You know what's hard? Being an adult. It's definitely one of those things you feel everyone is expecting you to innately know how to do (they are), yet there's no set of easily accessible lessons on how to do it, and no solid confirmation that you're doing it correctly. So, as you can imagine, two adults trying to adult together is really freakin' difficult. However, the greatest of those couples -- the grown-ass couples -- know that even if they don't always adult "correctly," they're going to give it their full effort, and that includes mastering all the ways grown-ass couples solve fights.
Look, fights between partners are natural and, at some point or another, they're just going to happen (unless you're one of those mythical couples who never fight, in which case, congratulations and please tell me all of your secrets). For those of you, myself included, who have yet to achieve relationship nirvana, there are ways to not only minimize how often fights occur, but to cut down on the the duration and damage of said kerfuffles. Grown-ass couples know that the good relationships are worth fighting for, even if that involves arguing and debating and essentially fighting within those relationships. Here's 11 ways those grown-ass couples manage to get everything out in the open, sort through the issues and put it all behind them.
They Listen Intently
I know, guys. I know. This is the most contrived piece of conflict resolution advice in the world and I'm sorry to have to bring it to you. I mean, it's thrown around pretty freely. But here's the thing: listening actually works. Not in and of itself, but grown-ass couples know that if they actually make a committed effort to hear their partner out (rather than waiting for their turn to speak or build super secret counter-arguments as their partner is talking and only half listening to the rest of what they're saying), they'll actually end the fight quickly and fairly and in a sufficient, healthy way.
They Keep The Fight Focused
Grown-ass couples keep it in the "here and now." They don't bring up the last argument they had or an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or the phrase, "And while we're on the subject." All of those things might be perfectly reasonable issues to address, but one at a time you grown-ass couples of the world. One at a time.
They Remain Present
Yes, mentally (or even physically) checking out is a whole lot easier some times. Whether it's storming off in a huff or quietly glazing over and visiting the happy place in the back of your mind, avoiding conflict sure does seem like a win-win. Its also not really going to do anything for you and your partner, except ensure that any one argument festers and resurfaces and live on. Eventually, every point of contention will resurface until they're properly dealt with and put to bed. Grown-ass couples grit their teeth and deal with it.
They Admit When They F*ck Up
Because most grown-ass couples don't labor under the illusion that they're perfect, they know they're going to screw up and they usually know when they've screwed up. The difference between a grown-ass couple and triflers is that triflers get all embarrassed and let their pride and desire to cover their own asses, get in the way of taking responsibility and owning up to their mistake. Grown-ass couples cut to the chase. Sure, it's not always pleasant, but it's usually always necessary.
They Say How They Feel And What They Want
Back in the day, when I was a snarky middle-schooler in my 7th grade health class, the teacher brought up the idea of "I statements" to deal with conflict resolution. For the uninitiated, "I statements" are basically a way to assert your feelings without putting the other person on the defensive. So, for example, "I felt frustrated and hurt when you canceled our date night to go hang out with your friends, because I wanted to spend time with you as well and I had been looking forward to the evening. Can we work this out together?" At the time, the whole class (in a charge, led by yours truly) assured the teacher that this was the stupidest thing they'd ever heard, because who is going to have the presence of mind to carefully construct these sentences when they're upset?!
Well, it turns out that practice makes perfect and, Mrs. Ward, this grown-ass woman wishes to apologize for being such a rude, un-grown girl. Grown-ass people know that while opening up, being vulnerable, and deciding to carefully spell out how they feel in an assertive way is difficult, it's the only way to get stuff truly done. My bad, Ward. (But it's still bullshit that you told us we should wait to have sex until we were either married or 35. Come on now.)
They Address Issues Before They Escalate
Grown-ass couples see potential issues in their relationship like they view laundry: it's going to be much easier to do a single load, than it is going to do the countless piles you've ignored for every Saturday since always. Get it out of the way sooner rather than later, lest it builds into something unmanageable.
They Call Out Their Partner In A Constructive Way
Generally, someone else's screw up isn't personal (just like when you screw up, it's not like you're actively trying to hurt someone). So, when the inevitable happens and someone messes up, a grown-ass couple doesn't minimize their hurt or annoyance but they also recognize that it wasn't intentional. If their partner is another grown-ass person they will take it as such, apologize, and do better next time.
They Don't Let Random Actions Take On Symbolic Value
Remember how grown-ass couples keep it focused? This is like that, but a little more specific. A grown-ass couple doesn't let one item or event (perhaps even a completely innocent one), take on the weight of every other grievance going on within the relationship. So, if a grown-ass person is upset that their partner really isn't pulling their weight when it comes to household chores, they don't take all that frustration when their partner, say, forgets to put a dish in the dishwasher. (Though, to be fair, that in and of itself can be uber annoying.)
They're Not Afraid To Choose Their "Hill To Die On"
Not all issues are created equal. A grown-ass couple decides what fights are worth having and what annoyances are pretty superficial and unimportant. This is an art that takes time, patience, and two truly grown-ass people.
They Try To Deal With A Problem In One Sitting, If Possible
Grown-ass couples know there is wisdom in the age-old, "don't go to bed angry," trope, even if it's not always feasible for one reason or another. Even if circumstances (either practical or emotional) do not enable one or both parties to have everything resolved by bedtime, grown-ass couples know not to draw things out.
They Both Fight For A Mutually Beneficial Resolution
Because even though it sounds sort of corny, grown-ass couples know that affirming that you're on the same team is (more often than not) what gets you through.