How to handle arguments in a relationship? Before we get into that, let me show you how not to do it.
“I am so mad at you right now,” said Jane through gritted teeth as she paced around in the bedroom. “What did I do?” enquired the ever-clueless boyfriend. “Oh nothing at all, you have been an absolute delight for the last three days. I am just a crazy miserable bitch who likes fighting for no good reason,” replied Jane, sarcasm literally dripping off her chin.
“It’s all right. You must be menstruating.” Yes, the boyfriend really said that. Right before Jane sent him to me for a 101 on how to handle arguments in a relationship. But not before flinging a photo frame at his head. Jane is a good friend of mine and a very even-tempered person in general. The boyfriend – although I know him mostly through Jane – seems like a genuinely nice guy. Yet, the wound on his forehead paints an entirely different picture of both of them.
Fighting in early stages of relationship is very common and, honestly, to be expected. You have allowed a new person in your life and put them closest to your heart. There’s bound to be some hurt and discomfort. But as your understanding of each other improves, so should your ability to handle small arguments in a relationship.
Most people think the only way to end an argument is to apologize. That’s a classic rookie mistake. Apologizing might end the discussion, not the argument. If you see a future with someone you are dating, it is paramount you learn how to end an argument without apologizing, especially when you’re saying sorry just for the sake of it or without it being your fault. After all, you don’t want to spend the rest of your lives saying ‘sorry’, do you? To that end, let’s explore how to handle arguments in a relationship better.
Are Arguments Normal In A Relationship?
What do you think is most pivotal to maintaining a healthy relationship? Sex? Not going to help you much after a point in time. Surprises? Gets trickier and trickier as you know each other better. Communication? Bingo!
Sharing your emotions with your partner is key to staying connected with them on a deeper level. And when I say emotions, I don’t mean only the pleasant ones. While you must definitely tell your partner how they still conjure butterflies in your stomach, you must also tell them when they are being a pain in the neck. And what do you think their response to that will be? Yep, unless you are dating Gandhi, your partner is going to tell you just how big of a pain in the neck you are as well.
And before you know it, you are right in the middle of an argument. Now, tell me. Does any part of the above process seem unnatural to you? Of course not. Expressing your feelings can sometimes get a bit messy, but it’s still much better than bottling them inside you to fester. Arguments are not just normal in a relationship but they are actually a sign of healthy dynamics between the couple.
Related Reading: 12 Reasons Arguments In A Relationship Can Be Healthy
How To Handle Arguments In A Relationship – 7 Effective Tips
Fights are a part and parcel of being in a serious relationship. Arguments in a long-distance relationship, especially, are indispensable. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, what kills a long-distance relationship – or any kind of relationship – is not emotional conflict but the lack of emotional connection. In such cases, arguments can be blessings in disguise that end up bringing you closer to your partner, provided they are handled the correct way. This is especially true for marital conflicts.
How you react during an argument determines how comfortable your partner will be opening up to you in the future. Sometimes you can end an argument with one word, but the wrong choice of word can also create an emotional rift between you and your partner. It is much healthier to try and resolve the argument than end it, no matter how long it takes.
Having said that, there is such a thing as too many fights in a relationship. While constructive conflicts may improve your relationship, an excess of negative emotions can destabilize it. The key here is to convert arguments into an exercise for understanding each other better. Once you find the correct way to navigate through conflict, arguments become a lot more fruitful and a lot less taxing. Below mentioned are 7 well-founded pointers on how to handle arguments in a relationship:
1. Listen. Take a deep breath. Speak
I know, it’s far easier said than done. If all of us could respond coolly when angry, the world would be a much different place. Well, that’s where the breathing comes in. It works as a switch between the subconscious and the conscious part of our minds. A simple pause and a few deep breaths before launching into a complaint will help you to better articulate your thoughts.
More importantly, it gives you time to consider what words would get through to your partner and not just invoke a retort. These few seconds are often enough for us to switch to a more compassionate and calm attitude toward the problem and the person in front.
2. Center your arguments on ‘I’, not ‘you’
The purpose of an argument is to let the other person know that you have been hurt. What an argument often turns into is a blame game on how the other person has screwed up. When you tell people – even loved ones – how they were wrong or how they are responsible for your pain, they are bound to go on the defensive.
This is the worst situation to have a discussion. To avoid this, express your grievances in terms of “I was hurt” or “I felt betrayed” instead of “You did this!”. This helps to put your partner in a more sympathetic mode and actually listen to you.
Related Reading: The 9 Fair Fighting Rules For Couples | By Expert
3. How to handle arguments in a relationship? Avoid digging up the past
In marriages and long-term relationships, arguments tend to circle back to a few specific instances. The primary reason for this is that the issues weren’t resolved satisfactorily when they should have been. But if you keep rehashing old fights and who did what years ago, it becomes increasingly difficult for the relationship to grow.
When either party feels they are losing the argument, they tend to bring up past instances. You might think it would strengthen your side of the argument. But what it really does is sidetrack the real discussion. Make it a rule to never bring up an old argument while resolving the present one. Instead of mulling on the past mistakes, this will help you focus solely on the issue at hand. Letting go of the past is imperative for being happy in a relationship and with yourself.
4. Always hear them out
Sometimes arguments are not about solutions. Sometimes, all that is needed is for things to be said out loud. It serves as a cathartic release that can relieve a person from emotional stress. And if the person feels his cathartic release is falling upon sympathetic ears, the sense of relief is much stronger.
During arguments, however, listening to the other person can feel like a chore. We’re so eager to express our emotions that we tend to ignore what our loved one is saying. But the person with a problem is the one who needs to be heard.
Instead of immediately defending yourself, simply listen and inform your partner that you have heard them. This helps demonstrate that you understand what your partner is feeling and where they were coming from. When you just listen, you’re more likely to have a productive conversation rather than a mindless fight.
5. Choose the right time to fight
Even in the most communication-friendly environs, it can be difficult to settle all disagreements immediately. You might be running late for an important meeting or perhaps you have just had a big argument with a friend, and your partner decides to bring up a problem.
What do you do? You could try to settle it quickly by offering a perfunctory apology, but that won’t really solve anything. Besides, knowing how to end an argument without apologizing is imperative for an equal relationship.
Then, how to handle arguments in a relationship? By setting aside some time to properly work through issues. You should respond along the lines of, “Let’s talk about this tonight. We’ll have enough time then to properly discuss the issue.” This will also allow your partners the opportunity to get their own thoughts in order. They can consider the best way to express their emotions in a calmer, more rational manner, rather than attacking you.
6. Apologize without apologizing
Do you say ‘I love you’ every time you wish to express your love? Is your relationship filled with typical, movie-inspired romantic cliches? Or do you and your partner have your own unique way of showing care and affection? I am pretty sure it’s the latter. And if you can love without saying the same three words every time, why do you need to say ‘sorry’ to apologize every time? Saying ‘sorry’ to try and end an argument with one word is a classic rookie mistake.
It’s not just about acknowledging that you’ve wronged your loved one and that you owe them an apology; you need to convey how much they mean to you. Some people expect grand gestures of apologies, while others want to hear, “I’m sincerely sorry I hurt your feelings, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.” You need to figure out what works for you and your partner. This is the reason why fighting in early stages of relationship – and resolving those fights – is so much more difficult.
7. How to handle arguments in a relationship? Never make threats
Emotions run high during arguments. When the argument is with those closest to you, emotions are as high and volatile as they can be. At such times, it’s easy, no, it’s tempting to let out your anger and say the most hurtful things possible. While occasional outbursts of negative feelings are acceptable in serious relationships, making threats has an entirely different effect.
No matter how angry or hurt you are by your partner’s actions, never threaten to end the relationship or get divorced. Whether you mean it or not, those words can have a long-lasting impact on the person who hears them, making them feel insecure in the relationship long after the fight is over. This advice is crucial when it comes to arguments in a long-distance relationship. But if you can’t handle small arguments in a relationship – long-distance or otherwise – without resorting to threats, your connection with your partner needs a lot of strengthening.
Related Reading: Why Do Fights Become More Important Than Relationships?
There it is, a conclusive guide on how to handle arguments in a relationship. We hope these tips and tricks for handling arguments will serve you well the next time you get on the wrong side of your partner. And yes, we do hope for you two to have lovers’ tiff every now and then. Because let’s face it, what is love about if not bringing out the rawest and most honest emotions from inside that heart of yours?
Generally, yes. Arguments are normal and, in most cases, good for a relationship. They allow you to stay true and emotionally open with your loved ones. However, you must take caution that arguments are handled constructively. If arguments are not correctly resolved they can fester into the negativity that can seriously harm your relationship.
It is not about reducing arguments in a relationship. It is about resolving them. If you believe that you and your partner have been fighting more than usual, then there might be a deeper unresolved issue with the relationship. The only way to deal with it, and in turn reduce arguments, is to acknowledge there is a problem and discuss it with your partner in a safe, non-judgmental space.