Quick tips on how to stop fighting in a relationship
Arguments in relationships become a cycle — when a specific pain point or topic gets brought up, one partner gets defensive and the other pushes to get the point across. One partner might always flee, and then the other has to chase him. You might also experience arguments more when one person is exhausted after a day at work. These patterns become a comfortable cycle, even though they may be detrimental to your bond as a couple.
If you and your partner are in a rough spot where you are fighting a lot, here are some tips how to stop fighting in a relationship and keep your connection stronger.
- Understand The Pattern – In order to prevent a fight, you must be able to clearly identify your pattern as a couple. Pull out a piece of paper and take notes on your interactions. Think about the past few fights and identify the item that triggered the fight, who did what (attacks, blames, avoids, shuts down, defensiveness, etc), and how you two resolved the fight. Writing it down helps you see each step clearly.
- Take Care of Yourself – If you are overly tired, hungry, or stressed out, you may not be in the best place to communicate effectively. Make sure to keep your body well fed, rested, and relaxed. The more your body is taken care of, the more you will be able to regulate emotionally.
- Speak Up Sooner – Sometimes people can feel their partner is a bit “off,” but they don’t speak up or check in. If you feel like your partner is distant or irritated, share with them: “I feel like something is off and I don’t want to take it the wrong way. Are you upset with me for some reason? Is there something I should know?”
- Break Your Habits – It takes two to tango and it only takes one person to step out of a fight. Stop your normal response. This will help keep your partner from reacting their normal way. For example, if you tend to react quickly, blame, or get angry, make extra effort to bite your tongue, don’t interrupt, and speak calmly. Don’t continue the dance of escalation. The less attacking you are, the less your partner will shut down or attack back. If you avoid shutting down, the less your partner will want to knock down your walls with sharp words.
- Reassure the connection – Most couples get into fights because they feel misunderstood, on separate pages, or disconnected. If that big scary topic must get discussed and history says a fight always happens when you bring it up, then set up some safety. Keep the bond connected by reassuring your partner that you two will get through the difficult discussion, that you care about them, and that you aren’t giving up. Touch is also very defusing.
Learn how to stop fighting in a relationship and prevent fights by scheduling a couples counseling session with Jennine Estes, MFT.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653