Couples fight. It's a fact of nature. Whether you've been together for two months or two decades, the occasional tiff, argument, or all-out-blow-up is bound to happen from time to time. (Pro tip: couples who say they never fight are either lying or straight out of a romance novel). The good news is that fights can be used to strengthen your relationship instead of weaken it, as long as you learn how to "fight well" and handle the aftermath. Avoiding the worst things you can do after a fight with your partner is step one in fair fighting 101 and, although it's never easy, avoiding these things might help your fights occur less often and be less damaging for you both.
Don't get discouraged if you and your partner haven't mastered these post-fight tips just yet. Every relationship is different and grows at its own speed. Furthermore, each fight has it's own cause and needs to be handled in its own way. However, having a list of what not to do can be helpful for the next time you're in the throes of an argument and are hoping to recover sooner rather than later, whether it's your first fight or your fiftieth.
1. Blow It Off
Acting like a fight never happened is never healthy. In fact, blowing off a fight and pretending to be OK is actually more unhealthy than the fight itself. “Sweeping it under the rug assumes your partner is satisfied with the outcome," Lesli M. W. Doares, a marriage consultant and coach with a private practice in Cary, North Carolina, told Reader's Digest. "But making a clear effort to reconnect is the key to a successful outcome. Sharing what you have learned after a fight can help repair the damage.”
The longer you wait to resolve a fight, the less likely you are to overcome the cause of the dispute.
Most fights aren't the end of the world (or your relationship), but it's easy to feel like it when your feelings are hurt or you feel betrayed. Instead of overreacting about a fight, try putting the argument into perspective by focusing on a few things you appreciate about your partner. You may be tempted to meditate on everything you dislike about them in the moment, but it's more helpful to remember that you both desire harmony, as coach and consultant Stacey Hagen points out in Tiny Budda. "Remember the feeling of connectedness that you want to feel," she adds. "It’s hard to feel threatened by someone when you see yourselves as interconnected and working towards the same result."
3. Not Give Each Other Space
There's a difference between an unhealthy distance and giving each other space after an argument. The aforementioned Reader's Digest piece noted that giving each other space can actually give you time to process, as long as you commit to discussing things once you've cooled off.
4. Have Sex... And Then Do Nothing About The Fight
Don't get me wrong, make-up sex can be great, but don't forget about the root of the problem once you've, er, blown off some steam. Similarly, an article from Woman's Day warned against having make-up sex when you're not feeling it but your partner is. Both scenarios are equally damaging.
5. Give The Cold Shoulder
You may be hurt, but ignoring your partner when they're willing to chat is essentially prolonging the argument. Make the hard decision to talk it through, and chances are, you'll both feel much better.
6. Say "I'm Sorry" Just To End It
Apologizing for the sake of ending an argument solves nothing. In fact, the aforementioned Woman's Day piece noted that it actually sends the message that your partner isn't important and you'd rather be doing something else. "What you want to say is, 'I'm sorry for…' and explain what you're talking about.," Laurie Puhn, a couples mediator told the magazine. "The second part of the apology is, 'In the future, I will…' and fill in the blank with how you won't make the mistake again."
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