Whether you would like to admit it or not, it's essentially inevitable that you and your significant other will get into a fight at some point in your relationship. Regardless of how long you have been together — a month, a year, a decade plus — disagreements are bound to arise because no one is truly immune to conflict. But one thing everyone can agree on is that it would be nice to find out how to stop fighting with your partner.
With the exception of make-up sex, good things rarely come from marathon sessions of arguing or yelling. Yet some people still continue to fight and bicker long after common sense would have told them to throw in the towel already. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just wave a magic wand and bring immediate resolution to the situation?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but sadly there are no spells or fairy godmothers (unless you know something I don't) to neatly clean up emotionally messy fights with the snap of a finger. But before you lose hope and resign yourself to binge-watching Nicholas Sparks' movies for eternity, there really are methods out there to help you diffuse even the most volatile argument with your significant other. Though they aren't exactly magical, here are some of the top ways to put an end to a fight with your partner in an hour or less.
1. Really Listen
This may sound like some sappy after school special moment here, but there is some solid truth behind using your ears instead of your mouth during a fight. I would say a solid 90 percent of the arguments I get in with my partner have happened because one or both of us felt like the other wasn't listening.
Benjamin Karney, co-director of the Relationship Institute at the University of California, told Women's Health Magazine, that unhappy couples repeat themselves out of desperation to be heard, which isn't productive. So just taking a moment to stop and really listen to what your SO is saying can get to the heart of the matter in minutes, not hours.
2. Take A Break
It's a no-brainer, right? Well, believe it or not, even if you are deep in the midst of fighting, calling a cease fire can give you both some much-needed time and space to process the situation. Julie Hanks, owner and executive director at Wasatch Family Therapy, told RedBook that actually taking a break — not just saying you want to — can immediately reduce tension and allow you to come back to the issue with a clear head and perhaps even some insight.
3. Remove Ego From The Equation
It may sound impossible to completely shut down your heart and mind during an intense fight, but sometimes it's the only solution. Often times the person with whom you are in a relationship is the one who knows you best of all. So they know what buttons to push and how to really hit you where it hurts: your ego, your sense of self.
4. Realize It Takes Two To Tango
Most often, a fight occurs because one individual is making a statement, claim, or accusation that another person neither agrees with nor understands. But that doesn't mean that all arguments are one-sided with person A being right and person B being wrong.
Lynn E. O’Connor, a clinical psychologist and Professor at the Wright Institute, wrote in Psychology Today that fighting is "a two-person problem and a two-person solution." If you and your partner can remember this the next time a fight erupts, chances are things won't escalate and you'll both be eager to resolve things together.
5. Don't Add Insult To Injury
One of the quickest ways to get someone upset or to begin an argument is to insult them. Whether the insult takes the form of an accusation ("You're too lazy to fix it!") or a dig at their esteem ("Shut up, fatty!"), it's fuel for the fire.
Rita DeMaria, director of relationship education at the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia, told Women's Health Magazine that you and your partner shouldn't try to upset each other more. Cutting out the name calling is a healthy way to cut a fight short, too.
6. Don't Try To "Win"
You might think that if you can simply win, then the fight will be over. While that thinking may work in the boxing ring, it doesn't work the same way in relationships. Relationship experts, Linda Bloom and Charlie Bloom MSW, wrote in a joint-article for PsychCentral where they noted that "trying to 'win' an argument by defeating the other person not only fails to address the underlying problem, but generally intensifies it."
7. Get Out Of The Bedroom
Relationship experts and authors Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels told Bustle that couples should "take the discussion into that dedicated space and wait until things have cooled down before calling it a night." Keeping your bed and bedroom a sacred and safe place is a healthy way to diffuse fights that originate there.
8. Keep It Simple
There's a tendency, when arguing, where your initial issue has now grown to include every single thing you've ever been mad about. It's virtually impossible to end a fight if there are a hundred different issues on the table.
According to The University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center you need to deal with only one issue at a time when arguing. If you can keep things to a minimum, then logically your time spent arguing will decrease as well.
9. Agree On Something
Nothing takes the steam out of my argument faster than if my husband calmly agrees with me on a point I've just made. How can a person maintain intense anger if the other person is actually meeting you where you stand on an issue?