How To Fight Better With Your Partner, According To Couples Who Have Been Together Forever
It seems like an oxymoron, right? How can you possibly fight better? Shouldn't we just not fight at all? Truth is, that's impossible and anyone who tells you different is either single or has an all too optimistic view of the world. Relationships are hard! You're devoting a large part of your life to another person—your insecurities, values, beliefs, space, body and time are all put on table and then you're just like, "OK now show me yours."
Chances are, you and your partner have a lot in common (which is why you love each other in the first place!) but once in a while, you might come across something you don't agree on. This could be something big (politics or family) or something tiny (the most efficient way to navigate the grocery store) and eventually, you have to work it out. That might mean asking your partner to change their behavior, that might mean changing your behavior, or maybe you find a healthy balance in the middle. Queue my second favorite relationship buzz-word (the first is communication), compromise.
But how do you get to that change or compromise without running in circles, saying things you don't mean, or breaking up and getting back together? I asked the Relationship Gods for advice on cracking this unanswered mystery—i.e. Bustle readers who've had their fair share of long-term love.
1. "Never Say Anything You Can't Take Back." -Jessica, 24
2. "Bring Up Something That's Bothering You The Moment It's Bothering You." - Jessica, 24
In other words, communication!
3. "Tell Each Other What [You] Want While [You're] Fighting." -Emma, 24
4. "Respect The Fact That The Way Your Partner Deals With Conflict May Be Different From The Way You Do." -Emily, 31
Which is why you might be fighting in the first place—because your partner deals with things differently than you. No one said relationships were easy. But knowing your partners boundaries will not only help them come into the argument more peacefully, but also might benefit you in the long run. When your partner feels safe and heard, they are less likely to react in hurtful and detrimental ways.
Emily also sought help from her boo and this is what he says, "Fight less." Ah. If only it were so simple.
5. "Give One Another Space." - Christie, 31
It's amazing what a few hours or days of thought can do for the mind. Talk to your friends and family about the issue, give yourself room to be angry or sad, and come back with a clearer head and a more constructive approach.
6. "Patience Is Also Key." - Christie, 31
You can't expect a person to change their behavior overnight. They might need to work on some of their core issues in order to accommodate you and this means you need to give them time and space to do this. Of course, this process of change can't go on forever. Know your limits too—it's critical to know how much you can deal with and how long you're willing to wait.
7. "Listening Is Key." - Sarah, 27
Let's make that last sentence our mantra, shall we? We are not always exempt of guilt in fights, as much as we'd like to think we are. Maybe you did something that irked your partner too and listening to them will help you understand how you can be better and help your partner feel like they have stakes in the argument as well.
8. "Know Yourself." - Sarah, 27
"When I'm in a certain mood, I will do almost anything to be right - including changing my angle and denying on things I've said five minutes ago. I'm infuriated with myself just thinking about it, so I can only imagine how he feels. So, I try (with occasional success) not to do that. Bottom line: knowing yourself and your partner and respecting their perspective are essential to being able to come out of a fight with your head still on your shoulders and your love intact."
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