All couples fight. Healthy couples fight. Unhealthy couples fight.
When you bring two different people together, whether into a friendship or a romantic relationship, it’s bound to happen. No two people are completely alike in the way they think, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, so disagreements are really just a matter of time.
While fights between partners is nothing to raise any eyebrows about, there are good fighting habits and there are bad ones. Good habits make your relationship stronger while bad ones wear down not just the relationship, but both of you as individuals.
Here are some good habits you should pick up when it comes to fighting with the one you love.
1. Pick your battles
Before you fight, pause and consider if the issue at hand is even worth fighting about. Just because you’re upset doesn’t mean there are real issues or principles at stake. None of us are above a little pettiness and we all have bad days when the littlest of things can set us off.
So, ask yourself if the issue is worth fighting about. If this were the fight to break you up (it could happen), would it be worth it?
Oftentimes, we pick fights over the most trivial of things and it’s only when it’s too late, when we and our partners are both hurting from the fight when we realize we’re fighting over something really stupid. So, pick your battles, and master the art of letting things go to save yourself and your partner from a world of unnecessary pain.
2. Fight the problem, not the person
Bear in mind that when arguing, winning is not the goal–fixing the problem is. In the heat of an argument, we tend to lose sight of what the actual problem is, veering off course and attacking our partners by bringing up the past, throwing out accusations and firing off a whole bunch of hurtful words.
Not only does the problem remain unsolved, both sides wind up even more upset than when they started and bruised blacker and bluer for it.
3. Never deal in absolutes
When fighting, watch your language–especially with your usage of the words ‘never’ and ‘always’, as in “you’re always lying” or “you never support me”. These words tend to be used and abused when we fight, and it’s especially hurtful because it not only discounts all the times your partner has done right or made the effort to do so, it also has them thinking that’s what you think of them, even if those statements aren’t true and you only said it in a fit of anger.
4. Listen with an open mind
When fighting, most of us default into thinking we’re right. We know why we’re upset and the reasons are rock solid. Our game plan going into the fight is to make clear our feelings and our perspectives, and to get our partners to understand our point of view.
The thing is our partners probably think the same, and just like us, they’re sure their reasons are bulletproof. In my experience, in most situations, both parties have valid reasons for doing what they did. So, hear each other out and understand each others’ motivations. Even if things didn’t come out right, most times, they came from a place of love and you can only know this if you hear each other out with an open mind.
5. Don’t talk sh-t about your partner
What you keep telling yourself, you start to believe. Likewise, talking sh-t about your partner eventually affects the way you see them, which in turn colours your interaction with them, and consequently, hurts your relationship.
6. Don’t b-tch about your partner to your friends (too much)
When we run into trouble in our relationships, the first thing many of us do is whip out our phones and start b-tching to our friends. We rant and we build a case against our partners, telling these stories from our biased point of view, even exaggerating some of the details to pull our friends over to our side. And it feels good to get it off our chests and to have our feelings and reasons validated.
The thing is when our partners do something nice or sweet for us, not all of us relay that information to our friends, leaving them with this one-dimensional, terrible view of our partners.
Many of the times, we wind up forgiving our partners, because in the grand scheme of all the good things they’ve done and added to our lives, the bad stuff amounts to little. But our friends don’t have that full picture and may not forgive them, leading to all sorts of other tensions and drama.