Even the best relationships are punctuated by at least occasional blow-ups and it’s important to know what not to do after a fight.
Failing to communicate, bickering, arguing and fighting can be stressful, but they can also be opportunities to connect and grow. A healthy fight can help clear the air, learn more positive ways to communicate, and resolve differences so that you and your partner can get back on track.
What you do in the aftermath of your fights could be what ultimately makes or breaks your partnership. Here are five things to definitely avoid after a big fight with your significant other.
The silent treatment.
While wanting a little space to regroup and settle your emotions is normal after a fight, isolating, ignoring or brushing off your partner may leave him or her feeling angry, punished or more hurt.
Even if you need some breathing space, let your partner know that you are taking time to resolve your emotions but will soon be ready to talk.
Dismiss their feelings.
Making excuses for your words or actions, putting the blame on him or her or offering a flippant, “I’m sorry if you were hurt” all dismiss your partner’s feelings and can inflame the situation. Instead, let your partner know that you respect his or her feelings.
Reaching out with love and kindness can strengthen your bond and your relationship, so listen closely and try to understand where your partner is coming from before you consider the issue done.
Recount the wrongs.
Whether you were in the wrong or your partner was, throwing your partner’s words back in his or her face will only backfire. Keeping a list of wrongdoings for future use is also a no-no. These behaviors can keep you focused on the past, which can ultimately undermine the future of your relationship. However, hurtful words and actions do not just disappear, and you do not simply have to accept them.
Once you have calmed down, you may wish to approach your partner and explain what it was that bothered you. This can help you both work towards not just a resolution but also a reconciliation.
Keep poking the bear.
Some anger is normal after a fight, but letting your anger overflow, spitting out nasty asides or calling names can cause the emotions to simmer and the fight to reignite. Venting your ire in your partner’s direction can lead him or her to respond in kind.
Divert your lingering frustration into a healthier direction. Go for a run to burn off your nervous energy, or lose yourself in a good book or your favorite hobby. Once you are ready to revisit the situation, you will have a cool head and a calm attitude and be ready to work through this issue positively.
Focus on the fight.
Obsessing over the actual fight can drag you down and keep your emotions running high. It may also trigger a new fight and keep you and your relationship in a negative holding pattern.
Instead, think through the issue that triggered your fight and possible solutions. You can then re-approach the issue later when you are both in a calmer place and can really get to the bottom of the problem.
Fights can leave you feeling disconnected. Taking a proactive approach to reconnecting can keep your partnership strong and your relationship vibrant for years to come.
Marcie has been working with couples and individuals for over 8 years. Helping them start off right, strengthen and enhance their relationships and even avoid divorce. Her company, Love Your Relationship, focuses on telephone counseling.