People are different, and so are their levels of understanding and perception. And so, disagreements and fights are inevitable when in a relationship.
You are bound to have difference in opinions and argue on the same.
But an argument or two does not mean that you need to give up on each other. Arguments aren’t necessarily a bad sign. These help you grow and understand each other better.
How easily you can overcome these arguments or conflicts, is what will prove the real test of your relationship. And your relationship is worth saving – you just need to be aware of how to act and react whilst facing a conflict with your partner.
Unless you know what exactly your partner is thinking or how they’re feeling (and vice versa), you will not understand their perception. You need to communicate effectively – talk and ask, when it comes to resolving conflict.
Whether you’re sad, upset or annoyed, you need to express what’s bothering you to your partner. You can’t just mope, pout or give the silent treatment without really addressing an issue. Moreover, yelling or being aggressive is quite the opposite to healthy communication.
Apart from communicating, listening is a major requirement in conflict resolution. You can’t and shouldn’t want to always be the one to be heard; you need to listen as well.
Listen with a desire to understand your partner, and not to respond. When you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Remember that your partner is telling you their experience.
It reveals the truth about them, not you. You’re free to disagree, but first see where the person is coming from.
Don’t try to win
Conflicts are opportunities for you and your partner to understand, appreciate and embrace differences. It can be uncomfortable, but that’s what’s going to help your relationship grow.
In relationships, there’s no winning or losing side—you’re on the same team. You both win when you reach a compromise, and you both lose when you don’t.
Understand that when facing an issue, it’s you and your partner v/s the problem, not you v/s your partner. So don’t be so hellbent on winning the argument, getting defensive and proving your point.
Don’t do or say anything that could possibly worsen the situation, just to satisfy your ego. Ask yourself, what’s important – the relationship or your ego?
Be aware of negative patterns
It’s very easy for negativity to surround you and act on it whilst facing a conflict. You may feel attacked or threatened, vulnerable and weak, and this can make you recoil and retreat.
Moreover, when you feel that you’re under the red light, you’re less likely to respond constructively and more likely to resort to old standbys like “the silent treatment” that, ultimately, do more harm than good. This will eventually cause your relationship to break down completely.
Don’t judge, blame, belittle, or be sarcastic or dismissive in your words or facial expressions, such as rolling your eyes or smirking. Such behavior is extremely disrespectful, and implies that you’re done with your partner.
Sure, you fall back on patterns as instinct, but is that really helping you or your relationship? No. Then it’s time to break this pattern and adopt a positive energy.
Sometimes, it isn’t always the other person at fault. It can be you and your actions too. Look inwards and check if what you’ve said or done is right or wrong. Have a monologue with yourself, trying to find out if you were at fault too.
Take accountability for your own actions and feelings. Understand role in the conflict and what you can do about it.
When you listen and understand your partner, you are essentially accepting them for who they are. You aren’t negating their views or opinions.
Learning the art of accepting and valuing your partner for who they are — instead of whining about shortcomings — may actually help the two of you find better solutions to problems.
This will melt defenses and motivate you to want to please each other.
Take a time-out
One of the most effective ways to stop conflict from escalating is to know when to “time-out” for a few moments (or minutes, or hours) to collect yourself before returning for a less emotional, more constructive conversation.
As soon as one of you feels too upset or negative to follow healthy problem-solving steps, it’s time to take a break. Stop the discussion right away, go to separate rooms or outdoors and calm down.
Take a walk, read a book, cook a meal. Don’t spend your time ruminating about the conversation or having bad thoughts about your partner.
And before you talk again, first share an everyday activity together to re-establish a close, calm connection.
Work on forgiveness
Forgiveness is a process. It’s a series of small acts – admitting mistakes, practicing total honesty and putting your partner first – that add up over time. Forgiveness takes work.
You won’t just wake up one day and magically feel forgiving towards your partner.
If you’re the partner that broke the trust, you must take full responsibility. Be respectful of how you hurt your partner, and give them the space they need.
If your trust was broken, take some space, but continue to communicate. Let your partner know what you need to rebuild trust.