There’s nothing worse than getting in a huge fight, saying things you regret but not being able to help it. Ever get that hot, burning sensation in your cheeks and the knot in your chest when the person you love more than anything is fighting with you? It’s truly one of the worst feelings in the world. And it sucks, because they are part of every relationship.
It’s pretty much impossible to spend lots of time with one person without getting into a fight with them.
Fights can get so bad that you’re a lot more likely to end up breaking up (especially if you fight a lot).
Take The Quiz: Is He Going To Break Up With You?
And even if you don’t fight all that often, but your fights are extremely hostile and lots of horrible, cruel things are said (things you can’t just take back) you increase your chances of breaking up a lot.
Now, in some relationships, a lot of fighting means you probably should break up. (Check out these Relationship Red Flags to see if you might want to get out of your relationship)
Fights are bad for the health of any relationship. Sure, they’re unavoidable in the long run, but they’re bad for your relationship.
That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 5 ways to disarm fights and stop them from getting out of hand.
When you use one or more of these 5 techniques, you’re going to notice that your fights get shorter, less intense and take less emotionally energy out of you and your partner.
(That means that they also have less chance of breaking you guys up).
And that’s good! Fights suck! They’re heartbreaking. They’re tiring. They’re exhausting.
Let’s make them suck less.
1. Don’t Hit Back, Even When You’re Hurt
This is maybe the hardest one, so I’m putting it first.
It’s also possibly the most important.
When we fight, we fight because on some level our feelings are hurt. The hardest part of this is that when your feelings are hurt, your first reaction is to lash out at the person who “hurt” them.
This is one of the most human traits out there. It’s hard wired into our dna.
The problem is, it doesn’t help the situation.
When you lash out at someone for saying or doing something that hurt you, all you’re doing is hurting them back. Is that a great way to deescalate and stop a fight?
No. No it’s not.
Instead of lashing out, you should take control of yourself and your emotions. (I know, easier said than done).
Sit with the hurt, accept it, recognize that it hurt you but it doesn’t have to control you, and then move on.
Remember that your goal isn’t to “win” the fight. We’re looking for understanding, empathy, and an end to the fight so you two can get back to doing what you do best – loving each other.
So next time, instead of hitting back, accept that you’re hurt, explain why they hurt you, and move on – without lashing out at your partner.
Take this quiz and find out Are You Compatible With Him?
2. Tell Your Partner Exactly How You Feel
Most of the time, the really unbearable frustration, anger, and pain that we feel during arguments is due to one thing:
We don’t feel like we’re being understood by the other person.
It can feel like your partner is actively trying to misunderstand what you’re saying, twisting your words, and not listening to what you really mean.
That’s super frustrating. I agree.
The best thing to do in a fight is to calmly and in a detailed way explain how you’re feeling. Tell them the exact thing they did (or didn’t do), and exactly how it made you feel.
And I know it’s hard to explain how you really feel, because it can feel like a super vulnerable position, but remember: being OK with feeling vulnerable is #1 on our list of 9 Things People Who Are Great In Relationships Have In Common.
“You told me I never listen to you, and that made me feel frustrated because I try very hard to listen to what you’re saying.”
“You yelled at me for bugging you about dinner, and that made me feel unwanted and unappreciated, because all I want to do is enjoy eating dinner with you.”
Naming the exact behavior along with exactly how it made you feel removes a lot of the ambiguity in a fight – which means it takes away a lot of the potential for misunderstanding.
That means the fight gets resolved much more quickly, and with much less frustration.
3. Take Your Time to Calm Down
There’s nothing worse than being in the heat of an argument and saying something that you immediately regret.
After all, when you’re upset, frustrated, angry, and emotionally distraught, it’s super easy to say something really mean to the other person – something you know will hurt them really badly.
Then, later, when you’ve calmed down, you really regret saying it – but there’s no way to take the words back.
That’s’ why it’s so important to try to stay calm during the fight. It lets you relax and listen to your emotions and how you’re really feeling in a fight, which lets you communicate them better.
It also makes it much less likely you say something that’s going to blow up the fight and turn it from a spat about doing dishes into a relationship ending fireball of anger.
4. Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes
This is something to get in the habit of doing.
Not just because it’s going to help you solve fights sooner, but because it’s a great habit to get into for life.
When you take the time to empathize with the people around you (especially with your partner), you begin to see exactly what’s bothering them so much – and exactly how to fix it.
Here’s the exact script to follow:
First, ask your partner to tell you what you did that upset them, and exactly how it made them feel (i.e. ask them to follow the 2nd item on this list).
Next, realize that they’re not upset about your behavior, they’re upset about how your behavior made them feel. Even if it’s something as insignificant as leaving the cap off the toothpaste, it could still make your partner really upset.
So instead of saying “It’s just a stupid toothpaste cap! What’s the big freaking deal?”
You can say, “It seems like when I leave the cap off the toothpaste it makes you really frustrated and upset. I’m sorry for making you feel that way, I didn’t mean to make you feel so angry. Forgetting to put the cap back on doesn’t mean that I’m trying to upset you, but I understand that when it happens over and over it can feel that way.”
Understanding where your partner is coming from, empathizing with their point of view, and showing them that you understand is a huge step in deflating any fight before it really explodes.
It’s a technique that has saved so many relationships – and it can save yours too.
Take this quiz and find out Are You Meant To Be Together?
5. Be Warm and Open in a Fight, Instead of Cold and Closed Off
How many times in a fight have you felt even more enraged, frustrated, and cut off from your partner – just because of the way they were responding to you?
They could be saying all the right things, responding correctly, even apologizing… but if they’ve got their arms crossed, their legs crossed, rolling their eyes, looking away from you, and avoiding physical contact, it still feels like you’re in a fight.
In fact, those are the fights that drag on forever, when one person is pretending to be apologetic and sorry while still acting physically hostile.
That’s why this is such a crucial tactic.
Next time you’re in a fight, and you’re feeling like it’s going in circles and getting nowhere, try this to break the cycle:
Touch your partner’s shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them, “I care more about our relationship than this fight.”
Often times, that’s enough to disarm the tension in the room and return the mood to what it should be – two people who care about each other that are having a disagreement and working it out.
I know it’s scary, and it makes you feel vulnerable… but when you take the first step towards disarming the anger and frustration in a room with some warmth and affection, it makes the rest of the steps towards relaxation and resolving the fight that much easier.
Nip Your Fights in The Bud
Look, fights happen, but they’re terrible for you.
I mean it. They’re terrible for a relationship, especially if they intensify, get ugly, and blow up, but they’re also terrible for you.
A study at Brigham Young University showed that couples who fight more often have poorer health than couples who don’t fight as often – and that couples who don’t argue actually living longer.
So if saving your relationship wasn’t enough to convince you to try to tone down and eliminate your fights as much as you can, maybe saving your life is.
Until next time,
P.S. If you’re really fighting with him a lot and you don’t know why, the problem might be your compatibility.
Compatibility is the #1 most important predictor of relationship success between two people. If you’re compatible – you’re golden. If you’re not…
Want to find out how compatible you are with him? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Are You Compatible” Quiz right now and find out whether you’re *really* compatible with him…
Take The Quiz: Are You Compatible With Him?
How To End Any Fight In 5 Steps
- Don’t hit back, even when you’re hurt
- Tell your partner exactly how you feel
- Take your time to calm down
- Put yourself in your partner’s shoes
- Be warm and open in a fight, instead of cold and closed off
If you loved this article, then check out these other must-see related posts: