We all argue with our partners, it’s an inevitable part of being in a relationship, but it’s when those disagreements get out of control that fights can become damaging to the relationship. Once tempers have been lost, then you can give up all hope of finding a solution that you will both be happy with and the chances are, that the fight will leave someone feeling hurt, or hard done by. You can’t avoid disputes altogether, but you can take constructive steps to avoid them turning ugly. Here are ten tips that will help you and your partner to avoid a disagreement becoming a nasty argument.
1. Sleep on it
When something has just happened that made you angry, that is probably the worst time to raise the issue with your partner. Give yourself a day to think things through before you raise an awkward topic and give yourself time to calm down. Often things aren’t as bad as they seemed at the time and, if the issue is still bugging you, you will be in a better frame of mind to approach the topic constructively if you leave it for one day.
2. Work out what the real issue is
Quite often, the thing that you are fighting isn’t the real issue at all, it’s a just a way to vent your frustration over a bigger problem. A fight over the fact that your partner always leaves his dirty socks on the floor, could be more to do with the fact that you feel overworked, or under appreciated. Get to the root cause of the fight and discuss that constructively. That way, you will solve far more than just the sock issue you have been fighting about.
3. Is this really about your partner?
Make sure that you are not simply taking out your frustrations over something else on your partner. If you had a bad day at work, for example, or you don’t feel very well. If something else is troubling you, then you might be blowing the smallest of things out of all proportion, just so that you can let off some steam. It would much more productive if you told your partner how you really feel.
4. Call a time out
When you do feel that a discussion is becoming heated, the easiest way to stop it getting any worst is to take a break. Agree to leave the topic for the time being and go off to different rooms for a while. Even five minutes apart will give you some time to calm down and think a bit more logically.
5. Admit your own part of the blame too
When we get into angry arguments, we become so confrontational that we won’t even own up to what we really know we have done wrong. Admitting that you are, or could be, at fault will take some of the heat out of the fight and bring you closer to a compromise. It’s not easy to do when you are fuming, but it is a very effective way to bring an argument back to a conversation.
6. Remind yourself why you love your partner
If all you do is focus on your partner’s shortcomings, then you will get angry with him. When he does something that annoys you, take a few minutes to think through all the wonderful traits that he has and remind yourself just why you do love him. The little things that people often fight about are actually unimportant when you compare them to all the good things that you like about your partner.
7. Don’t avoid talking about important issues
Arguments often work in the same way as an explosion does. If you bottle something up for long enough, the pressure builds and builds until it all comes out in one big bang! If something is annoying you, or worrying you, get it out into the open straight away and discuss it with your partner, so that it can be solved before it leads to a fight.
8. Stay on topic
When you are in a disagreement with your partner, it can be very easy to start using things that have happened in the past as a weapon to win the argument. Stick to the topic at hand and avoid dragging up old arguments form the past, because this will not solve anything and it will only make the argument escalate further.
9. Never resort to insults or sarcasm
As soon as you hurl the first insult, or you drop in a bit of sarcasm, you can almost guarantee that the discussion will turn into a fully-fledged fight. However angry you might feel, avoid lowering yourself to these sorts of tactics, because hurt feelings will stay with you both long after the cause of the argument has been resolved and forgotten.
10. Make sure that you are both clear on a solution
When you do come to a resolution of a disagreement, make sure you are both clear as to what that resolution was, or the same argument will just develop again. Clarify what you have agreed and then stick to what you have promised. After that, you can kiss and make up and get with the rest of your life together.