No one really likes doing it but the truth is that fighting is inevitable in any relationship. It just comes with the territory. If the gloves are going to come off, it is best to fight clean. Yes, there is a right way to fight in a relationship, and here’s how to do so without hitting below the belt:
Know What You’re Fighting About
Even if it starts out about something silly, like not putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, you need to know what is at the root of the conflict. Maybe the real issue is you feel that your partner doesn’t help out enough around the house; maybe you’ve asked them to clean up time after time and you are feeling that they are just not listening to you. The key is communication. Make sure you understand what the deeper issues are and whether or not it is worth blowing up over. Once you have identified that, communicate it to your significant other. Give your partner a chance to see the big picture so that they know you are not blowing your fuse over something small, even though that may have been the catalyst.
Know the Rules
The days of punching each other and name calling should be left on the playground. Being physical is never the answer. And sometimes words can hurt even more than any slap in the face, so choose them wisely. Odds are, you know which buttons to push that are sensitive for your partner. Don’t push them just to see what happens. We all have our baggage and issues that are off limits. Stick to what is relevant and don’t ever say something just to be hurtful, no matter how hurt you are. Be the bigger person and turn the other cheek. If your partner is constantly pushing those hot-button issues and going where you told him not to, it might be time to walk away and not become a fellow mudslinger.
Know Who to Involve
Being in the middle of a lover’s quarrel is never fun. It is a fast way to lose friends, so never involve them. Of course, we all confide in our besties to hear us out and blow off some steam, but they should never be called upon to do your fighting for you. Don’t force them to choose sides. And for the love of all things holy, don’t post/tweet/Instagram about these disagreements. That is TMI for everyone else and just plain inconsiderate of your partner’s privacy.
Know How to Walk Away
A dramatic exit is great for a wedding or a theatrical performance, but when in the middle of fighting, it is never wise to leave kicking and screaming. Don’t slam doors or kick someone out of a car. If you truly need to leave the situation to deal, then explain calmly that you are angry and need to take a walk. And don’t leave in the middle of your partner saying their piece – as ridiculous as it may be. If you want to be heard out, you have to hear them out. Even if things end in a break up, try to walk away with grace so that you will always be remembered as the one who got away – not the drama queen who slammed doors, screamed, cried and ended up single.
Know How to Deal
Fighting never feels good, but you need to handle this dispute like an adult. If you are feeling really angry, I recommend a hardcore workout to get that aggression out of your system. Any sort of meditation or maybe a spa treatment or massage are a good idea. Maintain your calm and focus on you, and your health. Take the time to hang out with friends and family and cherish the other relationships in your life that are important to you.
Know How to Change
They say you can’t change people, and maybe sometimes you can’t. But if you really love someone and are getting to a point where you are fighting over the same issues again and again, think about what you can do differently. Change doesn’t have to mean reinventing yourself or being brainwashed. Sometimes it just means bending a little. Try offering up healthy compromises when you and your partner are fighting. Sometimes it’s about what you can do to help rather than just pointing out how the other person is not helping.
Remember, you are ultimately fighting for your relationship. Everyone has the right to be heard. Don’t worry about “winning” or “losing” your arguments, just be willing to work towards a solution together. If your partner is not interested in solving things, then question what you are doing together in the first place. And above all else, don’t ever be afraid to say “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t negate everything you said or make the fight null and void, but it does show that you are mature enough to admit that you care about your significant other and their feelings.
Some things are worth fighting for, and some are not. Regardless, finding common ground is the best way to win someone over or maybe even win someone back. And that’s how everyone wins.