Arguments happen in every relationship, but fights with a significant other can be all the more dramatic and upsetting. When it comes to arguing with a partner, the stakes are usually higher -- and fighting often seems like a matter of life and death.
But there are ways to stop an argument before it comes to major blows, agonizing stony silences, or those terribly feared breakups.
1) Stop talking (or screaming) and begin to listen to what it is that your partner is saying. Sometimes, a little listening goes a LONG way.
2) Decide if the argument is worth it -- if it's something simple like, "why can't you take out the garbage?" is it really worth yelling about? Or are there deeper issues that aren't being addressed?
3) You're not 5. Do not, no matter how much you want to, stoop to name-calling. Not only will that intensify the argument, it'll make you both feel worse.
4) Let it GO. If it's been six months and the subject STILL comes up, DROP IT. Yeah, you did something (or your partner did) back in the day. That's why it's called "forgive AND FORGET." Let go of the past.
5) Figure out the root cause for the argument. Is it REALLY because you forgot to put your soda cans in the recycling or is it because your forgetfulness is being applied to the grander scheme of your relationship and your other half is exasperated about it?
6) Time-out! If, at any time, you feel yourself -- or your partner -- begin to raise their voice, call a time-out. Go to the other room and cool down for five minutes before returning to talk.
7) Acknowledge. When responding to your partner, start with something like, "I hear you when you say I never pick up my socks and it bothers you." It shows that you're listening and understanding the problem.
8) Remember: this is not American Gladiators. There's no good guy or bad guy and there's no reason YOU have to be right. You're not always right. Neither is your partner. If you're arguing just for the sake of proving you're right, stop right now -- and start listening.
9) Admit when you're wrong. This may be one of the harder parts of a relationship, especially if you don't feel you should apologize. But take a second, examine what the fight is about, and look for the grains of truth.
10) Apologize. I'm not saying you need to grovel on hands and knees (and any partner who believes you should is NOT a good partner), but do say you're sorry when you're wrong. Apologizing and admitting that you were wrong can go miles toward stopping an argument in its tracks.
What are some other ways to stop a fight from blowing up?
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