Sometimes even the very strongest of relationships can be tested and in these uncertain times, clashes and conflict is even more likely with many of us facing more financial and health worries than ever before. So if you do argue, how can you move past that in a way that’s healthy?
The mindfulness movement has drawn a lot of attention over the last few years gaining many advocates and others who think it’s all a load of nonsense. Whatever your take though, being more in-tune with your emotions (being aware of your emotions in the here and now is really all mindfulness is about) will help you to stay on a more even keel.
Greater emotional awareness will help to ensure that when you’re talking with your partner, you’re not responding with a knee-jerk reaction and instead you’ll find that you’re able to provide a more measured response, making your communications far more effective.
All couples however close will have disagreements and may argue from time to time, but a healthy relationship should always include a good dose of respect and compassion.
Being intimate and close to someone doesn’t give you the right to be vicious or spiteful, and once you get into a negative pattern of behaviour this can quickly become the norm, eroding the very foundation of your relationship.
1. Realise that It’s OK to have different opinions
Arguments can arise over the daftest of things, often boiling down to one partner doing things differently or having different beliefs. Recognise that you both have valuable strengths that you can bring to the relationship and that you can indeed learn from each other.
Healthy debate is good, but it shouldn’t lead to a full-on argument every time. Sometimes accepting the differences you have is necessary, so rather than continually attempting to force your views or way of doing things on your partner, just accept that they approach things in a different way and move on.
2. Be kind to each other
When you’ve been in a close relationship for many years, you know each other inside out. This makes it incredibly easy to get under the other’s skin or to purposely behave in a way that you know will upset or hurt them.
Before lashing out, take a step back mentally and remember that this is someone who you care for deeply and have chosen to be with. At this point in time you might feel anger or frustration with them, but lashing out in order to hurt them is neither a nice thing to do, nor is it productive.
When you have a difference of opinion or an argument, make sure you talk about it as soon as you can afterwards. An apology, admitting you were wrong or a hug can have a hugely positive effect.
3. Don’t sulk
Emotional manipulation isn’t nice and asking someone if they are OK and them saying that they are when they are behaving in a way that suggests they are not, is confusing and frustrating.
Sulking is downright immature, so by all means, physically distance yourself after an argument; go out for a walk, or walk into a different room to calm down, but don’t do the whole passive-aggressive thing and say you’re OK when it’s obvious that you aren’t!
Strong relationships thrive on open and honest communication and whilst sometimes if you’re hurt or angry it can be hard to communicate that, be honest!
Tell your partner you need a moment to yourself or that you’re going for a walk to clear your head, but don’t leave them having to second guess how you’re really feeling. Likewise, don’t expect them to know how you’re feeling unless you’ve explained it to them!
4. Think about the language you use
If you’re having problems in a relationship or have had a disagreement, the language you use can have a dramatic impact on how the situation resolves itself. Using words that make your partner feel attacked can result in them becoming defensive and less open to hearing your side.
Try to frame things as “we have a problem” instead of “you have a problem” and you’ll find this gentler approach which doesn’t point the finger, is much more effective when it comes to reaching an agreement or simply moving forward.
5. Don’t dwell on the past
Don’t let bad experiences or your insecurities ruin a relationship. If someone has low self-esteem and needs a lot of validation for example, it can be hard to admit it, but low self-esteem can have a big impact on behaviour, making people clingy, paranoid or in constant need of reassurance.
Of course, what we’ve experienced in the past shapes us in some way and makes us who we are, but don’t let negatives from your past shape or damage your future relationships.
Free advice during UK lockdown
We are open and available to help individuals facing relationship issues at this difficult time, so if you or someone that you know requires our support and advice free of charge during this “lockdown period” then please get in touch with us to arrange a free telephone or videoconference call today.