Fights and heated arguments are annoying, but they’re also problems that all couples must deal with. When conducted in a healthy way, fights strengthen trust in couples, release built up steam and increase intimacy. The keyword here is healthy, which isn’t easy to achieve.
The Huffington Post compiled a list of some of the worst things that you can do or say in the midst of an argument. Here are five you should be wary of.
Targeting your partner’s insecurities and vulnerabilities
It makes sense for people to want to win arguments. We all have prides, and romantic partners make particularly good targets for us, since you presumably know them well and are aware of their insecurities. Fight this impulse and focus on resolving the problem you’re facing instead of gaining the upper hand. “Try focusing on the issue at hand rather than making personal attacks and saying something about your partner that you will probably later regret. Arguments can be tough to get through, but you still want to demonstrate mutual respect towards each other,” explains clinical psychologist Gina Delucca.
Making a major decision mid-argument
It’s never a good idea to make a decision while angry, especially if it’s something important. Wait until the argument is over and you’ve cooled down a bit before making a decision. Take advantage of your clear head and use your judgement.
Walking away mid-argument
While it makes sense to walk away from an escalating argument in order to prevent further damage, this behavior is known as stonewalling and many experts believe it does more harm than good. Disengaging in the midst of an argument is a passive-aggressive way of striking back and trying to “win” the fight. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need space to think and collect your thoughts, you should be clear about this, willing to touch on the topic in the near future.
Bringing up past events and mistakes
Bringing up past mistakes and matters that have already been addressed does nothing but add fuel to the fire and extend the argument for longer periods of time. If something your partner did in the past is still bothering you, set up a different time to discuss and resolve it.
Hashing things out over text
Resolving a complex argument through text, unless you’re a very skilled writer, is hard. Texts are great for communicating simple messages and ideas, but they’re extremely easy to misrepresent. “This is especially true as so much of our communication is non-verbal. There’s too much room to misinterpret someone when you aren’t sitting face-to-face or, at the very least, talking on the phone,” explains therapist Gary Brown.