Relationships can be so amazing. Love is one of the best feelings in the world. You can nauseate hundreds of people in one moment with your dumb kissy Facebook photos, and you get to be with someone who has to listen to all your boring stories. What could be bad about that?
A lot of things, sometimes! Even the happiest couples in the world fight. And when you fight with your significant other, it can feel as nasty as any Bad Girls Club reunion or a Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Ish gets personal. You know each other well. You know what gets each other annoyed. And you don’t want to stop until you get what you want. But the happiest couples in the world also know how to fight. There’s a way to do it without ending up in tears, actually feeling good about it, and leaving it behind with no harsh feelings. And then you can order some pizza, have some makeup sex, and spend the next few hours arguing about what to put on Netflix! Relationships!
1. . Don't let stuff fester.
You know when you get into one of those huge fights and you start bringing up stuff from forever ago? You start out arguing about something small and then all of a sudden it’s like “well on May 12th, 2011 you didn’t even remember to ask me about my doctor’s appointment!” and “three weeks ago I asked you to do the laundry and you didn’t, you lazy slob!” The reason this happens is because you’re holding things inside. Don’t do that! If your partner does something that upsets you or irritates you, it’s not always the best thing if you keep it inside and let it fester. Let it sit for a minute. If you’re still thinking about it 24 hours later, bring it up. Let them know when you’re feeling bad. Sure, you might not do it because it makes you feel like a batty old nag, but letting it build and explode is going to lead one of those million year arguments later. That’s not a good way to argue. If you bring things up more or less as they happen, you can get into fights about ONE THING, instead of a million.
2. . Don't bring other people into it.
Don’t post weird Facebook statuses about it. Don’t call your best friend to vent while you’re still angry and things are still unresolved. Don’t text your mom every little thing your partner is saying. Other people have no place in fights (unless you fear for your safety, in which case tell someone immediately) because I know how that works. When I’m mad, I make myself look like a little angel baby to my friends and make my SO look like an evil demon man who thrives on ungratefulness. And then your friends just think your SO is a loser. And you get madder. Don’t.
3. . Leave out the nasty one-liners
Don’t say mean stuff. Don’t say, “oh you’re just like your mother.” Don’t say stuff that you can’t take back. Fights about cleaning the bathroom or moving in together or who is spending Christmas with whose family come and go, but mean words can stay forever. Think about the nastiest thing a friend or enemy or classmate or SO has ever said to you. You remember, right? I remember mean things people have said for years, and I often don’t even remember why they said that. So while you may feel like you got in an amazing ZING, that zing might cost you the respect and trust of your SO. Stay away.
4. . Try to listen.
I know you’re a perfect little princess most of the time. But when somebody who loves you is trying to tell you something about the way you treat them or the way you handle things, it couldn’t hurt to listen. It also couldn’t hurt to acknowledge your flaws sometimes, and to work to become a better person. If it comes from a good place---hear it.
5. . Be sure you hear them and they hear you.
Don’t end the conversation if you haven’t said what you need to say. They need to understand where you’re coming from, and you need to understand where they are coming from. Have your SO tell you what they think you want, and do the same for them. If they can’t at least see what you want or how you are feeling, keep talking!
6. . If you're fighting about the same things, make changes.
No relationships are perfect. But if you are fighting about the same thing over and over again, something has to change. If no change is being made, and you cannot live with the relationship the way it is, you need to evaluate if you will be happier living with them or living with the thing that bothers you. And if you can’t change, let your partner know. Nobody has to be in a relationship where they are unhappy, when relationships can be such happy, wonderful things.