If you’re in a relationship, then you know what it’s like to have the SAME fight over and over again. Or, maybe it’s not the same fight, but it’s the same pattern (or cycle). When you and your partner get in these patterns, it can be difficult to know how to stop and change behaviors. Think about it- how many times have you and your partner come together after an argument and come up with lists of what you will start doing or stop doing? Or, how about, how many times have you and your partner apologized for doing the same thing over and over again?
Well, if you’re ready to STOP having the same fights, you’ve found the right blog. Read below for 4 tips to STOP having the same fights!
4 Tips to Stop Having the Same Fights
1.Map Out Your Patterns
You’ve heard it before, but in order to change something that you’re doing, you need to have a strong awareness of what you’re doing. Start thinking about how your conflicts start. What is your role in it? Do you push your partner to talk even when they don’t want to? Do you withdraw or shut down due to fear of conflict which inevitably leads to conflict? Think about how conflicts start and map out what happens from there. At what point do the conflicts start to escalate? What makes it hard to stop in the moment? Having a strong sense of how your arguments go, helps you to identify the patterns and cycle of conflict that needs to be changed.
Additionally, think about what triggers your anger in conflicts. How do you know when you’re starting to get triggered? What does your mind and body tell you in those moments that indicate that to you? Having a sense of your triggers and how these map out, contribute to you and your partner’s cycle of conflict.
You can’t control what your partner chooses to say or do, but you can control YOU. Once you’ve identified what triggers you and how your triggers manifest, start finding ways to cope with these triggers. It’s not working to keep responding to triggers in the ways you have been. So, what is going to calm your triggers in the moment? Is it taking deep breaths? Is it asking for a moment to de-escalate? Is it re-focusing what you and your partner are talking about? Think of what helps you to cope in situations outside of your partner, and likely, these coping skills can be applied with your partner too- you just have to use them!
3. Avoid Threatening The Relationship
Frequently, when couples start to escalate in conflict and get angry, one or both of the partners will say/do things that they don’t really mean. Unfortunately, anger has a way of taking hold of the situation. This is why finding ways to cope is essential in order to stop having the same fights. Once you do this, avoid making any threats to the relationship. For example, if you don’t actually want to separate/divorce, don’t threaten to leave. Don’t make hurtful comments about the relationship or your partner because those aren’t productive. If you’re starting to feel inclined to do this, the argument/disagreement that even started the conflict has lost all focus.
Soften your approach to your partner in this moment to ask for a refocus. Ask yourselves what it is you’re trying to accomplish in this as a way of shifting gears.
4. Avoid Pointing The Finger
This is a hard one! During moments of conflict or disagreement, couples quickly turn to their partner to point out everything that they’re doing wrong. Well, what happens when your partner does this to you? Or really, when anyone does this to you? Likely, you defend yourself or fight back in order to protect yourself. Well, your partner does the same thing. It’s natural.
Avoid this banter by starting to accept your responsibility in the conflict. Own up to your part. When you share your perspective around something, focus only on how you feel and think. This is where the “I” statements come in. There does not need to be statements made about your partner. And, when your partner shares their feelings, actually listen so that you’re response back to them doesn’t blame them or invalidate what they had to share.
What do you think? Are you ready to STOP having the same fights? You can stop having the same fights, but the right efforts need to be put forth and consistency in these steps. Start practicing the four tips above and see how they change your pattern of conflict.
About the Author
Amanda Cummins is a marriage counselor with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She focuses on working with couples in distress as well as families and children in transitions. As a Denver Native, Amanda enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family