Couples who say they don’t fight are lying. Sure, they might be perfect for each other, but nobody’s perfect, so sooner or later, every couple is going to have a fight. Actually, fighting is necessary in order to have open and honest communication. If you’re not fighting, it either means you’re not being honest with each other or that you don’t feel passionately enough about each other to try. That said, there’s a big difference between healthy fighting and unhealthy fighting. In a healthy relationship, couples fight well – I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s totally possible to be good at arguing with your bae. Fighting well and fighting fair is good for everybody and like everything else, is a learned skill set.
To start, a fight shouldn’t be looked at as a competition for who the better partner is or anything like that. You should be in it to win it, yes, but not for yourself, for the state of your relationship. You’re a couple, after all, and that means you’re allies and not enemies. Not all fights have to be next-level screaming matches or “who can ignore who longer” texting battles. The success of a fight isn’t measured in who wins and loses, it’s in how much it hurts or helps your relationship. And cue cheesy Full House “moral of the story” music! I hate saying it
no I don’t but it’s cheesy because it’s true. If you’re stuck in a toxic fight pattern with your person, here are nine ways to be better at arguing with bae.
Know That Timing And Tone Are EverythingDon't start a fight when you're out in public, during Thanksgiving dinner, or at a party with a lot of your friends. When you say you need to talk, don't make it sound like you're going to break up when you're just going to talk about something that only bugs you a little bit. Texting does an awful job at conveying tone, so in person or phone calls are the best. The set up, fall out, and overall setting of a fight are all key players in fighting better with your significant other. Give yourself enough privacy to have an honest argument so you're not censoring yourself talking about private stuff at a friend's house with everybody in the next room.Source: iStock
Remember What You Like About ThemWhen someone royally pisses you off, they turn into a toxic hellbeast, but remember that you genuinely like this person. You might even love them! So, if you're not breaking up with them or in an abusive relationship, you will fight a lot better if you remember what you like about this person in the first place and how they make your life that much better just by being in it. Keeping this in mind will help you have a much more compassion-centered, productive argument rather than just a knock-down drag-out fight where it could get really ugly and your relationship winds up worse than when you started fighting in the first place.Source: iStock
Keep CalmOf course, you might get heated in the moment, but do your best. Think about all the times anyone has yelled or screamed at you. Did that make you more or less likely to give them what they wanted? A calm, rational, well-thought out argument will always yield a more positive result than just shouting whatever hurtful thing comes to mind. Think before you speak. Staying committed to fighting like two mature people rather than two petty children will at least help you stay calm. Nobody's perfect and you might raise your voice sometimes - that's fine - but thinking before you speak will help reign in any wild feelings that might make you say something unintentionally hurtful. Source: iStock
Know How You Want It To EndNo one can predict how an argument will go or how a fight will resolve itself, but know what your cap is before you head in to a heated discussion with bae. For example, for you the fight will be over when they apologize for ignoring you at the party you just went to, acknowledge that they messed up, and make a conscious effort to change their behavior in the future. If you don't have a resolution goal going into an argument, the chances of your fight going on and on forever and getting dragged out definitely increase. Keep your goals, realistic, too. As much as you'd like, no fight is going to end with them groveling on their knees.Source: iStock
Stay On TopicOh my god, you guys, don't bring up stuff that happened months ago or anything unrelated to the task at hand. I appreciate you holding on to so many receipts, but know when you should drag them out. When you're fighting about bae flaking out on you is not the time to discuss how you think their friends are awful people who hate you. Staying on topic helps the fight end sooner with a positive solution rather than wrecking all of the potential progress you've made in a dumpster fire with this history of spats you've been sitting on. Focusing on one thing at a time helps you fight fair without being malicious or mean.Source: iStock
LISTEN!Hear your partner's side of things. Really, truly hear them. Empathize a little, even. Don't be defensive, start whining, or dig your heels in trying to "win" your side of things. Don't manipulate them or twist their words. You may have been the person to initiate the fight by starting a discussion, but if your partner has something to say back to you in response, it only serves in your benefit to listen to them. Listening really sucks sometimes because it means that you might have to take someone else's experience into account which might mean that you "lose" the fight, which, in relative importance to your relationship should be a great barometer to see if you care more about your ego than the person you're in a relationship with. Just saying. Source: iStock
Stay Open To CompromiseOooh! This is the cute thing where neither of you get what you want, but you achieve some sort of middle ground that you're both okay with. No one is one hundred percent happy because getting what either of you want would make the other one completely UNhappy. Hence, compromise. It's never going to feel nice or like you've "won" per se, but if you stay open to achieving a compromise, you'll be less stubborn in how you fight. Take into account what you need, what your SO needs, how you're both being heard, and the long term of what you two want when you make this compromise. It shouldn't be 100 percent awful, but it should at least make you sort of happy or like you've reached a solution.Source: iStock
Take A Break If You Need ToIf you two hit a wall during an argument, acknowledge it, give it space, and take a break. Sleep it off if it's late and you're tired! Go into different rooms or hang with friends. Let this situation breathe, give it space, then come back to it. Going to bed angry gets a lot of flack, but it honestly could be the best thing for you. You will do nothing productive or kind once you hit a wall. Once you reach an impasse, it generally inspires both parties involved to get extra mean all in the name of actually shifting the argument in one direction or another, even if the shift comes from you being awful. Careful of that, y'all. Source: iStock
Stop Expecting Them To Know What You WantA lot of people do this thing when they're arguing - they assume that their bae should know exactly what they're angry about and exactly what to do to make things better. Maybe, in theory, they should know - but most of the time, they won't. It's unfair of you to expect them to know exactly the right thing to do. You need to communicate and be honest and explain things. If you can't do that, the fight will take a lot longer to fizzle out. Source: iStock
How do you and your SO argue? Do you fight fair or is it toxic? Do you have any advice? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.