How to Fight with Your SO & Keep It Healthy

Being in a relationship is like a walk in the park, a cool breeze on a summer day, a garden of roses--or is it? For many people my age, relationships can be a real struggle, and fighting can happen more often than it should. A lot of people I know are just getting into their first serious relationship, and they probably don’t know how to handle their first fight. Everyone has different ways of handling arguments, some healthy and some not. In my humble opinion, I feel that I can handle arguments with my SO quite well, and I try to give advice to any friends that may be struggling in their relationships. Here is a quick list of what I think are the most important things to do/remember when you fight with the person you’re in a relationship with. Every fight is different, everyone deals with fights differently, and every relationship is different! In my experience, this is what has worked for me and my friends.

Don’t Yell, Listen

Empathy is one of, if not the most, important trait to have as a partner (and a human!), as well as being a good listener. If you can’t listen to what your partner has to say or try to understand where they are coming from, you are never going to have a productive conversation. Listening to what your partner has to say will show you how they are interpreting the situation, and where they may have misinterpreted something you said or did. It will also show you where you may have gone wrong as well and will allow you to understand your partner more fully. Also, NEVER raise your voice at your partner--it never makes them more understanding, and it will only lead to more aggressive and defense conversations than healthy ones.

Sleep on it

I know that the old adage “Never Go to Bed Angry” is quite a popular thing to go by, and I agree with that to an extent. I also think, however, that there are some things a good night sleep can accomplish. If there is something that your partner said or did that bothered you, and you are on the fence as to whether you should say something to them or not, I think that sleeping on it can really show you whether the issue is big or not. If you can go to bed, wake up, and not care anymore about what they said or did, then it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. If it’s still bothering you when you wake up, you need to say something to them. I also think that arguments that start late at night can be dangerous as well. There are times when you’re both tired or crabby and one of you initiates a fight for a stupid reason. In those scenarios, I think that trying to work through an argument when you both are in a bad headspace--or if either of you are under the influence of anything that may alter your thinking patterns--can be quite damaging to a relationship; just taking time apart to sleep on it and gather your thoughts is really beneficial. When you’re tired or in the heat of the moment, you tend to say things that you don’t really mean, or things come out the wrong way because you didn’t have enough time to think them through. Sometimes giving each other space to think about what you really want to say can make an argument go much smoother.

Talk in person

This is something that I feel my generation has an issue with the most. Texting instead of talking in person is something that can make a tiny disagreement turn into a catastrophe. Texts can be difficult to decipher, and not being able to read the persons facial expressions or body language can really change how a talk goes. If you begin to argue over text, you can always ask to wait to talk about it further until you’re in person. Being able to actually talk and work through an issue with a partner while you’re face to face is a sign of a mature, healthy relationship.

Remember why you’re here

The hardest lesson for me to learn through my relationships was confrontation and learning when I should speak up for myself. I was always worried that I would say something that would make my partner say “You know what? Forget it, were done." I’m not sure if someone gave me this advice, or if I just came to it on my own, but one of the most powerful tools I was taught is that if the other person truly loves you and cares about your relationship, one argument isn’t going to drive them away. If they really care, they’re going to try to work through whatever the issue may be, and they are going to want to listen to you. Once I learned and accepted this, it made every argument or confrontation after that much easier and my relationship so much stronger.

Remember, every relationship--romantic or otherwise--is a learning experience and helps you develop into the person you’re meant to be. If it doesn’t work out, it at least helped you learn what you like and don’t like, who you are as a friend or a partner, and that everything happens for a reason ☺