The truth about your fights
If you’re already squabbling and you’ve only been dating for a few months, relax! It might even be a good thing.
There are some things in life that are just bound to happen: a red light after a string of green, a hole in your favourite jeans, a Kim and Kanye controversy and, yes, a fight with your partner. Arguing is an inevitable part of a relationship.
“Fighting is healthy so long as you fight fair, which means focusing on the issue or the behaviour not the person,” explains Jasmine Sliger, a cross cultural counseling psychologist with JSA International Communications.
In the early days, a disagreement can even be helpful in that it allows you to learn more about each other. “When you have a fight, you’re trying to make issues clearer,” says Jasmine. “You’re trying to get the other person to know you better and what you like. If you tell each other what you like and what you prefer, you will treat each other that way.”
The big danger is not being able to communicate effectively with each other. Each of you will have different communication and conflict resolution styles, but fortunately these are two of the eHarmony compatibility traits that you’re matched on, meaning your eHarmony dates will have a greater chance of relationship success.
While you might think the most important part of fighting is getting your own way, it’s actually how emotionally resilient you are. “If you have a small fight and suddenly it’s the end of the world, that’s silly. So you need to be resilient and have bounce-back factor,” explains Jasmine.
Of course, there are some fights that signal the end of the relationship (such as any emotional or physical abuse; or if their inherent behaviours reflect your deal breakers i.e. someone who is racist) but the majority of disagreements can be resolved. In order to do so, you must:
Not let the argument escalate
“When you start swearing at each other – that’s a problem,” says Jasmine. Keep it in the boundaries of a respectful relationship. Sometimes when we’re upset it’s important to us to have a time out. Nominate a time to reconvene, perhaps in 20 minutes or so, when you can come back and talk about it again.
How you treat someone when you’re angry will either promote trust or will take away trust. “The majority of the men I see tell me that the thing that upsets them most when dating a woman is having her discuss their relationship with her girlfriends. Men do not want to be compared or discussed with other women or men. It’s really important that they are able to really trust you. If you feel unsafe or need help, have one friend who you can go to confidentially.
Be able to say you’re sorry
Don’t let your ego and being ‘right’ ruin your relationship. “Also, take someone at their word,” advises Jasmine. “If they say they’re sorry, believe them.”
What happens after a fight can have just as much impact on a relationship as what happens during. It’s understandable if you need to take a little time away to recover, but don’t let it turn into ‘silent treatment’. “If a person takes three days to calm down over a fight that wasn’t a big issue, then that’s a real wakeup call you might not be in the right relationship,” warns Jasmine. “Not speaking for days sets up a toxic environment and people who can’t forgive are toxic themselves.”
Finally, any kind of physical touch after a squabble is a good thing. “I believe in make-up sex,” says Jasmine. “Sex after a fight will really bond you together and help you forgive and forget!”
How do you handle fights in your relationship? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.
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