Fighting is universal. You fight with your family, you occasionally fight with your friends, you may fight with strangers on the internet, and you probably also fight with your partner from time to time. Fighting is tough because it, more often than not, can leave you feeling personally drained and maybe a little bit unsure about where things stand. Is everything OK? Is there more that needs to be hashed out? How do you move forward together - or do you need move forward apart? You may be wondering how to talk to your partner about fighting in your relationship, because, honestly, sometimes talking about conflict is really, really hard.
Although it's tempting to try and tip the scales in your favor whenever you fight, a good place to start - even in terms of talking about fighting - is by fighting fair when you do argue. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), fighting constructively is one way to keep arguments healthy and productive, rather than hurtful and divisive. Talking about fighting is different than actually fighting, but, again, it can be a tricky situation to navigate. After all, you don't want it to devolve into a fight about fighting. These five suggestions will help you peacefully broach the subject with your partner while keeping the discussion productive rather than snarky or mean.
1. Don't Play The Blame Game
If you're going to try to have a constructive conversation with your partner about fighting in your relationship, don't blame it all on him or her. According to Psychology Today, you often blame the other person because you feel guilty yourself. Plus, putting all the blame on your partner immediately sets up an adversarial match where he or she feels like they have to go on the defensive. Not ideal.
2. Recognize Your Wrongs
No matter how right you think you were, you were also probably wrong. Melody Brooke, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author, told WebMD that admitting your role in the fighting can help resolving issues. It's hard to own your mistakes sometimes, but your relationship just may be stronger for it.
3. Be Brave
Bringing up tough subjects like the fighting in your relationship, financial issues, or parenting disagreements can be scary. That's completely understandable. However, according to the APA, speaking up can eliminate later resentment or other problems. Just make sure you keep it kind.
Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, an author and professor of human development at Cornell University, interviewed older, long-married couples to learn about marriage. She found that, while it can sometimes be hard to let others get a word in edgewise during fights or any other conversation, listening to your partner's side can help determine why you're fighting the way you are or what's going on with him or her.
5. Change Your Surroundings
If all else fails, take your conversation elsewhere. One of the older men that Pillemer spoke with, Gary, suggested moving a discussion outside of the house if you're having trouble communicating with your partner, according to Pillemer's study.