The first fight that ends the honeymoon phase of a new relationship can be very unnerving. Just yesterday you were dressing up to go out to dinner, and sending him a text even though you saw him an hour earlier. Now he is really, truly aggravating you/disagreeing with you/not listening to what you’re saying. And you honestly just want to spit in his eye. Yet the first fight can also be a good thing. It signifies that you’re comfortable enough around each other to disagree and express your truest, most honest opinions. I am here to assure you that you will brave the storm known as the first fight, and you will come out a stronger couple. You just have to know how to fight properly. Yes, there are good and bad ways to fight.
Fighting dirty is (at the time) so much more satisfying than a fair fight, but it’s also damaging to your relationship in the long run. It includes slinging hurtful insults that you don’t mean, and purposely bringing up things that you know aggravate your significant other just to add extra insult to injury. It’s so easy to call him a name in the heat of the moment, but those words stick around even after you’re back to cuddling on the couch watching re-runs of The Office.
I’m a firm believer that the right type of fight can make you a stronger couple. The couples I worry most about are the ones who coo, “We NEVER FIGHT!” as they smile way too big and hold hands and call each other strange pet names. It’s not normal not to fight. Unless you are dating yourself.
As long as you are in a relationship with another person, you’re going to disagree and you are going to do stuff that drives each other bonkers. If you can work through it without insulting each other personally or bringing up old issues, you improve the quality of the communication in your relationship. This is called a fair fight.
A fair fight is when you address the issue at hand, and only that issue. During a fair fight, it’s important to know when it’s time to take a break and walk away even though it would feel so good to just keep arguing in a circle. My boyfriend and I struggled with this for a while. When we fight, he usually needs to take a break and cool down. I, on the other hand, would like nothing more than to keep discussing the same points over and over. I finally learned to let him decompress, despite the fact that I have to practically hold my words in my mouth. Usually by the time he’s done cooling down, we’re both ready to come to an agreement. It’s important to understand the way your partner handles a problem in the relationship. No matter how badly you want to talk, if he isn’t ready, you shouldn’t make him. And vice versa.
A fair fight is also when you actually put your feelings and thoughts into words, even though it would be so much easier to scream, “I DON’T KNOW!” because you’re angry and feeling a lot of different emotions. But the only way to fix the issue is to actually verbalize your thoughts to your partner. A fair fight is when you talk about the current problem, not this issue AND an issue from last week that you never actually brought up.
The last part of a fair fight is avoiding what I call the “loaded gun” element, and that’s when you threaten the other person with a break-up or other things you don’t actually mean. Such as calling your ex for a reconciliation. Seriously, that is not a good idea. I call it a “loaded gun” because empty threats should be treated like a loaded gun. Don’t wave them around unless you’re going to use them. Someone could accidentally get hurt.
Threatening to end the relationship may feel like a good way to show your boyfriend that you are, in fact, serious about what you’re fighting about. It’s not. Threatening to break up with someone when you don’t mean it is a good way to A.) Actually end the relationship, B.) Really hurt someone, or C.) Become the girl who cried “break up.” None of those things are pleasant. Express your anger all you want, but don’t make statements you will regret. In the heat of the moment, you may think you want to end the relationship. But how are you going to feel two days from now once you’ve cooled off?
How do you handle fighting with your significant other? Any other techniques that I haven’t thought of? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 and find me at Life with Lauren.
Photo found on http://bitznpieces.tumblr.com/