Fights are not uncommon in a relationship. No matter how much two people love each other, they are never going to feel exactly the same way about every single thing in their relationship – indeed this is not even humanly possible, unless those two are scientific clones of one another. However it is important to fight fair – that is seeking to air out differences with the purpose of resolving them and not merely to ‘win’ an argument or insult the other person. To do this, make sure you never say the following ten things during a fight.
- “Here we go again”
For best effect you would probably accompany the above sentence with a rolling of the eyes or a shaking of the head. However dismissing your partner’s concerns is a sure fire way of making him/her feel stupid and immature. If he/she has brought up a point, it is unlikely because they get a thrill out of fighting with you but because he/she feels that it is a pertinent issue which needs to be addressed for the sake of a healthy relationship. Discounting your partner’s concerns with such a phrase will not only make him/her feel worthless but discourage them of making any efforts to resolve any issues in future.
- “You always ignore me”
One of the rules of fighting fair is to avoid making absolute statements – these usually include the words ‘always’ or ‘never’ like “we never do the things I like anymore”. Such sentences are largely untruthful since surely some time or the other your partner agrees to spend an evening as you would like to. When you start making such exaggerated complaints, you come across as needy and a whiner and neither is an attractive trait in a lover.
- “You never used to be like this”
Whether or not this is true, saying something like this in the heat of an argument is of no use. Over time every individual goes through changes – personal, psychological and physical – and expecting your partner to be the same person from ten years ago is completely illogical. At the same time, your partner might argue that he/she is the same as before, it is you whose expectations have changed.
- “Why can’t you be more like so-and-so”
Never compare your partner to another man or woman – especially to a friend’s partner. You already knew your lover’s plus and minus points when you entered into a relationship and if they didn’t bother you then, don’t bring them up now – especially in comparison to another man or woman. Everybody seems perfect and desirable when seen from the outside – for all you know, your friend might be having other problems with their partner.
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- “My mother warned me about this”
Bringing another person – especially your mother – into an argument which is about your relationship is plainly unfair. If you are so devoted to your mother’s advice, then you should have listened to her in the first place and not got involved at all. More importantly such phrases will make your partner more suspicious of your family - if your partner didn’t already hate your mother before, he/she will surely start doing so now.
- “I feel like there is something you are not telling me”
This is especially irritating to guys when their partners go on and on –asking them to talk about what is bothering them. In most cases a guy may just be feeling low and want to zone out before the TV; and even if a man seems to be hiding something, needling him continuously about it will only serve to raise his hackles and escalate things to an ugly level. And who knows, if he is not ready to talk about it, his partner may not be ready to listen to or accept it either.
- “Wait – I got distracted, what did you say just now?”
The minimum courtesy you can show your partner is to give him/her your attention. Understandably you don’t want to hear the ugly things about you or your relationship expressed in plain language but letting your attention wander is merely going to be yet another reason why your partner is mad at you. If you want the issues to be resolved, it is necessary you really listen to each other and focus on what is causing the problems.
- “This is so like you”
Painting every annoying thing your partner says or does with the same brushstroke of a negative character is just not fair. Recognize that the problem is not the person but certain actions or words which make you feel unloved, rejected or disrespected. So when having an argument, focus on the exact words or acts of your partner which upset you rather than clubbing everything together under an unlikable personality type.
- “Don’t come near me tonight”/”does this mean we’re not having sex tonight”
While it is more common for women to say the former and men to say the latter, both are extreme responses to the complicated relation between sex and feelings. Women should avoid withholding sex to punish their partners while men should understand that it is difficult for their partners to become intimate if their feelings are hurt. So avoid bring up sex when you are actually arguing over other matters. If your sex life is also a source of conflict, discuss it separately rather than using it to make a point or accuse the other person.
- “That’s it – we’re through”
You may say things like these in the heat of the moment and then later apologize to your partner by saying that you never meant it. No matter how sincere your apologies, the damage is done. Even if you don’t mean to walk out, your partner will know that for a second you felt doing just that and for this reason, it will be difficult not only for him/her to trust you again but also to work at a relationship which just might come asunder on your whims. Nothing, no amount of fighting is worth saying that your relationship is over.