Is There a Right Way To Fight In a Relationship?

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Every relationship has its ups and downs, but don’t think a fight has to be a bad thing.

In fact, it’s the way that a couple deals with their disagreements that makes for a healthy relationship. After all, arguments can be healthy, too.

Here’s how to make sure you’re fighting fair with your partner:

Stay On Topic

One of the biggest mistakes couples make in arguing is that they don’t stay on track. If a disagreement about cleaning snowballs into an argument about other issues, your chances of resolving anything are slim. Be clear on what you’re arguing about. For some people, that means writing the issue down on a piece of paper for example. If you notice that the discussion is getting off topic, gently remind your partner of what your argument is really about and guide the discussion back to the topic at hand.

Go To Sleep Angry

If you’ve been to a wedding or two, you’ve probably heard some relative toast the happy couple with a classic piece of advice: Love means never going to sleep angry. But that’s just not true! Fighting when you’re exhausted is unlikely to be productive, and it could even make things worse. You might even be fighting because you’re tired—we all know that little issues sometimes seem enormous when you haven’t had enough sleep!

Be Open About Your Needs And True Emotions

Conflicts in which one person expects another to know what is wrong without being told are more likely to end with anger or negative communication. Research has shown that people who expect a partner to mind read are more likely to feel anxious or neglected, and therefore more likely to react in anger. But anger is a secondary emotion – it never exists on its own and always has another emotion beneath it. If you can notice the real emotion you’ll have a better chance of responding to the real issue and resolving it.

Learn The Right Way To Apologize To Your Partner

Whether or not you were wrong is irrelevant — if you’re in a fight, you should want to get back to a happy balance as soon as possible. Instead of just saying “sorry,” put a little extra effort into making your partner feel loved and secure after every argument. Just as people have different love languages, they have different apology languages, too. It’s not enough to recognize that you’ve hurt your loved one and you owe them an apology: You have to know them enough to tailor your apology to their needs.

Practice Makes Perfect

Not all of these habits come naturally to most people, but then again there was a time when standing upright and tying your shoes didn’t come naturally. Practice is key — as is patience, awareness, and the desire for a positive outcome. Fighting may be part of your relationship, but love can always win.

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