How to fight fair: 8 ways to shut down a ‘sucky’ argument

by Brittany  Talarico

Couple sitting up in bed, both looking away   Original Filename: couple.jpg

If you tend to bring up past fights, your guy will never feel safe to say…pretty much anything.


Fighting can trigger the sympathetic nervous system, which shifts your body into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline courses through you at this time, making you less able to think logically. If you want to have an actual discussion (not a hell-raising blowout), your bod needs to be relaxed. Sometimes the only way to do this is to take a time out. Remember, if he needs to leave the situation, he’s trying to calm down too. It’s not about you.


Once your bod is relaxed, start by acknowledging that you heard your guy and validate what he said. For example, “I understand that it may frustrate you when I spend too much money on clothes. I know we’re saving up to move in together.” When you validate his concern first, he’ll be more likely to relax and listen to you. When sharing your side, it’s better to start with an “and” instead of a “but.” When people hear “but,” they know they are about to be contradicted. Follow up with, “I hear your point, and I also feel that it’s important for me to be in control of how I spend my money. I needed new clothes to wear with my clients.” Recap: Always acknowledge their stance first, then say “and” before stating your own.
We get it. If you’ve been stewing about the fact that he still hasn’t asked his boss for that time off for the trip you’ve been planning, it’s tempting to fire back with a scathing text or epic email. But it’s best to put down your phone and take a walk before blindsiding him with a message you’ll most likely regret later.
Ban any NSFW language and sarcasm from the disagreement since it automatically puts you both on the defensive. Picking at his sensitive spots just creates more animosity, and it won’t evoke any compassion from him.
The fight may have started because he was super late fordate night, but since you’re riled up, you also bring up his douchebag friend who is a total sexist and how it’s unfair of him to watch Netflix when you’ve had a bad day. This snowball effect distracts from the argument. If you tend to bring up past fights, your guy will never feel safe to say…pretty much anything. So focus on one complaint.
Do you really need to give him crap for catching Sunday night football with the guys instead of watching Homelandwith you? Probably not. If every little thing your bf does upsets you—like the way he brushes his teeth after breakfast instead of before— there might be a deeper issue. It’s time to assess your feelings for him and look at your relationship as a whole. Nitpicking isn’t the answer.

Compromise is key. If your guy feels like he’s always giving in, he’ll start to resent you. Think of what you actually “need” from him. If something you want is not really essential to your relationship happiness, learn to let it go. When he sees that you’re willing to give in sometimes (especially if you don’t typically do it), he’ll be more likely to compromise too.
If you want something in your relationship to change, it’s important to acknowledge what you appreciate about your man first. That will calm his anxiety and help him feel more receptive to what’s bothering you. He stays calm. Your feelings are heard. It’s a win-win situation.

Read this article in Cosmopolitan


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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