Arguments In Relationship: How To Handle (And Avoid) Them

Arguments In Relationship How To Handle (And Avoid) Them

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“Didn’t I tell you, but you wouldn’t listen to me!” “Stop nagging me,” “You will never give up your irritating habit, will you? “Don’t yell at me.”

These statements sound familiar, don’t they?

We argue with our parents, we argue with our children, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Then how can we not do it with our partner? In fact, arguments by a couple are said to strengthen their bond. But if they go beyond the limit, then it could even end the relationship. So, how do we handle these arguments in relationships?

MomJunction tells you why couples argue constantly, and how they can come out of it. But first, check what kind of an arguer you are.

Constant Arguments In A Relationship – Types Of Arguers

Constant arguments occur in a certain pattern and arguers have a typical style. They can fall into five broad categories:

1. Criticizer: Some are highly critical of their partners; they end up calling names or get verbally abusive.

Example:

“You are the most selfish guy I’ve ever seen.” “And you the most disgusting woman. Just shut the hell up and leave me in peace.”

How you can stop it

Stop calling names or abusing your spouse. Calm down and express your feelings without criticizing. For instance, instead of saying, “You are such a lousy guy; you never take up any responsibility”, you could say, “I am getting really drained out doing everything by myself, can we please share the responsibilities?”

2. Contempt: This can be the worst thing in an argument. Disrespecting or disregarding each other while arguing increases the frustration levels.

Example:

“You won’t even listen to me when I have something to say.”

“Good, when you know it, stay away from me.”

How you can stop it

If you want to break this cycle, listen to what your partner has to say, and request them to listen to you. A healthy argument should be in the right spirit and leave you in a good mood and not spoil your relationship. You may begin by saying, “Do you have a few minutes? I want to talk to you.”

3. Defender: When one of the partners feels attacked, they tend to defend themselves and refuse to take responsibility for the issue.

Example:

“I am the one who is taking care of kids all the time.”

“I am busy at work, and hardly have time for myself, how do you expect me to take care of them?”

How you can stop it

Before you start an argument, think about what you want from the discussion. If you want your spouse to spend more time with the kids, you can say, “Why don’t you take them out to the fun zone, they like playing with you there.”Or, “I am going out with my friends; please take care of kids in my absence.”

4. Stonewaller: Some people become so hard-shelled that they just don’t want to talk or discuss the issue in question. They choose to remain silent rather than have an argument.

Example:

“Say something for God’s sake.”

“I don’t have anything to say.”

How you can stop it

Don’t instigate your partner to talk. Keep your cool, and say, “There’s no way we can have a conversation if you withdraw and keep silent.” If you are the person who is being silent, you need to see your partner’s perspective and understand his/her feelings and then share yours.

5. Sufferer and invader: One person tries to play the victim card always, and the other person dominates by taking advantage of it.

Example:

“You are treating me like a doormat. I must have done something really bad to be suffering like this.”

“Well, you started the whole thing now deal with it.”

How you can stop it

Both the partners should compromise and be more accommodative instead of finding faults with each other.

6. Digger: This kind of arguer is always digging up the past issues and drifting away from the point of discussion.

Example:

The wife eagerly waits for her husband to come so they can go for a movie, but he turns up late. Even before the husband gets a chance to say something, the wife begins digging, “This is not the first time you did this. The last time we were to go to my cousin’s function, you came late. You didn’t take kids out to the zoo during summer holidays. You were never around when my parents came.”

How you can stop it

Break the cycle of digging into the past by simply focusing on the present. Deal with the situation on hand with a calm mind.

7. Controller: Some couples are control freaks; they dominate and control their partner in every possible way. They want to be the decision makers.

Example:

“Don’t spend without telling me”, or “Why didn’t you message me before going out?”

How you can stop it

If your partner is a controller, you can break the pattern by saying, “I appreciate if you can let me be by myself and give me my space. I would like to do things my way while keeping you informed.”

If you are controlling your partner, you need to introspect and see why you should not be giving freedom to your spouse.

Remember, there is no such thing as an ideal relationship. Arguments are common between couples, but petty matters are best ignored. However, we fail to realize the futility of petty arguments when our emotions are peaking. Let’s see why.

Why Couples Argue Over Small Things

Why Couples Argue Over Small Things

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Arguments over little things can be a wake-up call to take charge of your relationship. They could signal a bigger problem. Couples can argue about the silliest and the most absurd things such as, “Why haven’t you put the toothpaste in the brush holder”, “Why didn’t you clear the kitchen counter after your dinner”, “Do you really care how much I slog at home and office?”

Here is why this happens:

  1. High expectations: There is a huge gap between expectations and reality. The expectations are unrealistic and impractical. For instance, the wife expects her husband to pamper and be sweet with her every day. What she fails to understand is that it is not practical for him to be lovey-dovey every day given the varying moods.
  1. Low tolerance levels: You and your partner are less tolerant to each other and refuse to accept each other’s behavior. Ignore smaller issues, don’t bother if your spouse has forgotten to dry the towel or didn’t make a cup of coffee for you. They are not worth arguing.
  1. Easy to blame: When things go wrong, the easiest thing to do is to pass the buck. Perhaps, this is something most arguing couples end up doing. It’s either blaming the spouse or the circumstances. A typical argument goes like this, “I told you so, but you didn’t listen to me, see what happened, now you bear the brunt of it.”
  1. Unshared responsibilities: “Why is it that I am doing all the work all the time? Why can’t you share the responsibilities? Why can’t you take the dog for a walk? Why can’t you drop the kids at the bus bay?” When responsibilities are not shared it results in arguments.
  1. Making a big deal out of nothing: When you or your partner is weighed down by responsibilities at work, then you might get irritated even with trivial things, such as toys strewn on the floor, food not being tasty or bed not done, which were overlooked earlier.

These little arguments have to be nipped in the bud before they become grave.

How To Handle Arguments In A Relationship

Irrespective of whether an argument is silly or serious, here is how you can deal with it:

  1. Analyze the reason for the argument: It is easy to get carried away. But take a pause and think about why you are arguing. What has provoked you? Think about the alternative solutions and discuss them with your partner with a calm mind.It is worthwhile to understand the issue at hand. Don’t get emotional while analyzing the situation, but consider all angles to get to the crux of the issue.
  1. Understand your spouse: Couples often tend to get obsessed with their own needs in a relationship. Shift your focus to your spouse, see what she/ he likes, how she/ he responds and behaves. Buy her/ him gifts, appreciate her/ him more often, and do things that she/ he likes. They are necessary for a good relationship.
  1. Talking it over: Talk in a calm and composed state of mind. Choose the right time to talk. Don’t talk just before you leave to work or in front of kids. Once both of you have calmed down, take time out to sort out the issue at hand.
  1. Start the discussion on a courteous note: Don’t start off by being rude or criticizing your partner. You can start the discussion by saying good stuff, such as, “We were getting along so well, but then I don’t know what changed between us that we end up arguing every day.”
  1. Know when to step back: Many heated arguments can be avoided if you know when to take a step back in a conversation. Tell your spouse that you need time to think about the issue. This will help you come up with a solution.
  1. Never use abusive language: No matter how bad things are, do not use abusive language. Do not use foul words as it will only aggravate the situation. Also, use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ statements. For instance, “I feel ignored when you don’t listen to me” instead of “You always ignore or neglect me.” Having open conversations are more productive.
  1. Be clear about what you want from your spouse: If you are frustrated with each other, don’t let that slide. When frustrations pile up they can lead to major trouble. Let your partner know that you are unhappy and tell them that you would appreciate if they can change their ways.

The key is to stop finding faults. Identify what is working and what is not in your relationship. But you can analyze this only if you take a break from your arguments.

How To Avoid Arguments In A Relationship

Arguments are inevitable. But you can restrict them to big issues, and avoid arguing over trivial things. Here are some tips for you to escape arguments with your partner:

  1. Communicate effectively: Poor communication can make your partner imagine and interpret things the way they like. Don’t give that scope to them. Communicate your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Be calm and lucid because there is no need to yell, shout or scream. Also, be an active listener to your partner. That can help you solve your problem faster.

Remember, texting is a poor form of communication. When you want to put forth your thoughts do it face-to-face.

  1. Take responsibility: The one advice we have been getting since ages is to take responsibility for the things that have gone wrong. It takes two to argue irrespective of who started it. It’s easy to blame your partner but why did you let yourself pulled into it? If you have hurt your spouse, apologize to them and ask how you could make the situation better. Your spouse will appreciate that.
  1. Address the little things: Take care of the little things before they become a mammoth. For example, when my husband leaves his car keys on the table and shoes at the door, I tell him, “Please hang the keys on the holder and put your shoes in the closet.” This ends the matter then and there, without snowballing into an ugly fight.
  1. Step back when you are in a bad mood: All of us have our share of bad days and bad moods. But don’t let your mood overtake you. Refrain yourself from arguing when you are in a bad mood because you tell things which you don’t mean and it will only worsen the situation. Just take a deep breath and step back. Don’t get agitated, stay calm and composed, and talk objectively.
  1. Discuss instead of arguing: Putting forth your opinion or disagreeing on your partner’s perspective is fine as long as you don’t get down to a quarrel or abuse. Have a healthy discussion and disagree amicably.

Clinical psychologist and marriage expert Susan Heitler says, “My own belief is that emotionally mature and skillful couples don’t fight at all. When they are mad, they pause to calm down. They then deal with the sensitive issue via quiet, cooperative talking.”

  1. Introspect and get to the root of the problem: Take a pause and reflect on going to the root of the problem. Personality mismatch can be one of the major reasons for relationship problems.

Think about what you have been doing wrong repeatedly in your relationship. It could be a bad habit such as nagging, hen-pecking, or criticizing. Don’t push it so far that it breaks your relationship beyond repair.

  1. Relive the past moments: Don’t let your happy times be in your memories alone. Relive those moments by looking at the pictures, going to the places where you have dated, and reconnecting with your common friends.
Relive the past moments

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    1. Think about solving the problem: Don’t just discuss, think about a solution that can resolve the conflict. Every problem has a solution; you just need to focus on finding one. Get clarity on the problem and see how you can resolve it.
  1. Stay separately for a few days: As someone rightly said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Staying away from each other might actually make you want each other and love each other more than ever. So take a break and spend some quiet time alone.
  1. Magic of loving touch: When was the last time you had a good hug with your partner? If you are having a hard time remembering, it’s time to re-establish the bond through ‘touch’. A loving touch or a good hug can help you reconnect with your spouse physically and emotionally.
  1. List out the reasons why you want to stop arguing: None of us wants to be in a bad relationship. Hence, if you want to save your relationship you need to work on it. The first step in that direction is to ask yourself, what is it that you want from your relationship and list out the reasons why you want to stop arguing with your partner.

There is nothing better than turning an argument into a positive discussion. In fact, such arguments can make your relationship healthy.

Is Arguing Healthy In A Relationship?

Relationship experts claim that fighting per se is not detrimental to your relationship. It’s not about how often one fights but rather how one fights. Arguing can be healthy in the following ways:

  1. It strengthens the relationship by increasing trust. Arguing is good if you don’t resort to criticism, calling names, or breaking boundaries. Create an atmosphere where both you and your partner have the freedom to express yourselves without feeling threatened about the outcome. This increases intimacy and trust between you.
  1. You will feel lighter and better by venting out your emotions. Healthy arguments will help you speak your mind, which in turn will give you relief from your frustrations. Holding on to your emotions not only leads to a spat but also manifests in health issues.
  1. Your partner will know your thoughts, feelings, and opinions only when you express yourself. However, be firm and straight when you are talking about them. And the best thing to do after a fight/ argument is to make it up with sex. It strengthens your intimacy.
  1. Allows you to be yourself. Arguments are a means to let your partner know what you like, don’t like, your boundaries, and your weaknesses. You also get to know the same about your partner. It means that you aren’t intimidated by your partner and you have a better understanding of each other.
  1. You will realize that it’s not possible to be perfect. As you wade through your relationship, you will come to terms with the fact that we are all humans with imperfections. When arguments are handled effectively, it gives you an opportunity to appreciate the fact that your partner is not perfect, and it is absolutely perfect to be imperfect.
  1. When you don’t fight or argue, it means your relationship is stagnant. When you argue, get over it and love each other again, it proves that your relationship has the strength to survive the hardest of times.

When you are in a relationship you need to work towards a common goal while also nurturing your individual goals. It requires both of you to make compromises so that you are in love with each other.

Remember great relationships take time and effort to make, there’s no magic potion except perseverance. As someone rightly said, “The purpose of a relationship is not to find the right partner but to be the right partner.” When you take care of that everything else falls in place.

Do you have anything to share about relationship arguments? Let us know by commenting below.

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