Constructive Conflict: Don't Break Up, Make Up
Better to be a great lover than a fantastic fighter, but all relationships have conflict. How you and your sweetie handle those tensions can mean the difference between an awesome makeup session and a devastating breakup session. Learn to fight fair and you'll give your relationship a fairer chance of succeeding.
Talk It Out
If you hold in your frustrations, they can build up and then you blow up. Find time as soon as possible after the issue arises to sit down together and talk about what's bothering you. Calm discussions using words like "I feel . . ." rather than "You always do . . ." will open the lines of communication between you and your sweetie.
Keep It Private
Don't fight in front of your friends or family. "I'd like to talk about this later in private" is a good way to avoid becoming a public spectacle. But don't let that end it. Do make time to talk it over when you get alone time. After you both air your feelings, you'll have a better chance of enjoying that alone time the way you want to!
Don't Call Names
Family patterns of fighting you learned growing up can carry over into your adult relationships. Yelling, blaming, cursing and name calling will form a divide between you that is harder and harder to mend each time. We all tend to remember one negative comment more than 10 compliments. So don't go there.
Stick to the Issue
Think about your goal: Are you trying to build a body of evidence so your partner sees what an awful person she is? Or are you trying to help her understand why her behavior bothers you so she won't act that way in the future? Don't generalize and tell her she is always a slob or never consults you before accepting invitations for you as a couple. Specific examples - but not too many! - will work best to help your sweetie understand what is leaving a sour taste in your mouth.
Open the Door
When you've both had a chance to air your feelings, look for openings to end the discussion on a positive note. Be willing to laugh about your own behavior and emphasize the positives in your relationship. A sense of humor can ease that tightly wrapped tension, as long as you don't appear to be ignoring her feelings. Then you can move on to more, uhm, productive interactions.
Close the Door
When you call a truce and mean it, making up in private can really rock. A little nookie can heal those hurts and refresh your memory about why you want to stay together. So close the door and reunite!
Through all relationship conflicts, keep your goal in mind. If you're only out to punish or win, you'll lose in the long run. You want your sweetie to respect and appreciate you, not throw up her hands and walk away. So reach out and strengthen your connection with the right moves.
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