The new year is only a couple of days old and you already had your first heated argument or fight with your partner. You started this year with all your good intentions and maybe you even had some New Year’s resolution in place. (Read my blog on NY Resolutions)
And now you are frustrated, angry and very sad about the fact that it happened again. You can’t even remember what it was or what triggered the argument. Now everyone just sits in their own corner fuming and you are wondering what to do next.
There are actually two trains of thought running through your head right now. Firstly, you don’t want to fight, you don’t want to argue and you don’t want this deafening silence in the aftermath. Yet at the same time, you are angry with your partner and yourself because you both have now spoilt the new year.
It’s like a big black ink mark on the first page of a new note book. We all think the new year is sacred and clean and fresh and any fight will stain it forever. You are not alone.
Remember, sooner or later this whole year will have some dents, some stains and some marks. That is part of life and it is good that it is that way. Just think back for a moment of the 365 days of 2018. How much has happened? How many obstacles did you overcome? How many new experiences have you had? And not all of those memories are happy ones. It’s like playing a game, there is always a bit of loss and there are always some tears along the way. That is life.
In other words, don’t beat yourself up about the fact that your first argument or fight came within the first ten days and not after three months – as you were hoping.
You need to move on. You need to get out of the cycle and break the silence.
The better question is, how could you break out of an impending fight or argument? How could you stop it from escalating?
Let’s stop for a moment and try to analyse what it was you were fighting about.
Was it a topic you are fighting over all the time?
Be observant, what was it that brought it to the boiling stage?
- Was it a word?
- A gesture?
- A phrase?
- A facial expression?
With most couples I talking with, there is a pattern in these arguments/fights.
When you think about your relationship, what is the pattern you follow when you are get into an argument?
This is not an easy question to answer. And often times my clients respond by pointing the finger at their partner. “I am not doing anything, it is the other person who’s losing it.”
Is that really the case? Remember when you are pointing your index finger at someone, there are always three fingers left pointing at yourself. So please be honest and observe yourself. What is your contribution to the fighting?
What you can do?
It all depends on your answer to the question above – What is your contribution to the fighting?
Once you have realised what it is that you do to make the argument worse, you can avoid it.
Although be warned, this is the hardest part.
Firstly, it is not easy to observe your behaviour and critically assess the situation. But it is much harder to break the cycle. As I said before, you most likely have a pattern of behaviour in your relationship. And it is really hard to break that pattern.
Here are some tips:
- You could say as calm as possible “I have a different opinion to this, but let’s talk about this please at another time, when we are both more relaxed.”
- You could say “You have said this before, let’s not get into the same argument again please.”
- You could smile at your partner and say “I love you.”
- You could acknowledge what you partner is saying by looking into their eyes and nodding whilst they are letting off steam and just not responding. This is not stone-walling. You are not folding your arms in defence. You are listening, just not responding. All you might say is “I don’t want to talk about this right now.”
Hopefully these tips can help you to stay calm and not fall into your old habit of fighting.
Remember you are neither showing weakness nor are you conceding to their arguments. On the contrary, you are holding your ground, unaggressive and calm.
Then the next step is to bring the topic back up at a later moment, when you are both calm and relaxed. And you could start by saying “Let’s now talk about this argument we had the other day. I still want to discuss this with you, now that we both are calmer.”
And at this stage, you need to listen empathically to your partner to hear and understand their train of thought. Listening is one of the major skills that you need in a loving, intimate and respectful relationship.
How I could help
Breaking through a pattern in your relationship is one of the hardest things to do. At the same time, it can be one of the most rewarding things to do.
I have a great coaching package to offer to you where you learn at your own pace in the privacy of your own place. If you want to find out whether this coaching is right for you, please book a free 15-minute call with me. Looking forward to hearing from you.