Surprisingly, the best relationships are not the ones where the partners don’t fight with each other. If you never argue with your significant other, your romance is either together very new or there may be something fishy going on behind the scenes.
In a healthy relationship, partners know how to fight fair. After all, most relationships take a dip in the toxic pool from time to time, usually because of passive-aggressive approaches to conflict resolution that end up alienating the partner.
So if you have been struggling with your boo and want a primer on what you can do to improve communication lines between the two of you, you have arrived at the right place. In this list, we will teach you how to fight with your partner in a healthy manner, without causing irrevocable damage to your relationship.
Ready to find out what to do? Here are 21 communication tips that will help you fight fair.
Handy tip: Bookmark this article so you can learn a few at a time and then apply them whenever you fight with your boo next. After all, practice makes perfect!
21Settle One Thing At A Time
In the heat of the moment, it’s very easy to blast your partner with a list of grievances that have ticked you off badly over the past few days or weeks. But this only ends up tiring you both and derailing the entire conversation until it becomes a verbal match to prove who has hurt the other the most.
So focus on the biggest problem at the moment, and solving that first. That will give both of you the incentive to keep solving the other problems you have. Just make sure you do it in order of urgency.
20Tell The Truth When Asked What’s Wrong
Girl, I am talking to you! Because our kind has this strange dereliction of getting pissed off at our partners and then chalking it up to “I am fine” or “nothing” when asked what’s wrong.
The truth is, no one’s a mind reader. And so if you have a problem or are miffed at your boo for something, speak up and let him know about it point blank.
Not only will this show you how much your partner cares about easing your hurt, but it will also teach you to be vulnerable around him. After all, fear of vulnerability is the main reason why we all shy away from speaking up about our needs.
19No Blame Games
Wouldn’t you be annoyed if your best friend marched up to you one day and told you that you are a selfish person who isn’t invested in your friendship as much as she is? You would be – until you realized she had been feeling that way because she’s the only one who bothers to call and catch up.
Well, that’s exactly what happens when instead of spelling out the problem, you blame your partner for whatever is going wrong in your relationship.
So steer clear of blame games and accept the part you played in creating the problem, like the friend in the above example who did not bring up the annoyance sooner.
18Don’t Let The Fight Drag On And On
There are a few things you must do to employ the wisdom of this advice:
One, never let grievances build up. Because they tend to boil over one day and annoy everyone involved, which causes fights to drag on for days or even weeks!
Two, when you discuss your problem, make sure to air out every little annoyance and observation. You will regret holding them back later on when these little ones swell up into big issues.
Three, once the fight has been settled, don’t waste entire days or weeks to get back to normal with your partner. We aren’t suggesting you forget the fight. But don’t punish your partner by remaining aloof or holding back your affection. That will sour the victory of solving the problem.
17Don’t Get Lost In The Petty Details
The problem isn’t that he rambles on and on about his day when you speak at night, never asking you how your day was. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to try out the food at the Indian restaurant you absolutely love. It isn’t even about him not wanting to meet your parents.
At the root of it, all these problems stem from the fact that you want to feel loved and seen and he isn’t fulfilling those needs of yours.
So if you have been grappling with recurring fights in your relationship, stop and analyze them for a while. Because the superficial details of all these fights might be hiding a singular problem at the core. And once you know it, you can solve the issue once and for all.
16“Never” And “Always” Are A No-No
It’s very easy to accuse your partner of “never” doing anything for you and “always” behaving like an immature person when you are spitting mad at him. But you know that’s not true.
After all, wasn’t he there for you when you came down with that terrible flu a few weeks back? And wasn’t she the one who talked you out of putting down your papers at work and encouraged you to improve your communication skills instead so you could hold your own with your boss?
So the next time you fight, be objective about just the problem and do not accuse your partner of “always” doing something wrong and “never” doing anything right.
15No Ultimatums Or Threats
If you believe that it’s okay to hurt your partner with mean zingers just because you were hurt by something they said or did, we have nothing more to say to you. Because the point of this article is conflict resolution, not vengeance. And threats and ultimatums have nothing to do with the former.
When you threaten your partner in the middle of a fight with harsh words or an aggressive stance, you immediately put them on the defensive, where they are more focused on saving their skin than solving the problem.
Also, ultimatums like making them choose between a parent/friend/pet and you or cleaning up their act or you walk, are the best way to distance your partner even more and drive a solid wedge in your relationship.
14Do Hold Hands To Build The Bond
It’s very natural to feel like you can’t stand to be in the same room as your partner when you are fighting. It’s a move taken right out of the handbook of passive aggression. But that doesn’t make it a very smart move.
Instead, try focusing on why you love this person despite the issue on hand and then reach out and hold their hand. This will help you achieve composure and understand that the problem is the problem, not the person.
Also, a gentle touch will tell your partner that though you are angry, you still love them. And that will encourage them to discuss the issue with you and eventually find a solution for it.
13Talk About Personal Feelings
As discussed earlier, blaming your partner for your combined relationship problems is the quickest way to a breakup. So cut the blame game, accept how you aided the issue (mostly by not speaking up on time), and then tell your side of the story.
Because there are always two sides. And the other side can often leave you feeling surprised, especially when you hear that your partner was blissfully unaware of the problem when you thought they had been doing it intentionally to hurt you.
So stick to the facts, don’t point fingers, and only talk about how you feel about the problem and why it’s affecting you that badly.
12Don’t Run Away From Fights
Passive and passive-aggressive stances are the most common ways people approach conflicts in their close relationships. And that mainly stems from a history of being bullied or being raised in an environment where your needs were never met and your cries were left unheard.
So if you have a habit of suppressing the negative feelings you have towards your partner or actively run away from fights when they bring up a problem, you need to first accept your escapist nature and then work on unveiling the psychological cause behind it.
Trust us, this will help you not only in your personal life but will also vastly improve your professional relationships.
11What Are Some Shared Goals?
One of the best ways of solving conflicts in relationships is by first stating what the two of you want to accomplish by the end of the discussion. That way you will not get derailed by heightened emotions or aggravated by petty details and a long list of grievances.
Plus, this will help you feel like a team attacking a problem rather than two opponents butting heads to get the upper hand.
In fact, this tip works even better when both of you realize your goals are the same. For example, when you say you want to smoothen out the rough patch so you can return to being a loving couple again and when he says he wants to find a solution that will bring a smile back on your face.
10Calm Down Before Discussing The Matter
While it’s always better to go to bed after resolving a fight, it’s not always possible to do so. Especially when one of you exploded like a volcano and divulged suppressed grievances from at least two months!
So the next time you realize your emotions are not stable and that there’s a big possibility your tongue might wag in awful directions, tell your partner you will discuss the problem with them after you have calmed yourself down.
Just make sure you don’t leave them unsure while you realign yourself. It’s always best to decide a time and day for the discussion before you go off.
9Show Them Some Empathy
It doesn’t matter whether you feel your partner is being over-sensitive or you feel they are being unresponsive about the issue you both are facing. What matters is that you try to put yourself in their shoes and empathize with the emotions they are feeling at the moment.
After all, whether heightened or repressed, all of us have different mechanisms of expressing our emotions based on our baggage and personal history. And accepting your partner’s way of expression, even if it contrasts with yours, can go a long way in making them feel comfortable enough to want to solve the problem together.
8Define The Real Problem
This point should have been higher up on the list. But here it is!
After all, what’s the point of talking in circles and pulling out past hurts to gain the upper hand if both of you lose sight of the real problem that set you off in the first place?
So, define the problem before you discuss the issue. And make sure you are defining the real problem, not the symptoms of it.
For example, if the problem is complacency, don’t make the conversation about who was more complacent. Focus on the real problem – complacency – and solve it.
7Don’t Be Harsh And Unkind
Harsh and unkind behavior is the anathema to love. So if you have a habit of chewing out your partner whenever you are angry at him, you need to find out the real reason why you do that and get it out of your system.
After all, the root of most of our unhelpful habits lies in our past. Especially if we have a lot of emotional baggage. And just knowing you shouldn’t seek vengeance in a fight or say means things to your partner will not help you to stop doing it.
So work on yourself if you have this problem and try to stop whenever you catch yourself doing this in the future.
6Gather The Facts First
It’s very easy to make snap judgments about your partner’s character based on mere observations. But that leads straight to a trap.
Why? Because all of us carry around inherent biases in our brain from past experiences, which can make us jump to the wrong conclusions.
So the next time your partner pisses you off, tell him that his behavior affected you badly for so and so reason and then ask him why he did it. The answer will most likely surprise you because all of us make mistakes unknowingly.
5Criticism + Praise = Positive Change
Here’s a handy trick you can try next time you are annoyed at a certain habit of your partner’s: start with praise and then state the problem.
For example, if you think your partner talks too loudly when you are out in public, tell him you love his warm and big personality, but would love it if he turned down the volume of his voice whenever you go out together because everyone can eavesdrop on your conversation.
Just remember, the praise has to be specific and related to the problem. Only then will your words be taken as constructive criticism.
4Texting Is Not A Good Medium For Conflict Resolution
Most people aren’t very good at verbal communication. And the ones who are good at the written forms of communication are an even smaller number. So it isn’t hard to understand why texting can muck up an already tense situation between you and your partner even more?
That’s why it’s never a good idea to fight or have an argument over text. Also, texting is a lot slower than speaking, and this opens up the possibility of leaving out vital information in the spur of the moment, which can lead to more misunderstandings.
So don’t chicken out and text. Calm yourself down first and then have a proper telephonic or in-person conversation with your boo to resolve the conflict.
3Don’t Use Old Arguments As Ammo When Losing
We briefly touched upon this in a previous point. Let’s dissect it better in this one.
First of all, women tend to do this more than men because a lot of us learn it by observing our mothers and aunts. Unfortunately, whether you are a man or woman, bringing up old arguments to bolster your feeble comebacks in present is a very low move.
It makes your partner lose all their trust in you because the two of you had settled it a long time back. And it also shows that you want to be proven right more than you want to resolve the problem.
2Keep Fights Strictly Private
Your fight with your partner is an internal matter between the two of you. So it’s best to keep it private.
That doesn’t mean you can’t turn to your best friend or your favorite family member for advice if you aren’t able to figure out how to solve the conflict with your boo. That’s a smart move…only if the person has a lot of wisdom and has demonstrated what you wish to learn.
But it’s not alright to include the entire neighborhood or your extended clan. Because when you do that it stops being constructive and immediately becomes a ploy to play the victim in the situation.
Trust us, your partner will never forgive you for dragging their name through dirt and making them seem like an imbecile or a monster responsible for your woes.
1Try Not To Fight At The End Of The Day When Everyone Is Tired
It’s not rocket science. After all, tempers tend to be short at the end of a tiring day when all you or your partner wants to do is flop down on the bed and doze off.
In fact, the problem can aggravate if you fight when one or both of you have not had your dinner yet. Trust us, hangryness is real.
So if you are feeling awful about something, sleep on it and bring it up the next day when both of you are fresh and alert. You will be less emotional then and more willing to find a solution.