When you are in a relationship, arguments and fights are pretty common; at times when you’ve fought with your partner, it may feel like it is the end of the world. But the truth is that no relationship can be without its ups and downs. Furthermore, the problem intensifies when you start blaming each other for whatever happened. For example, you feel that you did not do anything to deserve the rude behaviour, whereas your partner expresses their anger against your response to a particular situation.
So what do we do in such a situation? The first thing you need to do is self- introspect about the events that transpired and stop criticising yourself. Also, having compassion is crucial for making sense of your and your partner’s reaction. Moreover, relationships are dynamic in nature, and it does not stay the same; with time, you gradually learn about each other’s needs, desires and prerogatives.
In the initial phase, you may think that you have figured them out, but later, you realise that you have witnessed some aspects of them. It takes time and effort to know and understand a person; therefore, do not freak out and play the blame game when a problem arises between you and your loved one.
Have a direct approach
Sometimes people choose indirect ways to express whatever is bothering them instead of addressing the issue directly. For instance, suppose you arranged a dinner party, and one of your colleagues came, during the party you saw her flirting with your partner. So, you find yourself being condescending to him, acting rudely, and arguing with him. Consequently, you both end up fighting, and you cry yourself to sleep. Does that benefit anyone?
Similarly, other times, partners may avoid discussing a severe topic that later becomes more convoluted. As a result, this creates misunderstanding amongst one other; therefore, next time, directly address the issue to avoid potential underlying hostility.
Communicate without blaming
Communication is significant for a long-lasting relationship, but at the same, it should be a substantial and meaningful one. For instance, if a man is frustrated because of his girlfriend’s carelessness and says mean and awful things as he is angry, she will feel insulted and become defensive. But if the man communicates his feelings in a rational approach by explaining the outcome of her behaviour, it will help her to gain insight.
Furthermore, they can use the ‘’I statement’’ such as I am worried most of the time because you might get in trouble if you are not careful. As in such sentences, you communicate your feelings without blaming your partner, enabling them to correct their behaviour instead of creating any hostility.
Statements like, ‘’ you always use the same excuse to avoid the situation’’, ‘‘you never do your work on time’’, ‘’you always blame others for your mistakes’’ or ‘’you always staring at your phone’’ negatively impact a person’s self-esteem. Therefore, if you see repeated behaviour, have an open discussion, where you point out helpful ways to become more attentive.
One issue at a time
Did you ever fight wherein you could not help but bring up different problems about your partner all at once? And what was the consequence, I bet he did the same, and the fight escalated into a bigger one.
Conflict researchers John Gottman referred to the continuous squabbling about unending issues as kitchen sinking. The phrase relates to an old expression, “everything but the sink,” which indicates someone mentioning everything in an ongoing conversation. Moreover, this is not the strategy to solve any personal problems; in the heat of the moment, you might feel that you will have the upper hand by blurting out all their past and present problems. But it will worsen the situation and hurt your partner, which might have been your momentary aim; however, it will affect the relationship.
So, the issue that started the fight or disagreement in the first place continues to discuss that solely, without straying into other matters. Like segregating different responsibilities of our lives, we take time to resolve relationship issues one at a time.
Hear them out
When a woman is talking, her husband or partner often interrupts and vice versa; it happens because the partner assumes that they know what the other will say. Therefore, especially during the time of problem resolution, they do not give the minimum time to express themselves. Consequently, this creates a communication gap between the two; because they fail to realise how important it is to give them time to explain their perspectives.
Active listening is just as critical as productive communication; listening to him attentively when your partner speaks. After that, you can paraphrase or rephrase and ensure that you have understood what your partner was trying to convey. For instance, ‘’ you don’t want to organise the party at that venue.
These strategies help prevent misunderstandings before they start and indicate that you have been listening to your partner.
Don’t get too defensive to your partner’s complaints.
Getting defensive when someone criticises you is a natural impulse, but getting too defensive when someone is pointing out your mistakes is not helpful. For instance, when a wife complains about her partner not helping around the house and requests him to help her out with house cleaning, his response is he does not have time to spare. So, she suggests the weekend, which is usually free, but he replies that Saturdays and Sundays are for him to rest. Besides this being defensive behaviour, a lack of appreciation towards the partner can create a rift in the relationship.
Look at a situation from a different perspective.
It is okay to be opinionated, headstrong, and always put your views upfront; simultaneously, you should see things from others’ perspectives. Also, research has shown that perceptive people are less likely to become angry during a conflict discussion. At the same time, taking an objective view of a particular situation is immensely helpful. Because depending on the situation, you need to take an appropriate step. Hence, you cannot always cater to understanding from your partner’s point of view.
Avoid getting overwhelmed with negativity.
Imagine arguing with your partner, and you both start hurling abuses at each other; neither of you stops and continues for hours. As the conflict goes on, you cannot help but feel contempt and anger against each other. Gottman and his colleagues refer to this behaviour as ‘’negative affect reciprocity, where the couple exchanges insult and contemptuous remarks against each other.
Take a time-out
It is essential to stop the argument when you feel that negativity has consumed you; moreover, personal differences crept up only when there is a lack of understanding and communication. So, if you think the relationship has gradually been affected by negativity, talk things out, don’t wait for time to fix things.
Most importantly, finding love and maintaining the bond is equally difficult, so if you have found the love of your life, it does not matter how long it has been; take time to clear the misunderstandings and appreciate each other.