Here is something that most relationship coaches aren’t going to tell you; fighting in a relationship is inevitable. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can learn how to stop fighting.
Relationships are kind of like a Fight club; if you’re dating someone, you’re going to fight. There’s no getting around it. It is the only result of being in a relationship with another person – there’s going to be conflict, no matter how compatible you may be.
Trying to avoid fighting means trying to avoid conflict – which usually means that important issues get swept under the rug in the of ‘keeping the peace’ instead of resolving them. And of course, we all know how well denial works when it comes to conflict resolution.
Rather than trying to avoid conflict, people in most successful relationships learn how to fight so that they dont end up doing more damage to one another. Although, learning how to fight is only part of the answers. You also have to know how to stop fighting so that you can actually fix things and move on to the more important parts of the relationship.
So just how can you stop fighting with your partner? Here are a few steps..
1) Walk It off.
Anger is like fire; when properly harnessed, it’s an incredibly useful and important tool. On the other hand, if you’re careless with it then you’re going to lose control and it will end up destroying everything you care about. The problem is that anger is rarely a rational emotion. It’s almost impossible to have a practical discussion with your partner when you’re caught up in anger; it’s entirely too easy to get distracted by side issues or to bring up old issues to justify why you are so pissed right now. And like fire, anger can be deceptive. Just because the immediate argument is over doesn’t mean that you’re not still ticked off. Like a campfire, it may seem like things are settled, but one spark and suddenly the whole thing flares up again and burns the forest down.
2) Ask yourself: Is it worth it?
Here’s something that trips a lot of people up; sometimes we pick the wrong battles, whether we’re the aggressor or not. We get upset over the wrong things. We get into fights – or make fights worse – because we don’t stop to ask ourselves whether the fight is one worth having. One of the most common conflicts in relationships involves the desire to be ‘correct’ rather than ‘right’. Chalk this up to how men and women are socialised; men are taught that they’re supposed to be the ‘doers’ while women are the ‘feelers’. Men tend to look for concrete ‘do this and things will be better’ solutions to conflicts. Unfortunately, one of the ways we tend to express this is by pointing out that the other person is mistaken or doesn’t understand.
3) Apologise. The right way.
The fastest way to stop fighting is simple: apologise. But you can’t just say ‘sorry’ and expect everything to be magically cool. You have to apologise the right way. This is another area that trips a lot of people up. Why should we apologise when we don’t believe we’ve done anything wrong? Well…because being correct doesn’t mean that you’re right. Apologising isn’t just about who’s wrong or who’s right. It’s also about taking responsibility for how you’ve made other people feel. A sincere apology means understanding why your partner is upset with you and copping to your part in having made it happen.
4) Stop fighting, then resolve the issue.
If you;ve been following the steps, then ideally you’ve both calmed down and would have gotten to a point where you’ve forgiven each other. This is the time to work out a resolution to the cause of the fight. It’s great that you have stopped fighting but that’s just treating a symptom. Unless you actually address the cause, then all you’ve done is just put things on pause until you fight again. Resolving the conflict should be a collaborative approach. This mean you have to work on this together to fix things, not just dictate terms to one another as though you’re negotiating. You want to ask two questions: ‘What do you need to make things better?’ and ‘How can we make this happen?’
Time to make up. You’ve managed to stop fighting. You’ve worked together to find a solution. Now its time to make up, and in many ways, this is the most important part of arguing with your partner. You may have patched up the issues from the fight, but you’re still going to feel the sting of the fight and those lingering emotions can poison your relationship if you don’t take care of them.
As it turns out, there’s actually some truth to the old saying of “don’t go to bed angry”; going to sleep can actually preserve negative emotions or even make them worse. It doesn’t do you any good to try to stop fighting if all you’re going to do is cement the anger and hurt.
This is why making up is important. You’re not just resolving the problem, you’re reminding one another that even though you may fight, you still have that core of love and affection for one another. Yes, you may get angry, but that doesn’t mean that at the end of the day, you don’t love each other. It’s important to keep that in sight.
Taking the time to make up afterwards is a form of relationship self-care. It’s a way of reinforcing the bond and making each other happy again. You’re soothing the hurt that you’ve both caused and replacing it with love and contentment. It reaffirms the strength of your relationship and rewards you for fixing the problems instead of just fighting over and over again.