Arguments are bound to happen in a relationship, and that’s just a fact. Compromise and communication are needed to navigate through conflict and move past them.
Communication will help you better understand what your SO is saying, and compromise will help you move forward, but that’s a pretty vague statement.
What kind of advice is “talk to each other and figure out what works best for both of you.” That’s like if you were to teach me how to replace the brakes on my car by saying, “you take the old ones off and put on the new ones.”
Here are a few things to keep in mind while navigating conflict:
It’s as simple as having respect for each other. You can be in an argument with your SO and still have respect for each other. Arguing is no reason to curse or name call at your significant other. And if they do it to you, it is as simple as telling them to stop. If they don’t, then all you can do is walk away and tell them you don’t feel like arguing right now. Let them and yourself cool off before talking about it again.
Get to the real issue
Conflicts and arguments usually happen when one person’s wants are not being met. Are you really mad at your SO because they don’t do the dishes, or is it because you feel like you do all of the housework? You can argue about the dishes all you want, but it won’t accomplish anything. You need to get to the heart of the matter of what is bothering you. If you can’t figure out that out, how can you expect your partner to do so?
Agree to Disagree
It’s okay to disagree with your partner. Sometimes you won’t agree on everything, and the best option is to drop it. Dropping the topic isn’t avoiding a fight. If it’s not all that important to you, then you shouldn’t have to worry about it. But if the topic is too important to drop, you need to have a hard talk with yourself and with them about your future. I’m not saying to drop them, but it comes down to compatibility.
Compromise, the super vague all-encompassing word I used in the introduction to this article, is easier said than done. It’s about finding a solution that leaves both of you satisfied in the end. So if you want tacos and they want pizza for dinner, get pizza this time and you get to pick what you want for dinner the next time you go out.
Listen to both sides
There are always two sides to an argument. Think not only about your side but about the side of your partner.
How important is the topic? Are you compromising your values? If yes, then it’s okay to push back a little, but if not, then maybe think about a compromise.
What’s your partner’s point of view of this argument? Why are they upset? And if they are upset, is it like them to get this upset? Being mindful of both sides helps put the topic at hand into perspective.
Keep in mind that this will help those in healthy relationships. Conflict is normal, but should never turn into personal attacks or trying to lower the other’s self-esteem. You should be able to express yourself freely in your relationship without fear of retaliation or pettiness.
Conflict resolution should not be a way for one person to control or manipulate the other person. If your partner is upset with you for hanging out with friends and they think you are cheating on them, then they are trying to manipulate you. You are your own person and can do your own things and have your own friends. Keep in mind toxic behaviors that will make your relationship unhealthy.
It all comes down to respect, trust, communication, and compromise, and if you can’t have that in your relationship, then you shouldn’t be in that relationship.