Six rules to help nullify fights
Conflict itself, even if it has already happened, does not necessarily lead to a breakdown in the relationship. However, the methods used by the couple to overcome it may well lead to an undesirable ending. “Getting around resentment and learning from an argument can be tricky, no matter how long you’ve been together,” said Margaret Paul, a New York-based psychotherapist, columnist for Psychology Today and an expert on relationships and intimate life. “There is a lot to learn here, and this knowledge will only benefit your connection.”
To help prevent deadlock conflicts and make it easier for couples who get caught up in regular fights, an expert offers six tips for shedding mutual tension.
1. Take a break to reduce the quarrel.
If you are in the midst of a conflict, the best way to slow down its escalation is to head out to the corners of the ring. To put it simply, do not lead to a scream, but take a deep breath and take time out, agreeing to return to the topic when the nerves subside. With the break, you are pursuing a purely practical goal: you both need cortisol and other stress hormones to return to their previous levels, and your mind cleared for an objective presentation of information.
It is important that neither you nor he / she feel abandoned. When negotiating a break, remember that you are a team. Realize and accept the fact that no matter how resentful you are right now, you are both imperfect, and your partner will someday have a chance to feel resentment towards you.
And before you take time out, find out what that means for each of you. Perhaps your partner is expecting the phrase: “Let’s continue in 10 minutes, I need to get some air,” and you, disheveled and on edge, disappear from the house until the evening. Agree on the length of the break if you don’t want to add new colors to the conflict.
2. Find out his / her mood before returning to the dialogue
When the emotions have subsided and it is time to resume the conversation, simply ask your partner if everything is okay and how he / she is feeling. A positive answer in a calm tone is a sure sign that the situation is stable enough for further discussion of the conflict topic. If the partner reacts with anger or irritation, the prognosis is poor – offer to return to the problem after some time.
3. Explain what caused your dissatisfaction
If you initially spoke as calm civilized people or returned to the conversation, having calmed down properly, explain the essence of your claim, avoiding accusations and labels. For example, using the wording: “I understood that … / I thought that …” You do not need to say what he / she did wrong, describe how you saw it. “I understand that you are angry with me because I talked too much with my friends at the last party” or “… that we shouldn’t have got a cat because you forgot to buy him food again, although you promised.”
By presenting information in this way, you express your point of view, and do not give out an assessment of the partner’s behavior, which may be mistaken or offensive. He / she, in turn, gets a chance to understand how you see the situation without feeling the need to defend yourself, since you admit that this is your perception of what happened, but you do not claim to be exclusively correct. This will cool down the degree of conflict, relieving the partner of the need to retaliate, but at the same time it will make it possible to realize how he / she upset you, regardless of intentions.
4. Listen to your partner’s point of view
When you’re finished speaking on something other than what has thrown you off balance, ask your partner what he / she thinks about it – gently, not demanding. In a relationship, it is important not only to be able to speak out, but also to understand that you are being heard. This process should be two-way: you speak, you are listened to – you are told, you listen. Communication of this kind allows you to realize how close you are and to be convinced of the ability to solve difficulties in the dialogue on which any relationship is built.
5. Take note of your and his / her opinion
Discuss the reasons for the conflict with a desire to understand each other and use this experience. Often, behavior during an argument is based on the need to control its outcome – we shout, explain, or defend ourselves because we want the conflict to end on our terms. Or, conversely, we agree with a partner, even if he is obviously wrong, because we are afraid of losing him.
There is a big difference between obsequious indulgence, manipulation to gain the upper hand, and productive conflict resolution. Mutual understanding achieved in the process of open communication allows partners to get to know each other better, helps relationships to grow stronger and develop.
6. Avoid Rugged Carpet Syndrome
The expert explains the funny term lumpy carpet syndrome this way: “It is very important to learn to listen and discuss each other’s complaints, otherwise you will develop the habit of pushing problems under the carpet in order to forget how unimportant or to end the quarrel as soon as possible.
Conflicts are an integral part of relationships, but many couples believe that lovers should not have disagreements and diligently hide them, portraying a harmonious couple. Rough carpet syndrome is brewing due to the tension that builds up with unspoken differences of opinion. After a while, the omissions “swept under the carpet” make the space of relationships very lumpy, and you have to think about every step in order to avoid dissatisfaction with each other. “
Managing conflict in relationships seems inappropriate, as the attraction of a couple arises from feelings that are far from logic. But in order for the union to turn out strong and harmonious, you need to learn how to interact in quarrels. This means listening to the unpleasant truth that he / she may be speaking, striving to understand your role in the conflict, and trying to be objective in expressing your thoughts. It also includes apologizing if necessary, looking for ways to restore trust or change behavior. All of these skills require courage, patience and practice, which is justified in the hope of a long, happy life together.