Somehow, something went horribly wrong and you had a fight with your romantic partner. You’d like things to get back to normal, but how do you fix it?
He didn’t come home at the time he promised. She didn’t call the dog groomer to arrange for Fluffy’s beauty treatment. No one took the garbage bin to the curb. You exchanged harsh words. Feelings got hurt. And suddenly there was a dividing line on the bed. You had a fight with your partner and now you feel like you want to explode.
You love your partner, but he or she made you so mad! How do you mend the breach? How do you prevent this kind of fight in the future?
During a Fight
Never say something you’ll regret later. Hold your tongue. Best to say nothing and steam about the injustice of it all for a while, because later, when you’re feeling more yourself, the whole fight might seem trivial. Happily, you won’t have to backtrack on the threats or expletives you threw and your partner.
Be mindful of your partner’s feelings. Yes, he or she made you really mad. Yes, you think his or her behavior was rotten or thoughtless. But going out of your way to hurt them back won’t help matters. The fight has to end, so don’t draw it out by retaliating.
Don’t get physical. Don’t slam doors, throw vases, slam pots on the stove, and definitely never, ever hit. Hitting is the end of the relationship whether it stumbles along afterward for a while or not. It’s over at that point. If your partner hits you, get out. Do not wait. Get out. It’s no longer a normal fight, it’s abuse.
When You’ve Calmed Down and can Think About Your Fight
Apologize. Even if it’s not your fault, consider apologizing for there being a conflict. You might not feel you’ve done anything in particular wrong—and maybe you didn’t—but you’re certainly sorry things got fractious. Say you’re sorry. It costs you nothing and it can open a positive dialogue. There are two sides to every fight. An action and a reaction. No matter which end you were on, you are partially responsible that tempers flared. Fights do not happen with only one person present.
Remember that your partner probably didn’t intend to make you mad. If you love him or her, you’ll trust that person to try not to hurt your feelings on purpose. You wouldn’t do that to them, so you have to believe the reciprocal is true as well. The reason behind the fight is unlikely to be intent.
Talk with your partner. Together, try to dissect what went wrong that got so out of hand that a fight ensued. Be sure to use active listening skills to really understand what he or she was thinking when a disagreement with your partner turned into a fight.
Remind yourself why you fell in love with your partner. He or she has some fabulous qualities; you might just need to focus on those for a little while and accept this recent problem as water under the bridge.
Move on. Don’t dwell on the conflict. Try to resolve it by talking it through and then leave it and go on to relationship building. There is more to life than one foolish fight.
Now you have things to think about when resolving a fight. Focus on the relationship, not the misdeeds. If you love your partner, remember that there will be arguments, but they don’t have to last forever.