- Gender and Relationships
How Not to Fight
Every good relationship will involve fights. It is an inevitable part of being together. Although some couples will fight more than others, all couples could benefit from knowing how to constructively deal with arguments. Since arguing is never pleasant, it is difficult to describe a good way to argue. Rather, it is probably more effective to describe the worst ways to fight, and to try to stay away from those when you are arguing with your significant other.
Keep Your Volume Down
Try to keep your voice at its normal volume (or if you are an overly loud person in general, it cannot hurt to try to keep your voice a bit lower than normal). Even if you are not trying to yell at your significant other per se, raising your voice gives off an air of anger, and can only escalate your argument. Often, people who are arguing do not even realize that they have begun to raise their voice. Therefore, this is something to be aware of while you are arguing. If you have a tendency to raise your voice when things get heated, be sure to actively try to prevent this while you are arguing.
Use "I" Statements
You have probably heard this a million times. It is one of the first conflict resolution steps you will hear just about anywhere. However, very few people remember to follow it in the heat of the moment. Above all, the point of this is to not play the blame game. If you do, your significant other will go on the defensive and probably begin blaming you. Then you will most likely be on the defensive as well. With you both guarding against what you may have done wrong, rather than trying to fix it, very little can be accomplished. You will both be better served if you tell your significant other how what you felt when they did something. The wording "I was hurt by your words" can evoke a different reaction than "Your hurt me." This displaces a bit of the blame, and makes the other party a bit less defensive.
Be Careful What You Say
Despite the above advice, some fights will turn volatile. When you are both angry and hurt and yelling, still be careful what you say. Some things cannot be taken back, and some things are incredibly hurtful. Try not to say things in the heat of the moment that you would not say at any other time. One stray comment can cause a whole lot of damage if it strikes the right chords, and you do not want to destroy a relationship because you did not keep your temper under control, or because you were trying to hurt someone because they hurt you. An ex of mine used to lash out with this "you hurt me, so I should hurt you back" mentality. He said some things that really damaged our relationship as a whole. I would always wonder during the good times whether these hateful comments were the way he actually felt. It made me wonder if the love he showed when we weren't fighting was all a facade.
Remember that fighting does not mean your relationship is fragile. It simply means that you do not always agree on everything. This is not only normal, but healthy. Unhealthy relationships usually come from poor argument practices, not from arguments themselves. Therefore, keep in mind the above poor argument practices, and avoid them as best as you can. This can keep you and your partner in a healthy and more stable relationship.