Every couple fights. It’s a fact of life! Arguing in a relationship helps to vent feelings and can even be healthy for a relationship.
Unfortunately, not everyone fights fair. Lots of couples will start arguments with each other when it’s not even necessary and while the occasional fight is normal and healthy, fighting all the time can take a toll on your relationship.
How can you avoid a fight when you’re really just trying to have a discussion?
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
My partner and I fight a lot. Sometimes it gets really out of hand and we both end up feeling really bad afterwards, especially if the fight was over something stupid. How can I learn to fight fair?
Don’t Go On The Attack
Both men and women in a relationship will often go on the attack when they’re upset about something. It’s common for someone to place blame on their partner when they’re upset, especially if their partner did something that really bothered them. Unfortunately, going on the attack like this and placing blame on your partner is usually what starts a fight.
Even if you’re trying to discuss something with your partner, if you place blame at all, your partner is automatically going to go on the defensive. They will counter by placing blame on you, escalating to the argument until it is beyond the point of return.
You can avoid this if you approach your partner about the situation without blame and simply tell them how you feel or how something that happened made you feel.
Instead of saying something like, “I can’t believe you did this,” you can say, “When you did this, it made me feel . . . . ” Instead of placing blame and fault on your partner for doing something, giving them a chance to really understand how you feel.
This keeps a discussion a discussion instead of an argument or fight.
Own Up To The Feelings Behind The Anger
When you become angry at someone or something, chances are, your anger was only a secondary emotion. You likely felt hurt or scared first. Realizing this can help you to better communicate your feelings to your partner. Since anger has such a negative connotation behind it, even telling your partner that you feel angry can make your partner automatically become defensive.
If something he did made you angry, realize that it first might have made you feel frustrated, hurt or scared. Be open and honest with your partner and let your partner know what something they did or said really made you feel.
Recognizing your true feelings about something your partner did or said that upset you and expressing them to your partner without placing fault or blame can help to avoid starting a fight or argument.It won’t cause them to immediately become defensive and it will help put them in a position in which they can begin to understand how you felt when they did or said something.
While you can’t control your partner’s actions and how they’ll express their feelings about the situation, by remaining calm and avoiding becoming defensive, you can at least do your part not to help a fight or argument escalate.
While arguments in a relationship are healthy, it’s important to argue without being critical or hurtful. If you find yourself hitting below the belt, it’s time to adopt a more positive way of expressing your feelings to your partner!