You’re in the middle of a heated argument with your partner and suddenly you realize you’ve been here before. This problem has come up many times, and it always leads to the same end: tears, harsh words, and a big gap between you in bed. Like so many couples who find themselves in counseling, you and your partner have perpetual disagreements. Well, fear not, there are ways to combat this same-old-fight problem.
What Is the Fight About?
To find your solution, you first need to know what you’re even arguing about. When you’ve been constantly rehashing the same conversation, it’s easy to forget what the problem really is. By isolating the issue, naming it, and determining what your stance truly is, possible solutions become much more clear. Once you think you have a handle on what the issue is, test yourself. Is this fight really over what you think it is?. If there are other disagreements where you and your partner can resolve the issue, this problem seems unique. This argument might be specifically triggering for one or both of you. Spend some time identifying your true feelings and determining why “losing” this argument is so scary.
If you find yourself solely focused on winning, it’s time to set aside this goal and aim for something a little more realistic. The real problem is that the fight has no clear resolution, and it’s time to consider a best-case scenario. What outcome can you both accept and will this solution change how you react to the same issue if it arises again? Essentially, agreeing to disagree indicates to your partner that returning to a good place in your relationship is more important to you than being right. This is not a wave of the white flag, this is choosing each other over personal satisfaction.
Change the Way you Argue
While you’re working to resolve this argument, practice some positive conflict-resolution skills. Try to examine things from your partner’s perspective. Work to be actively listening and reflecting on what you hear. This can be difficult when you are both frustrated and angry. Consider what your partner is saying. Does any of it make sense? Might you feel the same way in their place? Be patient with each other while you work to figure this one out. Try not to get caught up in the moment and say or do hurtful things. You can’t take anything back and it only adds to the problem.
Finally, don’t let resentment win! focusing on negative feelings traps you in this same cycle and creates a barrier for conflict resolution. Fighting over and over is exhausting, and it has become second nature in this fight to view your partner as your opponent. However, resentment is the real enemy here. Your partner, like you, is probably tired of the battle and ready to make a truce. Bury the past and join with your partner to start fighting this one together.
About the Author
Lauri is an intern couples counselor at the Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Lauri works with couples and families who want to reconnect and strengthen their emotional bonds. Lauri enjoys all things you can do in the great outdoors, horseback riding, and caring for her pets: a cat and a three-legged dog.”