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Relationship Talk The best way to argue with your partner

"If your partner walks away because that's how they naturally deal with frustration, let them settle. Then take them out the next day and talk about how to resolve this difference"

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Black Couple

First, it's important to remember how normal it is to argue in a relationship: you will each have different desires, character traits and ways of communicating. You will instinctively fight to assert and protect your individual positions, not because there's a major issue.

Next, don't be scared of strong feelings, especially anger. When our partner behaves in ways we feel to be wrong or unjust we tend to feel angry. The more important the issue, the more angry we are likely to feel.

Third, there is no right or wrong way to argue. But learning a few ground rules can help you to argue in healthy and non-destructive ways:

1. Stay on topic

If past misdemeanours keep being raised during an argument, they will be a road block to resolving the actual and current problems at hand. Be watchful that you'restaying focused on the current problem as you will both have urges to bring in other events to support your side.

2. Stay specific

Don't take an argument about a specific problem and turn it into a problem with 'the relationship'. Doing this won't help you to win the argument but it will inflate the size of the problem - and take you further away from reconciliation. It will also destabilise your relationship. Keep it contained to the matter at hand.

3. Don't assassinate your partner's character

Personal attack is very unhelpful in arguments as it only serves to make the other person highly defensive. Research has shown that couples who stay together do not show contempt for their partners  just their behaviour. How do you do that?

Target specific attitudes and behaviours as opposed to him or her as a person. Instead of 'You didn't consider my wishes before you booked a holiday you're really selfish.'Try 'You didn't consider my wishes before you booked a holiday you behaved in a selfish way.'

4. Finish the fight

Let's face it, arguments are uncomfortable and most of us can't have them end quickly enough. But research has shown that couples who are most likely to stay together resolve differences fully, even if it means returning to the subject at a later date or time.

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5. But let them walk away if needed

If your partner walks away because that's how they naturally deal with frustration, let them settle. Then take them out the next day and talk about how to resolve this difference.

If your partner walks away to aggravate you, then you need to tackle that as a separate issue. Just be sure to let the heat go out of this argument and talk about this behaviour separately.

6. Leave others out of it

Do not go to your friends to recruit their support. Do not reinforce your position by justifying your behaviour to them and blaming the other person. And do not gang up against your partner by using your friend's opinions to leverage your own position.

Of course if you want to ask advice from them that's fine. However, the objective of a fight is not to be right, but to resolve different positions.

7. Don't get physical

It goes without saying you should never lay hands on each other. But this also means you should leave smashing plates to Greek restaurants. To argue healthily means to refrain any attack on people or possessions.

It is our personal responsibility to deal with personal frustrations in healthy ways. Taking it out on a plate, the dog or your partner is not that! If you do attack people or possessions on a regular basis you may have an anger problem.

8. Don't fear going to bed on it

If you're so angry you can't bear to look your other half in the face, set a deadline for the end of a fight. It can be later in the day or even later in the week. As long as it ends at some point reasonably soon, it's okay to sleep on it. In fact, a good night's sleep can often ease tensions come morning, according to netdoctor.co.uk,

9. Be genuine when you apologise

If you've screwed up, you'd better own up. Take responsibility but only apologise when you really mean it. A heartfelt apology melts misery and can start the end of the fight.

10. Really try to see it from their side

Relationships are about understanding another person's emotions. You may say 'I really hear you' and you can say the words in so many ways but if you mean it it will show to the other person. And it will go a long way towards bringing you closer forever.

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