Whether you want to save your relationship or improve it, you need to learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. Men and women are two totally opposite creatures, wired in completely different ways—yet we’re expected to communicate. With each other.
Men have a direct communication highway, while women like to take the back roads. It doesn’t make either path the better one, it just makes it insanely difficult for the two to meet up and see eye-to-eye.
As women, we are powerful. We have the ability to set the tone of our relationships (given it’s a normal one and you aren’t dating a sociopath. But have you ever noticed that when you’re in a really good mood, your man is too? Have you noticed that when you pull away he chases after you or when you decide to chase him, he runs?).
Yes, my dear, you have the ability to set the tone in your relationship. If the arguing and fighting is getting in the way, you can save your relationship by starting to do the work, because once you do, you’ll notice some positive changes.
Start Getting Self-Aware
1. Know Your Issues
This is where you have to be really honest with yourself. What are your issues? Are you untrusting or spiteful? Do you seek attention elsewhere? Are you clingy?
We all have issues, whether they come from a past pain or are simply a part of us. Being aware of them is important. For example, I’m aware that in arguments I tend to get sarcastic. I know it can be absolutely maddening to the other person, because I come off like a complete asshole.
When I catch myself starting to say “neato,” I know that I need to rein it in and stop before I become a completely cold, sarcastic bitch.
Relationship Saver: It may take a while to figure out exactly what your part is in an argument. When you feel yourself starting to go there, acknowledge the issue and stop. It’s simply a crutch you lean on, and all it’s doing is getting in the way.
2. Be Direct
Unless being upset with your man is a direct reaction to something he just did, chances are he has no clue why you’re mad at him.
Huffing and puffing and storming around will not trigger it for him. Neither will giving him hints, shaming him, or telling him “You know why.” He doesn’t know why, but he wants to. So why not save yourself a day of being pissy and just tell him?
Relationship Saver: Without attacking or accusing him, try something like “Hey babe, when you did BLANK the other day, it really upset me/hurt my feelings/pissed me off.”
Then let the conversation progress. Try not to accuse him, rather come from a place of how it made you feel. You’ll get a lot further than you will with the piss parade.
3. Don’t Call Names
Yes, he might be acting like a total asshole/prick/douchebag but telling him this will only escalate the argument. Not only is name-calling disrespectful but it can also be really hurtful coming from the one you love.
Sure, you can always say sorry after, but sorry doesn’t take it back and it doesn’t make what you said okay. Name-calling opens the floodgates and makes it okay for him to call you names. There’s simply no need for that kind of disrespect to be going on in your relationship. (You’re supposed to love each other, remember?)
Relationship Saver: If you find yourself starting to call him a name, stop. Take a deep breath. Stop speaking for as long as it takes for you to calm down and not call him the name. Remind yourself that name-calling is hurtful and you don’t want to be called names, either.
4. Don’t Yell
Nothing will escalate an argument faster than yelling. You start shouting, he starts shouting, or he starts shouting so you start shouting—are either of you listening? Probably not. When the yelling begins, the listening stops and all you have is a bunch of anger flying around the room.
Relationship Saver: Keep calm. I know it’s hard, trust me, especially if he’s the one who started yelling first. You have to be strong. Set your voice at a calm, even tone. If he begins to yell, ask him calmly if he’ll please stop and that you do not wish to continue the conversation if he’s going to yell. Be okay with tabling the conversation until you’re both calm, and then try again.
5. Don’t Keep Score
Making valid points in an argument is good, but it’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s about finding common ground and seeing eye-to-eye so you can come out of the argument stronger.
“You’re twisting my words!”
Ever hear that one before, or deliver it? Yeah, well, who the hell else is in the room to look bad in front of? (Hopefully nobody, unless you’re one of those couples that has regular public fights.) So if you came back with a completely different take on what they said and they use that line—ask for clarification. If you catch yourself starting to say something like that, clarify what you meant by saying it.
Relationship Saver: Don’t point fingers. Even if he did something that upset you, it doesn’t mean he’s “wrong.” It means you’re upset. Explain where you’re coming from and actually listen to what he’s saying before you go on to make your next point.
6. Know When to Walk Away
It’s very rare to catch a guy openly expressing his feelings without having to drag it out of him. Most guys just don’t want to talk about stuff. There’s a difference between being pushy and just trying to have a freaking conversation. Sometimes they’re viewed as one and the same, which can make it difficult to break that common ground.
Arguments can escalate to a point where they’re no longer productive. Yelling, going over the same points over and over, and talking for hours without resolve are all pretty strong indicators of an unproductive conversation.
Relationship Saver: If you feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall and your man is locked up tighter than your boss’s panties, or if the argument has reached a point where it’s going in circles or nowhere at all—it’s time to take a step back.
Don’t get dramatic and storm off. Take a breath and calmly state that you’d like to table the conversation. Then stop talking. Sleep on it, go for a walk, take a hot bath, take some time for yourself to regroup, and then come back later with a fresh approach.
7. Know When You’re Wrong and to Say Sorry
This doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation. You know that point in a fight or argument where you think to yourself, “I wish this would stop” or “Ugh, I shouldn’t have said that”?
Stop. Admit you’re wrong. Say you’re sorry.
If people could just do this simple (yet difficult) thing—so much pain and heartache could be saved. Drop your pride, girl. Fighting isn’t fun, and if you can end it sooner rather than later, do it.
8. Know That You’re a Team
Same with placing the blame of who’s right or wrong, if one of you “wins” the argument—you both lose. No one should walk away feeling shit on, but that doesn’t mean everyone will always walk away happy with the resolve either.
Ask yourself: What are we fighting for?
Ugly, nasty fights are for petty, immature couples. Being hurtful to your partner is like tackling your own teammate. You shouldn’t be battling against each other, but battling the communication gap that lies between you.
Having self-awareness can make all the difference between you and your partner being a solid couple, or that couple.
Are you self-aware in arguments with your significant other? What are other ways do you communicate effectively with your partner?
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