It’s completely normal—and healthy—for couples to argue. You’re two separate people, and you’re going to have different opinions sometimes. But what you might not realize is that how you act post-spat can be as important to your relationship as what you say in the heat of the moment. This is a critical time for you and your future. I can tell you that having a fight — a big one — can be the very best thing that can happen for the two of you.
Is your head spinning after a terrible fight? Here’s how to get your relationship back on track…
Don’t Drag It Out
When the dust has settled after a fight, your emotions might still be running high. You may be tempted to throw in some last minute passive-aggressive jabs. Maybe you want to make your point. Maybe you just want to get back at the other person. Either way, these jabs, as small as they may be, only prolong the nastiness.
It’s easy to disguise these remarks as jokes, too. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a sense of humor about things, but you’re probably both a little sensitive after an argument. Your partner might take a joke the wrong way.
Give Them Space
Give them space, but also take some space yourself. After things get ugly, you might need some time alone to reflect, recover, or heal. You might need to not be around your partner while the bulk of your negative feelings pass, and that’s okay.
Of course, if you need space, at least reassure your partner that you love them and things will be okay. A little emotional support can go a long way, even if you need to go cool off.
Communication really is key in any relationship. To get back on track with your partner, it’s important to understand and communicate how you feel about the situation. Even if you don’t know how you feel, or you feel like you need time alone, you should let the other person know where you stand.
Go out of your way to be open with him, no matter how hard it may seem as first. If you do not know what your partner expects of you and he doesn’t know what you expect of him, you are both setting yourself up for a lot of misunderstandings and a potentially big disaster.
If you’re having a more detailed conversation to reflect on the fight, keep a couple of things in mind to keep from opening up recent wounds:
Don’t lash back.
Couples often know what to say to each other to trigger the other person. Resist making these statements or taking the bait. Stay being who you want to be regardless of how your partner is acting. You can take responsibility for your own behavior and not hand over your personal power to your mate, i.e. “she/he made me act like that.” When you do this, you can feel good about yourself, because you did not end up saying a lot of hurtful things to your partner, which may have caused lasting damage to the relationship. Remember, if your ultimate goal is to be close to your partner, then being “right” and “winning the argument” is not a success.
Show a little love and caring by sharing sweet words and actions. Relationships often experience hostility and resentment when one or both parties feel unappreciated or unloved… Whether it is engaging in small acts of affection (such as giving your boyfriend a pat on the back as you walk out the house in the morning) or sending him a “just because I care” text message when he’s at work, the little things can go a long way. This may not work as well if you’re still really steamed. But it’s a good start if you’re feeling stuck. A little kindness could serve as a reminder that you care about each other, and you care about the relationship. You don’t have to pretend like nothing happened; it’s just a little nudge in the right direction.