8 Practical Tips to Stop Fighting With Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Learning how to stop fighting with your significant other is no easy task. Unfortunately, there's no simple manual or checklist. Instead, it's something you need to spend time working on, and it requires compromise from both you and your partner.
"The science is fairly clear," says Elizabeth Sloan, LPC, a Marriage Therapist in Maryland and Virginia. "Negativity drags down a relationship and positivity builds it up. When you come home to your partner at the end of the day, you want to feel a lift, like you're expecting to feel good. If there are too many arguments, you may cringe or get defensive as soon as you walk in the door. Your relationship is in a downward spiral if you feel that way often enough. You may be so hurt by the argument that you stop bothering to reach back out, make peace, and do something nice for your partner."
Keeping that in mind, let's take a look at eight tips that will help you stop arguing and instead cherish your relationship.
1. Stop Swearing
Arguments and fights happen in all relationships. But one of the fundamental elements that aggravate arguments is the use of swear words and profanities. While you may have inadvertently called your boyfriend an a**h**e or called your girlfriend a bi**h in a fit of rage or while making fun of them, these words may very well stick with them. After a fight, your partner may very well be thinking aloud, "Wow she called me an a**h**e in front of everyone" or, "He says he loves me but he calls me a bi**h. How rude of him."
Make it a rule and stick to it – you or your partner will not use swear words when you argue.
2. Look at Old Pictures of The Two of You Together
Looking at old pictures of the both of you will ignite an emotional spark and help you remember the good times that you have spent together. It's one of the easiest stimulants that can get you to stop fighting with your significant other.
If you feel like all the two of you do is fight, put on some comfortable jammies, fix yourself a nice cup of cappuccino, play romantic music, and just lay on your bed as you flip through your precious pictures and loving memories. I promise that you'll be feeling better in no time. They will also remind you why you fell in love with them in the first place.
3. Remember the Beginning of Your Relationship
Do you remember the cute little things that you did to impress your significant other before your relationship started? Yes, we are talking about all the innocent flirting, touching of hands, the long drives, the romantic dates, and so on.
Think of the spark that was burning inside you and the urge you had to just hug your partner and stay in their arms all night long. This is the stuff that romantic movies are made off, and you will get a lot of goosebumps as your mind goes on a happy, little emotional roller coaster. Such warm and loving thoughts will help you mellow down. Who knew learning how to stop fighting would be some much fun?
4. Try and Picture Your Life Without Them
If you really want to save your relationship and end your never-ending arguments, think about the disadvantages of living your life without your partner. No longer will you have someone to hug in the middle of the night or take care of you when you're sick. You won't have anyone to share your secrets with. Who will hold you in your arms and say, "I love you?" Who will look into your eyes and smile? Who will tolerate your idiosyncrasies and quirky little habits?
These are just a few questions to ponder about. Remember that life without them can possibly be much worse than the rough patch that your relationship is going through.
5. Reflect: Do You Have a Pattern of Doing This?
Do you have a bad habit that is coming in between you and your efforts to save your relationship? It could be something as silly as being a nagging girlfriend or an overtly possessive boyfriend to something as serious as a nasty flirting habit. We all have our idiosyncrasies, and it is our right to expect our partners to tolerate them. You also need to remember that the person you are dating has their own set of flaws and is not going to be perfect all of the time.
But if one of your habits is continuously pushing the limits, maybe it is time for a little introspection. Maybe it is time you sat down with a calm head and thought about something that you may be doing, again and again, that annoys your partner. You may be winning all the arguments, but are you really right?
Don't Get Defensive Right Away
It's human nature to immediately become defensive when someone accuses us of something—I get it. But it's important to take a step back and objectively look at the situation. Did you actually do something that made your significant other angry? If so, just apologize. Their feelings are valid, and they maybe have a right to be upset. And if you feel like your words or actions were justified, try explaining why you did what you did in a calm manner. Help them understand your side while still showing that you understand that they are hurt or upset.
Try and utilize these two phrases the next time you get into an argument with your partner: "I see your point'" and "Maybe you're right about that part."
Become More Mindful
It's important to spend some time getting to know yourself and your reactions to different scenarios. Do you notice that you have a tendency to blow up when you feel like your partner is criticizing you? Do you project your own insecurities onto others? Try and take a little time out of each day to meditate or journal. It's important to figure out what makes you tick. Meditation is also a great way to ground yourself and is a reminder that feelings are only temporary.
6. If You Are in a Bad Mood, Back Off
We all have days where we're just not in the best mood. If you are having a bad day and your temper is short, step back and refrain from getting into any heated conversations with your partner. If they start a discussion that touches a tender nerve, just tell them something along the lines of, "Look, it's best if we don't talk right now. I'm not in the right frame of mind." By backing off at the right moment, you can avoid a fight that could have turned into something much bigger.
7. Take a Break
If you're in the midst of a fight, sometimes it's better to just walk away and take a breather—you don't want to say something you'll regret. Head to separate rooms and chill out with some TV or a book. That way, you can resume your discussion when you're both more level-headed.
Spend a Few Days Apart
At some point, partners who continuously argue with each other may, in fact, believe that their lives are better off without each other. If you think this may be the case with your relationship, get a taste of loneliness by spending a few days apart.
You will likely realize how much you enjoy their company and how important the relationship is to you.
Pro tip: Don't attend a party or an event where there is alcohol. Booze can make you do the wrong thing at the wrong time with the wrong company.
If you're unable to spend some time apart or believe it would do your relationship more harm than good, Sloan suggests this tip: "Declare that for a period of time, say, 48 hours, you'll talk only about news, sports, and weather. Give yourselves some breathing room and build positive energy. That energy will help you hear each other and solve the problem while also protecting your relationship from too much negativity."
8. Remember Why Your Relationship Is Worth Saving
The easiest way to be reminded of how badly you want to stop fighting with your significant other is to make a short but hard-hitting list of things that point out why you want to save your relationship. It can be a silly and mushy list, or it can be a serious list of things that hit you hard.
Next, put that list up at a place where you can see it every day. Use a piece of paper or use post-it notes—whatever will grab your attention every time you walk by. Here are a few examples.
I want to stop fighting with my boyfriend because
- I love him a lot.
- I can't afford to lose him.
- I would feel jealous and destroyed if he started dating someone else.
- Who is going to drop me off at dance class every week?
- I can't spend one day without him, let alone one week.
- We make the perfect pair.
- We've been through a lot, and I don't want all the effort that's been put in our relationship to go waste.
I want to stop fighting with my girlfriend because
- I love her and we have a great bond.
- She is beautiful and makes me laugh.
- I have never had a chemistry with anyone as good as the one that I have with her—inside and outside the bedroom.
- Who else will accept my idiosyncrasies?
- She is perfect for me, and not just because she is hot.
- Neither of us is perfect and I don't want to lose a person just because I wasn't willing to listen.
Is It Normal to Have Fights in a Relationship?
While nobody enjoys arguing with their significant other, the truth is that all couples fight. It's just part of being in a relationship. It's also true that some couples may argue more than others, but it doesn't necessarily mean that their relationship is "on the rocks."
"When you get close to someone, you are likely to get in each other's way. It's hard to mesh two different sets of preferences, needs, and styles. There's nothing wrong with being yourself, but you have to accept that your partner is different and his or her needs are just as valid as yours. That's not always easy to do," says Sloan.
On the flip side, it's important to recognize that if you seem to be having the same fight over and over, it's maybe time to take a step back and look at why this is happening. Does it come down to a difference in values or priorities? Is it something you can compromise on? You should, of course, try and work out your issues, but if you find you can't come to some sort of consensus, then it may be time to part ways.
Reasons Why You Shouldn't Argue Over Text
It can be tempting to start fighting about something via text. I mean we spend most of our lives attached to our phones, so of course, an argument is going to pop up as you're messaging back and forth. But don't do it! Trust me. It never ends well, and here's why.
- It's easy to misunderstand things. Words can get misconstrued since you aren't able to hear the person's tone of voice or see their body language. Things can escalate very quickly if you are both not understanding each other.
- It's easy to ignore the other person and let things fester. When you argue in person, you're forced to deal with the conflict and not just walk away. But via text, it's so easy to just stop responding to the other person. And the longer you let things fester, the worse off your relationship is going to be. A study from researchers at the University of California Berkeley and Northwestern University found that “the length of time each member of a couple spent being upset [when in conflict] was strongly correlated with their long-term marital happiness."
So the next time you find yourself starting to argue with your partner over text, just say, "Let's talk about this in person."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.