We’ve all met that couple that “never argues” — but for most of us, arguments are just part of the deal of being in a relationship. Contrary to popular belief, conflict with your partner isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Instead, it’s how you argue that matters.
According to Lifehacker, there is a way to argue without spiraling into an unproductive “vent session.” The key is to keep in mind that, with any argument, there are actually two issues at hand: “your emotions and the actual problem.”
“For example, say you’re frustrated with your partner for not doing the dishes. You now have two problems to solve: the dishes need to be done and you need to no longer be upset with your partner for not doing them,” Eric Ravenscraft at Lifehacker explains.
It’s usually not productive to bring up the problem while you’re still fuming. Anger makes it difficult to think clearly or solve problems.
On the other hand, it’s totally valid to be annoyed or upset at your partner over the dishes. Deal with your emotions before you tackle the problem itself by journaling, going for a walk, or doing some deep breathing. You may need some alone time at this point — but make sure to communicate that to your partner!
But just calming down isn’t enough. You have to come back and actually talk about the issue at hand using a collaborative problem-solving approach, rather than blaming or attacking the other person.
Then, it’s make-up time! Defuse the negative energy of the conflict by re-bonding with your partner with a cuddle session or a fun activity, ideally before you both go to bed.
“Instead of settling for just not being angry, do what you can to go to bed happy, content, and looking forward to a better relationship than you had yesterday,” Eric says.
Easy peasy, right?