Often times when we’ve gotten into an argument with our partner, the aftermath can be even more difficult than the fight itself. If you’re anything like me, you spend time overanalyzing the fight and not knowing what to do next. There are ways to get past a big fight that experts in the relationship space recommend that are great for helping you and your SO to pick up the pieces. The best thing about these tips is that they’re not hard to follow — as long as you’re open to compromise.
Whenever I’ve gotten into a big fight with a partner I’ve always been the one to be as adamant as possible about the fact that I’m right. In fights, I despise nothing more than being wrong, so I’ll try to stick to my guns for as long as possible, even if it means dragging the argument out for far too long. However, as we all know, none of us can be right all of the time, and a major key to making a relationship work is meeting in the middle with our partner. With that in mind, it’s important for myself and everyone else out there to remember in our relationships that it’s vital to see the other person’s side, and to be understanding of their feelings. As we’ll get to below, a big fight doesn’t need to mean big trouble — you and your SO can solve the issue(s) quickly and easily by using some expert tips. Here are 11 ways to get past a big fight, according to experts.
1. Be Honest With Yourself
After a big fight, it’s can be incredibly difficult to even begin to see where the other person is coming from. In these situations I personally am always so focused on my side of the argument that it’s practically blinding. According to the relationship experts at YourTango.com, the first step following a big fight is to try to be honest with yourself about what happened. They suggest slowing down and trying to think clearly about the details of the argument — not just your version of what happened. Try your hardest not to be biased, and focus on the facts only.
2. Don’t Avoid Him Or Her
Of course after a big fight we might need some space, but don’t avoid your partner all together, according to Rachel A. Sussman, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert in New York City, who spoke to Woman’s Day on the topic. “One of the biggest mistakes people make after an argument is stonewalling,” Sussman told the outlet. Give yourself the time you need away, but don’t brush them off completely if you foresee an attempt to make up.
3. Consider Going To Bed Angry
How many times have we all heard the notion, “Don’t go to bed angry”? Likely a million. However, this doesn’t always need to be the case. WebMD spoke to expert Lisa Earle McLeod, who suggested going to sleep angry is quite all right. “It allows partners to clear their thoughts, get some sleep, and make a date to resume the fight (which might seem less important in the light of day),” McLeod told the outlet.
4. Remember You Don’t Always Have To Be Right
Remember earlier when we decided we would be honest with ourselves about the argument? Let’s build on that. Hal Shorey, a clinical psychologist and associate professor for the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University in Chester, Pa., spoke to the Wall Street Journal about this. Shorey noted it’s important to give up the idea of always having to be right in an argument. For instance, try to think through how the other person feels about what’s happened, whether you believe you were correct about the issue(s) you argued about or not. “What can never be wrong is how the other person feels,” Shorey told the outlet.
5. Consider A Kind Touch
According to a Huffington Post piece by relationship expert Margaret Paul, Ph.D., some people will tend to respond very well and openly to a gentle touch from their partner as a way of softening the fight. This could be a soft touch on the hand or a gentle hug. (Keep in mind though that if your partner is the type to resist touch in these situations, you might want to steer clear of this tactic, according to Paul.)
6. Avoid Personal Criticism
Reader’s Digest spoke to relationship expert John Gottman, Ph.D., who noted there are certain habits that couples might partake in while fighting that should be avoided — including throwing around personal criticisms. This could include something like, “Well, you’re not smart, that’s why you always say dumb things.” Other habits Gottman told the outlet couples should avoid include getting defensive and stonewalling (which we discussed earlier).
7. Explain Why You’re Sorry
Saying sorry is one thing. Meaning it is quite another. According to Lauire Puhn, a couples mediator, spoke to Woman’s Day and suggested couples explain why they’re sorry as a means of showing sincerity. “What you want to say is, ‘I'm sorry for…’ and explain what you're talking about,” Puhn told the outlet. “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.”
8. Nix The “But”
While you’re following Puhn’s suggested way of apologizing, remember to omit the “but” from your sentences. WebMD spoke to Jane Straus, author of Enough is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, said sometimes we’ll tend to use the word as a way of showing we’re still reaffirming our own stance of the issue. Straus suggested taking the word out of your vocab when you’re resolving an argument.
9. Find A Comfortable Couch To Talk It Out
Get this — where we’re resolving an argument can make a difference. According to a study conducted by MIT, Harvard, and Yale professors, when people are sitting on a soft, cushioned surface, they are more accommodating and can therefore resolve issues better and faster. Oppositely, they found sitting in a hard wooden chair made people more inflexible in the resolving of issues.
10. Look For A Common Ground
The bottom line goal is to successfully find a middle place that leaves both of you feeling better. When discussing resolving conflicts, Susan Heitler, Ph.D., author of The Power of Two told Reader’s Digest, “A better alternative is what I call the win-win waltz. We toss information back and forth, we have an ‘aha!’ moment, and we come up with solutions that work very well for both of us.”
11. Make A Positive Memory From It
Once the fight is over and done with, Patti Stanger, love and relationship expert and TV’s The Millionaire Matchmaker suggested on her site www.PattiKnows.com that you should soon after try to make a positive, happy memory together. Go sightseeing in a local city, or go have dinner at that new, fancy restaurant you’ve both been dying to try. Stanger wrote, “…remember that you fight so hard with him because you love him so hard. Once you make the happy memory, that week doesn’t go down as the week of the massive fight. It’s the week you went to that haunted house together and both screamed like girls and laughed about it later. Such a better memory!”
Don’t let a big fight get you all worked up. By using some of the tips discussed here, you and your partner can get through it successfully and amicably — and come out on the other side stronger and happier than ever.