On The Subject For Too Long
When your partner goes right, you should veer left, Masini says, and change the topic of conversation completely. "Non sequiturs are a great tool to use when you're arguing with your partner," she says. Saying something like, "Have you caught up on Stranger Things yet?" can help you both realize that you would much rather be spending your time on something else anyway. If your partner presses the subject, you can always tell them that fighting is boring, and you'd rather siphon off the lingering tension with a scary show instead.
4. Being Unapologetic
If you constantly feel like you've been wronged and that's why you're starting to argue, saying you're sorry when you don't mean it can feel like eating crow, and you might harbor resentment long after the fight's faded from memory. But if you truly are sorry that you're fighting, Masini says that a quick apology can make an argument lose all of its steam.
"[An apology] is disarming. It's charming. And it changes the tenor of the dynamic at hand," she elaborates. As a bonus, it also opens the door for your partner to apologize to you as well — only if they feel like it, of course.
5. Staying In One Place
Masini recommends that if you and your partner are arguing while stuck in your apartment, for example, you should change the venue. "Take a break and go for a walk, play tennis together, have lunch at a restaurant away from where you are fighting at the moment," she says. Getting away from the site of the disaster can give you both breathing room and something else to think about.
What about if you're on a long road trip or somewhere you can't get away from one another? "Simply put a pin in the convo and agree to reconvene the following day," Masini says.
When you take some time to process, both of you might approach your disagreement through a fresh lens. Maybe the issues weren't as big as you initially believed, or perhaps you find that there are more productive ways to resolve a disagreement than by going head-to-head. At the very least, switching up your habits will give you and your significant other a chance to reconnect with one another on different terms. Maybe you will find that is just what you need to nip your next fight in the bud.
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