6 Things To Know Before Your Next Blow Up
by Chimère G. Holmes, LPC, Mental Health Editor
Isn’t it amazing how the person you love with all your heart can become the person you detest the most? One day you are willing to walk the edges of the earth for this person. Then, after a few disagreements, the sound of them breathing makes your skin crawl. Why does this happen? How do relationships go from tender moments of bliss to reoccurring blow ups and shouting matches?
From the beginning of time, couples have faced a myriad of complications that can muddy the waters of intimacy and dilute communication. Those complications can be temporary and frivolous or more serious and intractable. Relationships require effort. A lasting love consists of commitment, compatibility, intentional communication, and choosing to stay together.
But in romantic relationships, one thing is certain: Conflict is inevitable. With the right approach, most relational conflicts be resolved. How? Here are five strategies that can help you navigate your next big battle.
- Diffuse and deescalate. Going straight for the jugular in an argument may feel gratifying and straightforward, but it will only cause your partner to escalate or withdraw. A thought out, non-threatening approach will yield a productive discussion.
- Take responsibility. Accountability has become something of a lost art. Taking responsibility for your feelings and the role you play in a disagreement can quell emotional distance and steer the conversation in the right direction.
- Complain without blaming. State how a situation makes you feel and focus on the problematic action or behavior, not your partner. That way, your partner won’t feel personally attacked.
- Use “I” statements. Express feelings, wants, and needs by using the formula: “I feel ____ when you do ___.” Avoid starting with “you,” as in: “You never listen to me.” “I” statements create constructive dialogue instead of accusations.
- Mind your manners. Politeness always wins, especially in all things love and war. During tense conversations, walking away to cool off shows respect for your partner’s feelings. Using “Can you please consider ___” or “I would greatly appreciate it if you__” is one of the golden rules to fighting fairly.
- Don’t let things build up; speak up! Resentment hinders relationship growth and productivity. Don’t allow frustrations to occupy space in your head rent free. Take a few days to think about the problem, then lovingly and honestly initiate the conversation with your partner.
Working these six steps is not a one-time fix. As with anything in life, practice makes perfect. Remember to practice empathy. What is your partner feeling? Are you really listening? Understanding your partner’s perspective will go a long way to deeper connections and more love … less war.
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