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Do You Fight Like Other Couples?
Have you ever wondered if the way you fight with your significant other is “normal”? Relationships are as varied as the people in them. No couple is exactly like another and for that reason it’s often problematic to compare yourselves to the people around you. Many people learn how to resolve conflicts by observing how their parents or other adults in role model positions handled them. If you grew up in a home where conflicts weren’t handled in a constructive manner or weren’t handled at all, it can be tricky trying to figure it out on your own.
Many couples who are otherwise highly compatible end up giving up on their relationships because they can’t figure out how to stop fighting. Constant bickering leads to bitterness and resentment. Other couples constantly argue without ever realizing there’s anything wrong with it. They simply believe heated arguments and the silent treatment are just part of being in a partnership.
On the other hand, couples who practice healthy conflict resolution can build loving and supportive relationships that stand the test of time. So where does your relationship fall on the spectrum of conflict resolution?
The truth is, when something triggers the anger response, it activates the fight or flight response. This biological reaction causes the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline, which speed up your heart rate giving you a burst of energy. While this is a normal biological reaction to a perceived threat, it’s how you handle it that makes the difference.
You may feel so frustrated and misunderstood that you raise your voice. It happens occasionally, but yelling and screaming at your partner shouldn’t be seen as a normal routine. Learning to manage your anger will lead to healthier conflict resolution. Taking a deep breath and counting to ten can go a long way.
If you have ever had a fight that lingers on for days, it may be necessary to give your partner some space every now and then or take some for yourself. Holding on to negative feelings and letting them fester for days isn’t a good idea in the long run. This usually happens when someone isn’t able to admit being wrong or isn’t able to apologize.
Being able to say you’re sorry or admit to being wrong is key to having healthy relationships. Likewise, you have to be willing to accept your partner’s apologies, as long as they are sincere. Holding grudges against people can have long lasting, damaging effects. If the conflict can be resolved, face your partner and talk instead of hiding behind anger. If the conflict is so serious that it cannot be resolved right away, be honest with your partner about your feelings. Never leave them in the dark for days to wonder what you’re thinking.
Intimacy requires you to open yourself up and be vulnerable. When your significant other does or says something that hurts you, you may feel inclined to lash out. Fighting fire with fire is an instinctive way to protect yourself. Your partner has hurt you in some way, so you attempt to get even. You may do this without even realizing it. While most people have said something in anger that they don’t mean, too many fail to consider the long term effects.
Aggressive communication doesn’t have to be part of intimate relationships. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Insults and verbal attacks meant to guilt trip a partner are unacceptable means of communication. Making fun of or teasing a partner by pointing out faults and weaknesses in an unconstructive way is also a bad idea. Verbally blaming and accusing a partner are destructive forms of communication that cause more harm than good.
There are many reasons a person might hide their true feelings from a partner. Some do it because they’re passive aggressive. They won’t directly confront their partner about an issue. Instead, they’ll find ways to indirectly let their feelings be known. Passive aggressive behavior isn’t healthy and can be highly damaging to a relationship. People also might hide their feelings from their partner out of fear or because they are up to no good.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your true feelings with your partner, consider why. You may just not be completely ready to open up. If this is the case, try to let your partner know upfront. If you are afraid to share your true feelings because you think your partner will leave you or will lose their temper, then the relationship has deeper issues.
If there are people in your partner’s family or others that are close to them that you’re not completely fond of, it’s best to keep it to yourself. You don’t have to be dishonest or hide your feelings, but no good comes from bad mouthing your significant other’s family or close friends. How would you feel if you heard your significant other insult a loved one? Odds are it would put you on the defensive. Think twice before you insult your partner’s loved one out loud. Keep it to yourself and listen to your partner without adding any of your own comments to the conversation.
In the moments you’re annoyed or upset with your partner and simply need to vent, try to vent without bad mouthing your partner to your friends. First, your friends don’t need to hear about your partner’s faults and failings. This puts the friend in a difficult spot when you make up and they have to spend time with both of you.
More importantly, it’s disrespectful to your partner and in the end it won’t make your relationship better. Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect and support. Once you lose that, you open your relationship up to hurt and dishonesty. Think before you share personal details about your significant other with others. Treat your partner as you would want to be treated.
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