Remember the last time you had a really good conversation with your partner, how wonderful and safe it felt?
Now, remember a time where the conversation turned into a conflict, where the train had left the station and there was no coming back. We’ve all been there in our relationships, and it’s not fun. In fact, when you’re in the thick of a really bad fight, it can feel like the world is ending.
There’s that moment before a fight when everything shifts. There’s that moment where you shift from calm communication to conflict. You can feel the difference in your body. Remember how it feels when you feel the shift in that moment?
But this good news is, there are other moments when you can choose to shift again. But it’s hard to do when you’re angry, hurt, and upset. The best thing to do in that moment is to get some distance so you can come back to a calmer mind and a more balanced perspective.
Here’s a quick tip for the next time you get in a fight or even feel that shift from communication to conflict.
How to Stop Fighting with Your Partner
Step One: Stop talking.
Simply stop. As in, not one more word. No more yelling, trying to make yourself heard, interrupting, nothing.
Step Two: (Politely) excuse yourself and chill out.
This is not the same thing as storming out and slamming doors, so don’t be tempted to leave in a huff. Simply let your partner know that you’re going to take some time to calm down and go somewhere else.
Get some distance from the problem and do something to calm yourself down. Stretch. Go for a walk. Make a cup of tea or have a snack. Take a nap (have you ever noticed that fights often happen at night when we’re tired? Get some rest!)
This also gives your partner a chance to take a break. When you’re both rested, calm, and more collected, you stand a much better chance of reaching a solution. Or you might realize that the conflict was a misunderstanding. Or you may realize the whole thing was silly and you were just tired or hungry. You might be able to actually have a good conversation instead of a fight, because conversations solve problems and lead to growth. Fights don’t.
In order to stop fighting, you need to STOP FIGHTING.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
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Hi there I'm Dr Sarah Rattray
For over 30 years I've helped couples get closer and more connected by strengthening your communication. I'm known for my wise, grounded, caring energy, and for providing clear, practical steps you can take right away to improve the way you talk with each other.
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Conflict is one of the hardest parts of any relationship, but the good news is that avoiding and resolving conflict is a skill, and skills can be learned! You can learn to communicate instead of fight to be heard and get your needs met. Trust me, communication works a lot better than conflict, and it’s much less painful.
Interested in more tips on mastering your relationship?
Check out my webinar, Connection and Closeness, this September 25th-28th.