Girl Talk: Fighting will happen so make sure you do it with a level head
We’ve all heard the old clichés about two people falling in love and taking on one identity. The “I’s” turn into “We’s” and two become one, as the Spice Girls once said. We all know how that rarely matches reality. For a relationship to truly thrive, people need to keep their individual identities. But when you have two individuals romantically involved and building a life together, disagreements are going to be had, arguments are going to exist, and this can quickly turn into the dreaded full blown fight.
But do relationship fights have to be bad? It’s an inevitable part of all relationships. Sooner or later, you are going to find yourself in a fight with your significant other. If you know it’s going to happen, you can take steps to prepare for it and try to get through it constructively.
The biggest thing to remember is respect. In the heat of the moment, you might be seeing red when you look at your partner, but this is still a person you care about deeply. So don’t shout the first thing that comes to mind, especially if it’s an insult or personal attack. Your partner should care about you just as much, and so anything you say is going to carry more weight. If you say something nasty, it’s going to hurt that much more. When you curse out the driver who cut you off without using a turn signal, they couldn’t care less. But say the same things to your partner and it’s likely going to hurt.
Depending on the particular issue, one or both of you might be too angry to talk rationally right away. There is no shame in admitting your emotions are too high and giving each other time to cool down. This is a great time to collect yourself. A good way to stay on point is writing down your thoughts. If one or both of you have trouble focusing on the issue during a conversation, being able to reference your notes can help keep the discussion moving forward and reach a conclusion.
If you spend enough time with someone, you are going to learn what their triggers are. No matter how tempting it might be, avoid them. It might even be something harmless, but for whatever reason it just sets your partner off. Why risk extra damage over something meaningless?
No one is perfect, and fights can get ugly. If you have one, learn from it together. After all the dust has settled, revisit why certain things set one or both of you off. Make a plan for future fights so that you don’t make the same mistakes. There’s always one big incentive to working through a fight quickly and as peacefully as possible. The sooner the fight ends, the sooner you can get to the make-up sex.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.