You had a fight. Now what?
It is completely normal for a couple to argue. People are different and often have different opinions. But what you may not realize is that the way you act after a conflict can be as important to your relationship as what you do and say in the most tense moments.
Whether we are talking about a small quarrel or a conflict that has developed and reached an implosion, fights can be a huge source of stress, even after you have verbalized what is bothering you. No matter how good you feel about being completely honest and after pouring out every thought you have, the things you say can permanently affect your relationship.
Here’s what you should try the next time during a conflict with your partner.
1. 4-4-8 Technique. Just breathe
Quarrels can lead to an imbalance in the body, directly increasing the pulse and giving you an increased state of nervousness. If you cannot control this condition, then it is unlikely that you will be able to resolve conflicts or other issues. To relax, forget a second about arguing and focus your energy elsewhere.
The most effective way is to focus on your breathing. Apply the 4-4-8 technique. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for another 4, then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this technique 3-4 times and you will notice how your pulse will return to normal.
2. Focus on your feelings
Inevitably, any quarrel will come with intense feelings. Try ignoring the increased nervousness and focus on what you feel, by answering these questions: How did you feel during the conflict? How do you feel after? Upset or offended? Disappointment or insecurity? Allow yourself to feel, become aware of those emotions and accept them.
3. Pay attention to any trigger words
Every conflict requires at least two people. Once you have calmed down and realized how you feel, it is now important to see how your partner feels, as well. Numerous reproaches triggered by anger can deeply hurt someone, even if that was not the original intention. Remember in the future what words or phrases you have used that were extremely annoying to the person next to you and try to avoid them next time.
4. Express how you feel
At the same time, express verbally what bothered you during or after the conflict. This is a two-way street. By telling your partner how you feel, you can have a constructive conversation about what happened and how you can avoid it in the future. However, it is important to maintain this dialogue, where both of you actively listen to the other and keep away from monologues. Quarrels are part of any relationship but it is crucial to know how to not let them affect your life.
5. Accept your role in the conflict
Once both of you have expressed your views and seen how the other person feels, it is important to understand the role you have had during the fight and apologize for either for the insulting words you might have said or your inappropriate attitude. Don’t try to fix what you think is “broken” because now is not the time. Your apology should represent the fact that you paid attention to another point of view, and accepted it. The apologies received to represent the fact that your point of view was also seen and accepted.
6. Plan ahead
Communication is essential. Beneath many of these conflicts lie deeper meanings. Most of the fights in a couple focus on the content of what happened, not on the feelings encountered. Also, many quarrels remain in this continuous cycle of “who is right and who is wrong.” The healthiest thing you can do is talk to your partner beforehand so that you can avoid conflicts in the first place. Tell your partner when something bothers you and don’t let things pile up and implode.
How do you get over an argument, and, more importantly, what do you do to avoid one?