There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Fights with your partner can be messy, painful, and downright unpleasant. But that doesn’t mean that they’re without hope.
Making up after a fight can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry—we’re here to help.
According to experts, here are several ways to help ease the tension and hopefully work through whatever issue you were fighting about:
Dr. Monica Vermani, C. Psych.
Clinical Psychologist | Author, “A Deeper Wellness: Conquering Stress, Mood, Anxiety and Traumas“
In the aftermath of a fight, you need to remind yourself that there are three elements to every conflict with your partner: their truth, your truth, and the truth.
Why we fight and what we’re fighting about reveal to us about ourselves
We all have different perspectives, blueprints, stories, and narratives. We hold our versions of what we perceive and believe to be right, wrong, and respectful versus disrespectful. We also vary in the behaviors we accept and those we do not.
Our narratives, beliefs, and stories of how relationships need to be and how people need to behave, act, display or hide emotions are our own. Our thoughts and beliefs shape our emotional reactions to people leading to maladaptive behaviors or emotional reactivity.
It is always the thought that leads us to emotional reactivity/physiological symptoms and then maladaptive unhealthy behaviors or reactions.
In interpersonal conflicts of any kind, it is important to recognize the judgments, labels, belief systems, and narratives at play within the dynamic.
It is important to understand that we are often creatures of habit. We are often unaware that our thoughts and actions can be hurtful or disrespectful to another person.
Kindness and compassion versus emotional reactivity
We all need to learn to have loving kindness and compassion for ourselves and others.
The two main reasons we suffer in life are because we don’t accept people as they are—including ourselves — and we don’t accept situations as they are.
Rather than act and react out of fear and self-doubt, when we accept situations and people as they truly are, we can act and react with less reactivity and greater kindness. It’s important to pause and reflect and speak kindly to one another and ourselves in moments of emotional reactivity.
When we are reactive, we are often in pain and have low self-esteem. And our pain spills over onto others. But when we are in a better place of compassion, kindness, and acceptance of ourselves and others, we can handle the situation calmly and choose our thoughts and words wisely.
When we communicate from a place of kindness, we are less likely to receive defensiveness and resistance. It is essential to bring awareness into our lives.
We need to pause, reflect, and notice our judgments, low self-esteem, and insecurities. We must understand how our narratives drive our emotional reactivity, self-doubt, and fears of being hurt by our partners.
We need to learn to challenge the veracity of our negative thoughts and distrust of others and the probability of versus the possibility that our dreaded worst-case-scenario outcomes are not facts but simply our fears and doubts. We need to see ourselves and our partners as we are!
That said, fights happen, even in the healthiest relationships!
Here are a few suggestions to help in the direct aftermath of a fight with your partner:
Give each other time and space
It can be difficult to think clearly when your emotions are heightened and reactive in the aftermath of a fight, so give yourself and your partner time and space to breathe, think and calm down. It can take time to process emotions and accept your partner’s perspective.
If, when you come back together, the argument picks up where it left off, take a longer break until both parties are open and ready to hear one another’s perspectives.
Feel your feelings
While you are on that break from your partner, allow yourself to feel your feelings. Reflect on the situation. Process your thoughts and emotional triggers. Identify what you are feeling and experiencing. Notice what body sensations arise and the emotions tied to these sensations.
Implement calming, self-soothing strategies
Take time to reflect on your negative thoughts. The goal here should be to arrive at a place of calmness.
Be patient and wait to resume your discussion
This is critical! We often feel a sense of urgency around conflicts and want to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible. Often, in our haste, we push too hard and end up only making matters worse and escalating conflicts. Wait until you and your partner are truly ready to talk.
When you speak, use “I” statements
It is important to take ownership over what you feel rather than accuse another with “you” statements. When you make “you” statements, your partner feels targeted and can become defensive. They may, in turn, shut down rather than listen to your point.
When you use “I” statements, statements are about what happened for you, rather than what you think happened for the other person—statements start with “I,” such as, “I think, I feel, I believe”—your partner doesn’t feel blamed and shamed.
When you explain things from your perspective, your partner is more likely to listen and reflect on your point of view.
Rather than pretend to listen while you are thinking of the next thing you want to say, really listen to what your partner is saying.
When you bring full awareness to another person, not only will you understand them better, you will notice nonverbal cues as well – if your partner is upset, nervous, or agitated.
And your partner will notice—and even if they don’t say so at the time—appreciate that you are giving them your full attention. When you bring your full awareness to a situation, you will sense if it is wise to take a break and allow yourself and your partner to cool down before continuing.
When you resume discussions, model kindness and compassion. Be respectful, open to, and understanding of your partner’s point of view.
Take ownership of your emotions, reactivity, and negative judgments
Apologize and reconnect. Acknowledge your negative reactions and behaviors, assure your partner that you will try to be more aware in the future, and try not to repeat hurtful reactions and harmful words.
See conflict as a catalyst for change and growth
Conflict is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your partner, identify and remove false narratives, and foster a deeper understanding and kindness toward one another.
Consider what you learned about yourself and your partner. Talk about how you can better handle conflicts in the future. Make a plan going forward to help you navigate future conflicts and disagreements more effectively, calmly, and lovingly.
If you find yourselves unable to move forward constructively:
Ask a third party to intervene and meditate
When your conflicts with your partner repeatedly devolve into heated arguments despite your best efforts, explore working through disagreements with a therapist who can meditate and create a safe environment for both parties to speak, be heard, and feel understood to resolve the conflict.
In the presence of a therapist, you and your partner may better manage your tone, anger, and reactivity and begin to listen actively to one another.
Consider individual couples counseling
If issues like insecurities, fears, trust issues, and feeling a loss of control repeatedly come up during arguments with your partner, consider working with a therapist, individually or together.
A therapist can help you identify and reflect on underlying issues and provide strategies to manage or resolve ongoing conflicts with yourself and others.
Kristin M. Papa, LCSW, CHWC
Licensed Psychotherapist | Certified Health and Well-being Coach, Living Open-Hearted
Use the Reflect, Response, and Repair approach
Fighting between couples is often part of being in a relationship. However, several steps can be taken to use those difficult moments as opportunities to invest in your relationship and grow as a couple.
Many people think that fighting and growing as a couple are antonyms, but I’ll walk you through the steps to strengthen your relationship.
With my clients, I often use my Reflect, Response, and Repair approach.
First, Reflect on the fight. What happened? What was going on before the fight? What was the fight about? Was there anything underneath the actual cause of the fight (i.e., long-standing hurt from previous situations? Was it a reoccurring theme in your fights? Old wounds from childhood, etc.?)
Next, think about your response or reaction during the fight.
What might have contributed to your response to your partner? Was it a busy day at work? Hard day with the kids? Dealing with an aging parent? Was it a particular tone or comment that triggered you? What feelings came up during the fight?
Try to think of all the contextual aspects of the fight. Often during a fight, we can become hyper-focused on that particular situation, so this is an opportunity to zoom out and gather all the information that might have influenced your response during the fight.
The last step is to repair. This is where the couple comes back together to discuss what they uncovered during the Reflect and Response steps to decide how to repair the situation and do something differently next time a fight arises.
This is not easy and requires a lot of vulnerability between couples.
Therefore, I always recommend that clients think about what core values are most important to them in their relationship, keep those values in mind, and perhaps verbalize them to their partner when repairing things.
The Repair step allows couples to view this process as an investment in their relationship and reframe fighting as an opportunity to grow and learn about each other.
It’s important to remember that the Repair may or may not include an apology since the focus is to determine how the couple wants to move forward in service of what is most important to them as a couple.
Give each other time to calm down by doing something soothing
First, give each other time to calm down by doing something soothing. Once you’ve both calmed down, set a date to talk about the issue using respectful language and taking turns, like grown-ups. Don’t let the two-year-old that lives inside each of us take over when hurt or anger is triggered.
Fighting is a choice. Fighting happens when we allow the two-year-old inside us to throw a tantrum. We get to choose if fighting is a behavior we wish to keep repeating or if we want a happy, lasting relationship.
The alternative is to learn new communication skills.
We can read a relationship book or take one of the great online streaming courses in effective, respectful communication and anger management skills.
It really is possible to talk about anything, even if we disagree, without fighting. We must be truthful about our “feelings” without attacking each other—respectful methods of honestly communicating lead to resolutions, understanding, and greater emotional intimacy.
The time after a fight with your partner can be awkward. Neither person may know the right thing to do, especially if the couple is still new or hasn’t fought much.
If you fight with a partner, it’s essential to make amends soon after. That way, neither of you has been stewing in resentment for a long time.
Find some alone time to cool down
It’s best to cool down first. This will give both of you time to process it. You can think about what got out of hand, why, and the part you played.
Don’t go talk to your friends about it and bad mouth your partner out of anger. They will likely agree with you because they are your friend. Plus, they only know your side of the story. This will only divide you more against your partner.
This time alone lets you think of your partner’s side of the story and find common ground to help bridge the disagreement.
Apologies are only for the strong
Once you’re done cooling down and spending time alone, apologize. If you’re the first one to apologize, this shows strength, not weakness. Hopefully, your partner will do the same even if it was mainly one of your faults.
If you are always the one apologizing, let your partner come to you first and apologize sometimes. And vice versa if your partner always apologizes first.
It doesn’t need to be rushed. But one partner shouldn’t always have to do the legwork.
What to do if your partner never apologizes
This isn’t good if your partner never apologizes. This isn’t good if you have a partner who never admits any responsibility in a fight. It means they probably fully blame you.
If you think this could be the case, ask your partner gently why they don’t apologize.
If they say, “I am always right,” this is a huge red flag. They are probably entitled and can’t admit mistakes. This probably means they are toxic.
Related: Can Toxic Relationships Be Healed?
At this point, if you think your partner won’t change, the relationship won’t get better. It will only get worse as you encounter more serious issues together.
You may want to consider resolving, taking responsibility, or ending it if you don’t want to bear all the blame each time.
Jocelyn Hamsher, LPC, CST
Professor and Course Creator | Licensed Professional Counselor, Courageous Living AZ
All relationships have issues and arguments. However, what determines the relationship’s health is what happens after the fight.
There are three healthy steps that each person must take after a fight to set the relationship up for success:
Apologize and own your side of the street
In my experience working with couples, one of the hardest things for people to do is to apologize for their part without blaming the other person or telling them what their part is. When we come to our partner after an argument, it is important that we share what we did that was not okay and be clear in owning our part.
Instead of saying, “I am sorry for my part in the fight,” we need to say:
- “I am sorry for raising my voice, interrupting, and assuming that you…”
- “I apologize for not communicating with you that I would not be home in time for dinner.”
We do not say, “But you did…”
When we blame or make someone else accountable for our behavior, we are not engaging in healthy behaviors.
It is also not our job to point out to our partners all the ways they messed up. No one wants to hear that right after a fight.
Share how you will improve moving forward
Words are great, but the real healing and accountability come when we share how we will change moving forward.
Using the example above, it could look like: “I am sorry for raising my voice and interrupting. Moving forward, I will keep my voice calm and not interrupt. If I am struggling with those things, I will ask for a time out to calm down before we continue the conversation.”
It is not enough for us to say sorry. We need to back it up with actions.
Share what you need moving forward
Owning your side of the street and your behaviors is crucial. However, just as crucial is to share your wants and needs in the relationship moving forward.
While it would be ideal for our partner also to own all of their dysfunction when we acknowledge ours, they may not, and even when they don’t, it is our job to stay on our side of the street and share what we want and need without jumping to their side to point out their part.
When we do that, often we are not heard, and it creates more defensiveness in the relationship.
We can share our preferences without blaming or shaming our partners
For instance, instead of “In the future, I need you to stop yelling at me because you always yell when we get in a fight, and then I feel like I need to yell back,” try saying:
- “In the future, I would appreciate it if we did not yell during a heated discussion.”
- “When either of us is getting too heated in the conversation, I would appreciate it if we took a timeout to cool down and then come back and have the conversation when we are both calm.”
This is much less threatening and accusatory, which allows the other person to hear you better.
If you feel like you and your partner are hitting the same roadblocks over and over, you may want to reach out to a couples counselor to help you get more tools to help you navigate fights in the future.
Psychologist and Researcher, University of Virginia
Engage in an activity that soothes our nervous system
We know from decades of research with couples that conflict is a normal part of romantic relationships—what matters is how partners engage in that conflict and how they recover and reconnect when the fight is done.
Romantic conflict can send our bodies into fight/flight/freeze mode, which means our entire sympathetic nervous system becomes activated during a fight. What we most need to recover from that sympathetic activation is to engage in an activity that soothes our nervous system.
We can do this ourselves—through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or being in nature (my personal go-to is taking a walk near running water).
But we can also recover in relationship with our partner by:
- Taking a walk together
- Offering a genuine apology
- Holding hands, hugging, or cuddling (affectionate touch has been shown to soothe the brain’s fear response).
In attachment theory, romantic conflict is understood as a “relationship rupture” that needs repair and reconnection for both people to feel safe and loved again.
Among the most important things you can do to repair the relationship are:
- Take accountability and offer a genuine apology for your part in the fight.
- Be clear and genuine about what you need from your partner to feel safe and loved again.
- Focus on the behaviors or patterns you want to change going forward—don’t criticize the person.
- Validate the relationship. Say why it’s important to you. This helps you and your partner remember the “bigger picture” and boost feelings of gratitude and security.
- Commit to a small, actionable step each of you can take to rebuild trust, security, and support for each other going forward. These small actions show your partner that you’re committed to building healthier patterns together.
Note: If physical, verbal, or emotional abuse has occurred, seek help immediately. Set a firm boundary to ensure that you and others are safe.
Kierstyn Franklin, CMP and Tiffany Denny
Certified Life + Health Coach, The Relationship Recovery
All relationships experience disagreements and arguments. It is not unhealthy to fight occasionally. However, you must repair the hurt feelings and resolve the argument; otherwise, resentment can build, negatively impacting your connection with your partner.
Give a timeframe on when you’ll come back together to talk
After an argument ensues, you might need to take a break and give each other space if you cannot resolve the issue. It is difficult to come from a place of compassion and love immediately after a fight with your partner.
Emotions tend to be high after an argument, so giving each other some time before discussing resolving the issue is important. Giving a timeframe on when you will come back together to talk is always a good idea.
During the break from your partner, it is a good time to reflect on what you were arguing about and take the time to really feel your feelings.
Ask yourself where you feel it in your body, and notice if it frequently comes up when you argue. If so, this can be something that you can identify and talk to your partner about.
Use “I” statements and active listening
When you come back together, it is always a good idea to use “I” statements and active listening. These are both great tools for communication.
“I” statements make it about what happened for you in the argument rather than what you think your partner experienced in the argument.
If you use statements such as “I think,” “I feel, and “I believe,” it will help your partner to know that you are not blaming them or making assumptions about their experience in the argument; you are just giving your experience.
Along with using “I” statements, active listening will help in getting a resolution to the issue. Putting your phone down and making eye contact with your partner will let them know you are serious about working on things.
An apology can often be the best way to reconnect
After you have done your own reflection and reconnected with your partner, if you feel you were wrong, an apology can go a long way. An apology can often be the best way to reconnect fully.
Discuss your plans for the future
Once you feel like things are resolved, making a plan for the future can be effective in navigating arguments. This gives a great opportunity to discuss each other’s needs and how you can communicate better to create a healthier relationship.
Dr. Jaclyn Gulotta, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Choosing Therapy
Talk about your expectations moving forward
Here are some tips to use after a fight with your partner:
- Respect each other’s personal space. Allow your partner to take a break if needed.
- Give time to process emotions. Allow your partner to feel what they are feeling in their own way.
- Reconnect. Use this time to build upon the trust.
- Talk about your expectations moving forward. Set healthy boundaries.
- Take accountability and apologize. Own up for your actions and let your partner know you are working to put in the effort.
Remember that difference of opinion is not the problem. It’s how we communicate this to our partners. This is where we get stuck in the negative patterns of arguments due to becoming defensive and protecting ourselves.
Think of your partner as your equal and project positive thoughts “as if” they have the best intentions for you so you can stay mindful of your reactions.
When we become self-aware of our responses in relation to what we perceive as threatening conversation, we may act to protect rather than act to understand and clarify.
These practices may help each partner feel validated and understood. Also, they may help to allow each partner to express their emotions in a calm space.
By having time to process your thoughts, you can then decide how you want your partner to receive the message respectfully. By talking about it, you open the door to more honest conversation and reconnect on a deeper level.
Founder and CEO, Zenit
When we are in a fight, there are layers to what’s going on. Often something that seems trivial triggers anger.
The anger is at the surface. Beneath that, there is hurt, which can itself be a mix of feeling unseen, unappreciated, used, and more. Beneath all that hurt is love.
We need to process and release the anger to get to the hurt. We need to process the hurt to understand why it hurts. We need to understand what deeper wound is being triggered or what deeper issue is at play that has been festering for some time unaddressed, slowly turning into resentment.
All of that takes a significant amount of processing.
When we are in that heated place of anger, our thoughts and emotions are like a large, tight, tangled ball of string. Until we work through all those layers, we cannot move forward productively.
Journaling clears up space for us to move forward in the process
Journaling is a way of gently tugging at the ends of the strings and slowly untangling the ball until the strings are lying flat, and we can understand precisely what we are thinking and feeling, as well as where those thoughts and feelings are coming from past traumas, old wounds, etc.
Clarifying all of that opens the door to a path forward, a path of mending, healing, and further strengthening the relationship.
For example, my partner and I got into a fight once when staying at someone else’s place, and by the time he got into the shower, the water was cold.
He said to me angrily, “Why do I always get the short end of the stick with you?” I responded angrily, “Why do you always call me the bad guy? You do ‘not’ always get the short end of the stick. I make sacrifices for you too.”
And on we went—him upset, me defensive and triggered.
Of course, the fight wasn’t about the cold shower. It was about deeper issues that had been going on for some time in our relationship that we had not been addressing.
Fortunately, we eventually got to the root of those issues. He had been feeling for some time like he wasn’t a priority to me.
I had been feeling neglected by some of his choices which caused me to distance myself in some ways, making things worse. Plus, it came up that his idea of what a relationship means triggered fear in me from past traumas that I would lose myself (again) in a relationship.
When we dug deep and uncovered all that, we eventually got beneath the anger, through all the hurt, and to the love to make a plan for moving forward.
After this fight, I was steadfast in my commitment to make my partner feel like a priority—without losing myself in the process.
So I wrote in my journal, “Is he a priority to me?” I challenged myself to confront that question—to be honest with myself. I owed that to myself and him.
I wrote out all my thoughts and feelings in a free stream of consciousness that came up to me in reflecting on this question.
My journaling revealed to me the fears I still have in relationships from old traumas, my need for maintaining a healthy, mutual relationship, what makes this current relationship different from the past ones that damaged me, and, ultimately, yes, that he is a priority to me.
It was scary to ask myself that, but it got me to a better place of clarity, commitment, and understanding of what healing work I need to keep doing for myself to show up for my partner, what I need to do to nurture our relationship and make sure he feels valued, and how I can keep the boundaries I need while still fully being there for my partner.
Journaling—writing all our thoughts and feelings out by hand on pen and paper—makes a difference. When we merely think about all this, everything stays stuck in our heads, and it’s hard to move forward and process everything fully. There’s no release.
When we actually write our thoughts and feelings down on paper, we get them out of our heads and down onto paper. That clears up space for us to then get to the next layer to process. It moves us forward in the processing.
Writing by hand gives us a quiet space to slow down with our thoughts
Writing by hand also has advantages over typing or speaking because it gives us a quiet space not only to be with our thoughts but to slow down with them. We have to slow down when writing by hand.
When I write with a lot of emotion, I notice I start to rush my writing, and my hand gets tight and aches. That reminds me to slow down my writing, which helps me slow down my processing, which helps me process more fully and deeply.
Some journaling prompts for processing relationship conflicts are:
- “What am I feeling? What’s driving my feelings?”
- “What are my needs?”
- “I’m having a hard time with…”
- “I’m feeling a lot of…”
- “I fear that… What does my wisest self say about it?”
- “I feel stressed or down about… What do my heart and wisest self say about it?”
- “What painful or heavy feeling do I need to acknowledge with deep breaths?”
- “What am I learning?”
These prompts are from our menu of prompts for its customized wellness journals.
So, breathe, and write it out. Eventually, the both of you can come back and share what came up for you in your processing with each other.
Give yourselves that private time to untangle the ball of thoughts and emotions, work through the layers of anger and hurt, and get back to love—love for yourself, your partner, and your relationship.
Registered Clinical Counsellor | Emotion Focused Therapy EFT Practitioner | Clinic Director, Wellness North Counselling
Resolve your issues with them rather than developing maladaptive coping patterns
Fighting with our partner can lead to emotional wounds or psychological injury, depending on the intensity and context. From an attachment perspective, if this rupture in the bond between two people is not repaired, it could lead to a build-up of resentment, frustration, and anger.
Once both parties have had time to calm down and reflect on what happened, it is essential to process underlying feelings (whether lingering stress/tension, feeling betrayed, judged, invalidated, unheard, dismissed, etc.).
This is necessary so that secure attachment bonds can be strengthened or rebuilt and couples can thrive versus being in a survival mode or feeling that they are walking on eggshells around their partner.
From a neuro-biological standpoint, when we fight, there is a release of stress hormones in the body. And unless we relax, recharge, and recover from the fight, our body can continue to suffer, we can develop psychosomatic symptoms, and results can be devastating over time.
We all have that deep desire to be loved and accepted, and we owe it to ourselves to resolve our issues with our partner rather than developing maladaptive coping patterns (think drinking or other addictive tendencies) or, perhaps, attaching to conflict avoidance tendencies.
Conflict resolution is not easy, but with time, patience and practice, we can adopt these patterns that can help us feel more connected to our partner versus the one that evokes our deepest fears of loneliness or abandonment.
From a solution-focused perspective, we can simply reflect on our behavior in the fight and take steps to work on ourselves, whether it means being:
- A better communicator (not a better fighter)
- Less reactive (learning not to shut down but understand other person’s perspective)
- More emotionally attuned to our partner’s needs (EFT perspective)
Hope is that we can learn from our fight and become better people and partners rather than continue with the same pattern and feel stuck.
Dr. Ketan Parmar
Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots
When your relationship is just beginning, it’s easy to dismiss arguments as nothing more than petty squabbles. After all, you’re so in love! How can something so small and insignificant be worth fighting about?
You might think that arguing means your relationship is passionate and dynamic. And maybe you’ll believe the same thing for a while.
However, what feels like no big deal now may feel completely different later down the road when you’re living together as husband and wife with kids and bills to pay.
Fights are never easy, but they are inevitable. Couples who understand this will come out of their disagreements feeling closer than before—not further apart.
These six tips will help you after the next fight with your partner:
Be ready to apologize
Getting defensive and refusing to accept responsibility will only make things worse. When you fight with your partner, there are certain communication tips you can follow to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
But if you find yourself at the center of a full-blown argument and your partner demands that you take responsibility for your part in it, don’t be too proud to apologize. If you’re not responsible for what’s happening, then you’re in the clear.
But if your partner has a legitimate grievance against you, you must own up to it. Your partner will be much more likely to be open to hearing your side of the story if you show that you’re willing to take responsibility for your part in what happened.
Discuss how you’ll handle it differently next time
No matter how trivial the argument may have seemed at the time, you can learn something from it. After you’ve calmed down and the dust has settled, sit with your partner and discuss what happened.
Take turns listening and reflecting on your partner’s side of the story, and then share your own.
It may be helpful for each of you to jot down what happened and how you felt about it. Be sure to discuss how you’ll handle it differently next time.
For example, if one of you felt put off by the other’s behavior, you should talk about what could have been done differently. And if you have bad habits, you should talk about how you’ll change them.
Remember, fighting fairly means disagreeing with your partner respectfully and then listening to each other’s side of the story.
Don’t be afraid to fight fair and ask for what you want
Not every fight between a couple is worth having. Some couples agree to disagree. Others pick fights that they should avoid at all costs. If you and your partner disagree on an important issue, it’s important to know when to give in and when to fight for what you believe in.
If it’s an important matter, don’t let it go just because your partner disagrees with you. But also, don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in. At the same time, it’s important to recognize when your partner’s request is legitimate or when their opinion is valid.
If your partner makes a sincere request or has a legitimate complaint, you need to respect that. If you’re always the one who has to give in, you’ll start resenting your partner. Fight fair and be open to your partner’s side of the story.
Recognize that some fights are worth having
You and your partner will have fights both big and small. Some of them will be worth having, and some won’t.
If you two are in the habit of compromising and always giving in, you won’t be building a strong relationship. Instead, you’ll be creating a weak partnership that can’t survive the test of time.
Every now and then, you and your partner should dig your heels in and fight for what you want. The key, however, is to recognize which fights are worth having and which ones aren’t.
For example, if one of you wants to go on vacation to the beach but the other one wants to go to the mountains, that’s a fight worth having.
At the same time, if one of you really wants to watch the latest superhero movie but the other wants to watch a documentary on climate change, that’s a fight that shouldn’t even be engaged.
Know when you need a break
If there’s no way to break the cycle of fighting and you’re both too caught up in emotions to talk through your issues, you may need to take a break from each other for a while.
What this means is that one or both of you need some space so you can calm down and consider things more rationally.
A break doesn’t have to be a long-term thing. It can be a few hours a day, or maybe even a weekend. But whatever you do, make sure you’re both aware you’re taking a break, so neither of you feels resentful or slighted.
Rebuilding trust after a fight with your partner
Trust is one of the most important elements in any relationship. It’s what holds us together and makes us feel safe. When we fight with our partners, and things get heated, our trust in one another can take a hit.
How can you rebuild your trust after a fight? Some experts say you should forgive and forget. Others say you should work on rebuilding your trust by doing certain things. So how do you rebuild trust after a fight with your partner?
There are a few things you can do to help re-establish trust in your relationship:
- Talk with your partner about the fight.
- Catch your partner doing something right.
- Apologize to your partner.
- Give your partner space.
You can’t avoid fighting with your partner if you want to build a strong relationship. The key is to fight fair and then talk about what happened and how you’ll handle it differently next time. Couples who don’t fight are couples who never progress.
Fights happen, but it’s what you do after the fact that matters. When you fight, you’re building your relationship. You’re learning how to communicate better.
You’re figuring out what you each need from one another. You’re discovering how to compromise and be flexible. You’re strengthening your relationship as a whole.
There’s no such thing as a perfect couple, but there’s also no such thing as a perfect fight.
If you follow these six tips, you and your partner can come out of an argument feeling closer than before. After all, fighting is just another way of expressing your love for each other.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Though I have been with my husband for over 19 years (and married for 15 of them), that doesn’t mean that every minute of every day is peaches and cream.
My husband and I often have differing opinions. We also have disagreements, and, yes, we even have occasional fights.
So what do I do? And what might you want to do after a fight with your partner?
Take some time to think
Though you may have listened to what your partner said, did you really hear them? After your fight, take the time to think about what you said and what your partner said.
You might have been too heated to heed what was said to you while you were fighting. Now that the fight is over, you have a chance to contemplate.
Think about how you could be more proactive moving forward
You can’t change the past, but you can change how you handle things in the future.
For example, maybe your fight was based on poor communication. If this is the case, you can work on communicating better to avoid such a confrontation.
Don’t go to bed angry
This is old advice, but it still holds true today. “Don’t go to bed” doesn’t only mean that you shouldn’t sleep on it. It also means that your argument should come to a conclusion before you put it to rest.
If you need to continue the conversation, as painful as it might be, it’s better than to let it just simmer.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you find that you are constantly arguing with your partner or the two of you aren’t communicating well, it might be time to look for some professional help from a counselor or therapist.
Having someone unbiased that the two of you can talk to can help you communicate better and avoid future fights.
Jared Heathman, MD
Psychiatrist, Active Ketamine
All relationships go through arguments and disagreements. During arguments and disagreements, emotions run high, and feelings may be hurt. This is a normal event in many relationships.
You and your partner need to repair the relationship to restore a sense of unity and commitment and to prevent the negative effects of an unresolved argument.
Be accepting of space
After a fight with your partner, giving each other time and space to be alone is important. During this time alone, try to decompress and collect your thoughts for when you regroup.
It can be hard to resolve the argument when emotions are high, and tempers are flaring. Time can help both parties to consider the situation logically.
During your time alone, allow yourself to truly feel your emotions
Try to identify your needs—emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or even physically. Once you have decompressed, expressed your emotions, and identified your needs, set a time to regroup.
If you regroup and the argument continues to be heated, that is a sign that at least one of you needs additional time to assess the situation.
Come to a resolution by communicating effectively and honestly
While regrouping with your partner, it is crucial to communicate effectively and honestly. A way to do this is using “I” statements. These types of statements allow you to take responsibility for your feelings without placing blame or becoming defensive.
An example of an “I” statement would be, “I feel frustrated when I come home, and the house is messy.”
Make sure to take turns with your partner, allowing each party to be heard. While the other person is speaking, do not try to think about how you will respond. Focus on the message from your partner and try to find understanding.
After reaching a mutual agreement, it is important to discuss ways to prevent this argument or disagreement from happening in the future.
After this is done, let your partner know you are on the same side by showing unity. This can be done through a touch, a hug, a smile, an activity together, or a date night.
Spending time together allows time to focus on each other and your relationship. Arguments and disagreements happen, but how you and your partner proceed after can be positive and bring you together.
Relationship Expert, Texas Divorce Laws
Arguments and disagreements occasionally occur in practically all relationships. Although it’s very normal, if you don’t fix the harm, feelings may be harmed, and your relationship may suffer.
It would help if you did this after a fight with your partner:
Give each other some space and time
Giving your partner some space and time after a disagreement is crucial. When your emotions run high, it is challenging to consider mending your relationship.
You can each have a chance to cool off and think about the problem logically and emotionally with a little time apart.
Before attempting to address the issue, you can settle on a time frame that works for each of you by talking about it beforehand. If the dispute continues when you get back together, consider prolonging your break.
Don’t ignore them or give them the cold shoulder
After a fight, it’s totally acceptable to require some distance as long as you let them know. Stonewalling is one of the major mistakes people make following a disagreement.
If you dismiss or neglect your spouse or partner, they can believe that you are punishing them, which might cause them to be reluctant to express their feelings to you in the future.
Instead of letting tension and arguments fester, one of the best presents you can give yourself and your partner is to get back in touch and bring about harmony as soon as possible.
Try to see things from their perspective
Consider yourself someone who cares about you outside the relationship to make your spouse feel heard. Consider what they might see you cannot perceive from your own perspective, and accept any reasonable arguments your partner may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common reasons why couples fight?
Couples fight for many reasons, and they can vary depending on the person and the relationship dynamic. However, some common reasons include:
• differences in communication styles
• money, and financial issues
• disagreements about household chores or responsibilities
• differences in values or beliefs
• jealousy or trust issues
• conflicts over intimacy or sex
It’s important to remember that conflict is a natural part of any relationship, and how couples handle these conflicts can make all the difference.
How can fighting in a relationship affect other aspects of life?
Fighting in a relationship can have a ripple effect on other aspects of life, such as work, friendships, and overall well-being. Frequent fighting can cause stress and anxiety, impacting mood, energy levels, and overall health.
In addition, relationship conflict can affect other areas of life, leading to lower productivity at work, strained friendships, and an overall sense of negativity and tension. When the conflict in a relationship persists or intensifies, it may be a sign that deeper issues need to be addressed.
The assistance of a therapist or counselor can be a helpful solution for couples who are struggling to resolve conflicts healthily and constructively.
A trained professional can help couples communicate more effectively, address underlying issues, and find healthy ways to move forward.
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