How to Mend Your Relationship After a Terrible Fight
It’s not easy to bring a relationship back into balance after a serious fight. Even if you and your partner come to an agreement, a dispute can actually get in the way. It may take time to regain romance and affection.
If you’re in an unhappy, unhealthy relationship, that’s one thing. Sometimes you just need to know when to stop working . But if we all give up after every fight, everyone will be left alone, so let’s assume that you have an otherwise healthy relationship and just need to get rid of a recent fight. Here are some ways to bounce back after both of you decide the fight is over.
Don’t pull it
When the dust has settled after the fight, your emotions may still be on edge. You may be tempted to throw some passive-aggressive punches at the last minute – maybe you want to express your point, or maybe you just want revenge on another person. In any case, these shots, however small they are, only prolong the trouble.
These remarks are also easy to disguise as jokes. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have a sense of humor about things, but you are probably both a little sensitive after an argument, and your partner may misunderstand the joke. Here’s what the HelpGuide says about it :
Humor can only help you overcome relationship problems when both partners get the joke. It is important to be empathetic to the other person. If your partner or friend is unlikely to appreciate the joke, don’t say or do it, even if it’s “fun.” When the joke is one-sided rather than reciprocal, it undermines trust and goodwill and can ruin the relationship.
It may seem like you are walking on eggshells until everything is back to normal, but that’s better than dragging out the fight.
Give them space
Give your partner space, but also take some space for yourself. After things get bad, it may take you some time alone to contemplate, recover, or heal. You may need to stay away from your partner while most of your negative feelings are gone, and that’s okay.
However, if your partner needs space and you don’t, it can be confusing. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Avoid clinging : Sometimes one partner needs space after a fight while the other feels clingy. It’s nice to have your partner around, but the time they spend thinking can strengthen the relationship in the long run. Grasping can also make it worse when the person needs to take a break.
- Consider taking time to focus on your own thoughts and feelings as well.
- Don’t punish them : If your partner says he needs to be alone, respect that. Don’t take it personally and then discard yourself as punishment.
In an interview with Elizabeth Bernstein of the Wall Street Journal, psychologist Dr. Hal Shorey explains that waiting is important in order to talk . The space can give you the time you need to cool down:
“You don’t want to discuss while the other person is still agitated,” says Dr. Shorey. “I can’t say how many people would think it’s better to say right away:“ I’m sorry. I was a jerk. ” And another person says: “Yes, I was.” And then the dispute escalates again. “
Of course, if you need space, at least reassure your partner that you love him and everything will be fine. A little emotional support can go a long way, even if you need to cool off.
It’s a cliché, but communication is the key to any relationship. To get back on track with your partner, it’s important to understand and communicate what you think about the situation. Even if you don’t know how you are feeling, or you feel like you need to be alone with yourself, you must tell the other person where you are standing. It can be difficult to communicate honestly and calmly after a fight, but eHow puts it this way :
Try your best to be honest with him, no matter how difficult it may seem at first. If you don’t know what your partner expects of you, and he doesn’t know what you expect from him, you are both setting yourself up for a lot of misunderstandings and potentially big disaster.
If you want to discuss the fight in more detail, keep a few things in mind to avoid revealing recent wounds:
Give up the need to be right
Take responsibility for making you feel like a partner, says Dr. Shorey. For the sake of the well-being of the relationship, give up the need to follow through with your point of view.
Don’t defend yourself
This goes hand in hand with the above. If your behavior has made your partner feel a certain way, let go of the need to defend. This could support the controversy. Accept their feelings and consider the big picture. If you really feel like you need to clarify why you behaved in a certain way, you can always do it later, when the fight is really over and things have settled.
Another great piece of advice from Dr. Shorey is to accept the fact that a relationship can take a while to heal completely, but take the time to check where you stand after some time has passed. This can be especially useful for more intense fights.
It can also be helpful to come to an agreement and set boundaries and rules for the future. As you contemplate the battle, consider what you could do differently next time. The University of Texas Mental Health Center has a few basic rules to get you started:
- Only solve one problem at a time. Do not introduce other topics until each of them has been fully discussed. This avoids the “kitchen sink” effect of people giving up all their complaints without allowing anything to be settled.
- Do not hit below the belt. Attacking areas of personal sensitivity creates an atmosphere of mistrust, anger, and vulnerability.
- Avoid blaming. Blaming will encourage others to focus on protecting themselves rather than understanding you. Instead, talk about how the feelings made you feel.
They offer more recommendations in the full text of the message . In general, you want your post-argument communication to be productive. It may be necessary to establish some rules in pairs or even individually so as not to prolong the fight.
Forcing something is rarely productive, but there is a lot to be said for “pretending until you get it”. When you get stumped after an argument, it sometimes helps to just be kind and gentle to each other. eHow explains this :
Show some love and concern by sharing pleasant words and actions. There is often animosity and resentment in a relationship when one or both parties feel unappreciated or unloved … Whether it’s a small show of affection (like patting a guy on the back when you leave the house in the morning) or texting him “just because that I care. ”When he’s at work, little things can make a big difference.
This may not work as well if you are still really on a steam. But this is a good start if you are feeling stuck. A little kindness can serve as a reminder that you care about each other and care about the relationship. You don’t have to pretend that nothing happened; it’s just a little push in the right direction.
Talk to a professional
If you find it really difficult to look each other in the eye, the conflict may not be over yet. In this case, it is best to talk to a professional. A counselor or therapist can help you understand your feelings and overcome them in one way or another. Also, check out our publications on how to choose a therapist for a couple and what to expect when you start seeing one.
Recovering from a fight can take time. Even if you both agree that the battle is over, it can be difficult to get out of this situation and get back to where you were. Communication, understanding, and respect will help get your relationship back on track.
This story was originally published in 2015 and updated on December 1, 2020, per Lifehacker’s style guidelines.