Ben Weston is the writer of CreativeCourage.org. He is a circus acrobat by day and personal development writer by night. He writes about movement and creating your dream life.
My girlfriend and I have done it all- casually dated, lived together, lived across the nation, lived together again, and now live separately but close by. We’ve gone through many different stages and as a result, have had the occasional argument along the way.
What’s taken me a while to realize is that arguments do not have to be “bad” ordeals. Of course I don?t find them enjoyable, but they can be a positive overall experience if viewed as an opportunity to learn how to work with the differences you and your partner have. Handled correctly, you become closer to your loved one.
Inevitably as a relationship progresses, there will be times of misunderstanding and disagreement as the couple continues to learn how to interact with one another in increasingly more areas of their lives. It is healthy to express these concerns and new feelings as they arise. If a couple has never argued, it could mean there are bottled up emotions and incomplete understandings of the relationship. Although I am writing from the perspective of the boyfriend, these of course apply for both partners.
The moment has arrived. One of you hit a tender spot; One of you has been misunderstood; You completely disagree with how she’s reacting; She doesn’t understand why you are mad and you are getting frustrated. Both of you know that an argument is bubbling up to the surface- what do you do?
Here are a few tips I’ve learned that may help answer this question:
Try not to use the word “you”or blame the other person. Even if you are feeling that it is the other person’s fault, try beginning the sentence with “I feel…” instead. Saying it in the form of something you are feeling and perceiving makes it less accusatory and helps both people better discover where the misunderstanding may have arisen.
Related to the first one, make the effort to genuinely understand where your partner is coming from and vice versa.
Instead of trying to reason and defend your views, put your ego aside and genuinely listen to what she has to say. Let her know that you understand (if you truly do) why she is feeling how she is and where she is coming from.
The first tip will help with this understanding. Misunderstandings are often simple and easy to find if you can truly open yourself up to the idea that neither person is right or wrong, which is the part where you set your ego aside. In the end, do you want to think that you were ?right? or know that you got closer to the person you love?
There’s a time for releasing emotions and there’s a time for taking time to sleep on things. Your girlfriend will want to know that you truly care and sometimes that means that you must let yourself be angry/sad/frustrated/hurt in front of her. Being analytical and trying to figure out the situation is sometimes the last thing she wants. Be genuine and show how you truly feel.
Sometimes, however, you both may need to have space. Emotions may be running too high to have any sort of constructive discussion, and that’s ok! Having space to let things simmer down a bit and regain clarity is very useful. Be clear to your partner that you just need time to calm down and think clearly, not because you don’t want to be with her.
Be honest. A woman can always tell when you are not being emotionally honest and present.
Hug and kiss her. If issues have been resolved but tension is still present, sincerely apologize for your part, smile, hold her, kiss her, and tell her that you love her. If this is still difficult to do, more work needs to be done. Sometimes tension just needs time, but sometimes one person still feels wronged. Make sure you release all your emotions with the ?I feel? statements so that the issue can be fully resolved.
I’ve learned throughout my relationship with my girlfriend that no matter what, I love her and I know that we’ll get through our arguments. I know that by the end of them we’ll be just fine and able to hug and kiss one another.
Try some of the above tips if you find yourself in a precarious position with your loved one, and I know you’ll be able to experience the same.
Ayo: It would be great to have a female’s view on this subject.