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Experts on relationships say it’s impossible to be close to someone without sometimes arguing and this is backed up by the findings of the Enduring Love? research project, which interviewed more than 5,000 people about their relationships.
But why do arguments happen, and how can you avoid them?
Arguments often heat up when one person feels strongly that they’re right and the other person is wrong. Both of you can end up defending your position and dismissing what the other person has to say. This can lead to a stand-off where you both feel rejected.
Try to get away from the idea of being right or wrong, or of winning or losing an argument. Instead of thinking that one view is categorically right or wrong, accept that there can be many valid points of view.
If you’re prepared to listen and consider what the other person’s saying, you’re more likely
We argue too easily and it always gets blown out of all proportion as a result of not listening to each other. Enduring Love interviewee
We argue too easily and it always gets blown out of all proportion as a result of not listening to each other.
It’s not always easy to see where someone else is coming from. Most relationship therapy – when a professional therapist helps a couple to resolve their problems – is about helping partners see things from the other person’s point of view. You could try one of the following to put yourself in your partner’s shoes:
If you can see things from your partner’s point of view, it can help you understand each other and bring you closer together.
How you argue can be part of the problem. Try to think about how you behave and how you feel when you argue. For example, some people find a raised voice frightening while others find it perfectly normal to talk loudly in a discussion. And some people are used to interrupting and being interrupted and others are used to talking in turns.
Can you think of anything that makes your arguments worse, such as
If you can work out how you communicate best and become aware of any triggers that make your arguments worse, your disagreements are less likely to get out of hand.
4 things to try when you want to take the heat out of an argument:
Here are some brilliant tips from Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support. If you want to raise a tricky topic with your partner, start the discussion in as friendly a way as possible. Avoid going in all guns blazing and avoid being critical or sarcastic.
These techniques really do work but this doesn’t mean that you will never have another bad argument. If it happens again, look at what went wrong, think about how you could have handled it better, and aim to do better next time. Then forgive yourself, and your partner, and move on.
Get more advice from Relate about coping with arguments, including: what to do if you feel your partner is always criticising you, how to cope with the little things that annoy you about your partner and how to recognise emotional abuse.
There are some types of conflict that you shouldn’t put up with. For example, if your partner
If you think your partner is trying to control you or harm you in any way, it’s important to get help. Visit our page on abuse in relationships which describes the different types of abuse and how to get help.
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