Keep Your Cool: How to stop minor issues from growing into a blow-out fight
There comes a time in every relationship when couples start driving each other crazy. They often confuse household issues and minor arguments as signs of disrespect or a lack of love. Apparently, love doesn’t fade away that easily. One moment you're going to the mat over the mess in the hallway the next moment you're kissing and making it up... and there you are wondering why he has to leave the hall closet door open every single time (like, he knows you will take care of it). Having little arguments over minor stuff like a proper dishwasher protocol is ok, up until you start taking it to another level.
Escalation starts small but you have to be mindful of what you say and more so about what you think.
We have listed expressions that couples say to each other, with the effect of making things worse.
"You should be ashamed of yourself"
Raise your hand if you've done things, you're not proud of. Yes, we all do them, but being shamed for them by your significant other doesn't make things easy. Shaming your partner privately or, especially, publically is the last thing you should think about even if he or she has done something devastating. This won't help you fix things and move forward. Take the high road rather than shaming. Take personal responsibility and ownership. When you address the issue introspectively, your partner sees that it’s not about shame but accountability and the relationship gets a chance to grow and evolve. Even if you’re planning on splitting up.
“Why did you ignore my text?”
Let's list things that texting is great for. Ordering lunch, shopping list, confirming appointments, funny GIFs, and avoiding talking to people, of course. Now let's see what it isn't great for. Yes, communicating emotions. In fact, it's appalling for communicating emotions no matter how many emojis you use. What is an eggplant heart and wink emoji mean? Or what is he LOL about, the fact that he has not done the dishes in 6 weeks. Bottomline, as convenient they are, texts are too easily misunderstood, the tone does not carry over text, and partners end up in blow-out fights over the phrase in a text. If you notice a conflict starting through a text, whatever you think or feel, just give your fingers a break and let your mouth do what it was designed for, talking it out. Try "I hear you, this is important, let's talk about it when I see you." Just make sure you see your partner in person, even Zoom, or the phone is better than texting yourselves into a fight. Nothing makes up for one-on-one communication. Even if you're extremely upset, impulsive texting is a huge no! Once you have reached agreement, if you must text to keep your partner accountable.
"Yes, You Said That"
I've never said anything like that! Yes, you have! No, I haven't!
Being hooked in a who-said-what loop is a guarantee to end up even in a more outrageous situation then when the fight started.
This is an ineffective feud at the most fundamental level. It can never be settled. We often think that our ears are recorders and our brain is a memory card and it processes only facts. The reality is a little different. Human memory is an active process. Nothing is stored in our brain and left untouched. All the memories we have are impacted by our emotions and we do construct memories that match with our feelings in that situation. The solution is not arguing who said what but talk about each other's feelings, experiences, find common ground and move on from that point.
"Don't make a big deal out of nothing?"
What happens with many couples is fighting about fights. It's very easy to diminish your partner's emotions and move on, just focusing on the fact that you fought. Is that going to resolve the problem? Fighting about whether your partner's opinion is legitimate, is not only divisive but is also destructive. People are different. What is meaningless for you may be a very sensitive issue for your partner. It is important to address it as such and try to see it from each other’s perspective. Remember your goal is to reach an agreement without invalidating each other's feelings.
Everything you've read above happens in every couple's relationship. We all go through those rough patches but constant arguments and fights are draining. Try to apply the advice our experts wrote for you in your next argument. You'll see how smoothly your relationship transfers from depressing into healthy and dazzling.
Last updated on Mar 18, 2021 by Split Happy