Things You Learn About Fighting In Long-Term Relationships
I hate fighting with my boyfriend. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does (maybe we fight, say, once a yearly quarter) I feel sick for days. We are so close now that he does feel like a part of me so when I’m at odds with him it’s as if I’m at odd with myself. I really can’t sleep or focus on anything until things are right again. Even though, all I ever want to do is make him feel loved and supported, sometimes I mess up, and do things that don’t make him feel that way. And sometimes, he messes up, too. But since at our cores we just want the other to be happy all of the time, any time our words or actions contribute to the other person being unhappy, we feel nauseous. I have learned a lot at this point about fighting in a long-term relationship—specifically about how to get through it quickly and not make things worse.
Don’t trust a booze brain
If a disagreement comes up when we’ve both had some cocktails, we just must change the subject. If we don’t have the willpower to change the subject, then we just have to separate—me in one room, him in the other, watching movies on our respective laptops for the rest of the night. We cannot let our booze brains cause us to say things we regret.
Don’t use his mistakes as amo
When I mess up, I feel ashamed. When my partner points it out, I feel cornered. I used to lash out and, when I felt bad about what I’d done, I’d just start listing bad things he’d done in the past, too. But…that doesn’t fix what’s happening now. It’s just petty, and adds fuel to the fire of this fight.
Don’t use your good will as amo
Another way I’d lash out would be to start listing all of the nice things I’ve done for my partner—as if that somehow excuses me from the bad thing I just did. But, that isn’t fair. When we say that, then we make our partners not trust the good deeds we do for them. Those should be done out of love, and not to be used as a get out of jail free card when we mess up.
Just stay on topic
It’s generally best to just stick to the topic at hand. We don’t need to bring in past fights or take this opportunity to bring up five other things that have been bothering us. It just gets messy and worse.
Sometimes, you just have to wait
This may be the hardest part of fighting: the waiting. Sometimes, after everyone has said everything they need to say and a solution has been arrived at, you still just have to wait until things feel good again. You know what I mean—when you feel playful and affectionate and truly free of that fight. It can take days to feel normal again.
Don’t get mad about the waiting
Simply waiting while that fight still lingers in the air—when you aren’t quite back to being totally loving again—can cause another fight. You start accusing each other of “Still acting weird.” Don’t do that. It just takes a while for conflict to fully leave the atmosphere. That’s nobody’s fault.
When you are in the middle of a fight—in the heat of the moment—don’t leave. Don’t barge out the door. Don’t go stay at a friend’s house. Somehow, it feels like you’re making some point, but you’re actually doing something very immature and selfish. Things will get much worse if you leave.
Vent to your girlfriends
Vent to your girlfriends. You probably want to have the same argument over and over again with your partner. You have things you want to say that you shouldn’t say to him. This is what your friends are for.
Don’t vent to your mom
It’s probably best not to vent to your mother (well, or your father). Your parents will worry about you if you complain to them about your relationship. They’re protective of you. It’s hard for them to like a man if they hear about him fighting with you.
You may have different fighting styles
You may just have different fighting styles, and sometimes that’s difficult. Then, you not only fight about the issue at hand, but also how one another deal with it.
If he’s the thinking type, it’s hard
If he’s the thinking type who just needs a couple of days to cool down before he can respond to the matter, that can be hard. That can be so trying. You just have to wait around until he’s ready to talk. Ugh. It’s especially hard if you’re the lets handle this right now type.
Don’t speak out of anger
When you feel your rage flaring up, just don’t speak. Take a moment to cool down. Go for a walk (don’t leave—we covered that) just around the block and say you’ll be right back. When you speak out of anger, you say things you cannot take back.
Good couples always bounce back
Know that if you’re a solid couple, you’ll bounce back. You know you will. You’ve had fights that felt they’d never resolve themselves, and they did. You were happy and loving again. So you will be again.
Though in the moment, it feels you never will
I know: in the moment, it feels like you’ll never get along again. You don’t know how you’ll ever get back to the place of feeling that love and joy flows freely between you two. But it will.