Are constant arguments ruining your relationship?
Continual arguments can be very wearing and stressful, leaving you feeling you can’t take anymore and you want out of the relationship. Maybe you feel you don’t want to go home anymore, you're staying late at work rather than going home and facing yet another row. You feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells. Life is miserable.
If you recognise any of the above feelings, then you know things have to change, but you just don’t know how.
When you feel attacked, hurt or wounded, which often happens in arguments, your immediate response at any words of criticism is likely to result in picking out negative words and not listening to anything else that is said. Instead, you start practising your response in your head. You want to defend yourself, especially if you feel the accusations are unjust, and then go on the attack. Your partner reacts in the same way and so the argument escalates, to the point where the initial issue is completely lost.
Here are some tips to help you manage arguments better. Instead of jumping in with your side of the story:
- Listen without interrupting. If your partner is ranting, there will come a point when they run out of steam.
- Listen attentively. If you start appearing distracted it will only annoy your partner and inflame the situation more.
- Empathise with your partner, by saying things like:
- I am sorry you feel angry.
- I didn’t realise you felt so strongly about this.
- I hear you are really upset.
- Take responsibility for your part in whatever is going on.
- Don’t point the finger at your partner by saying things like ‘you made me angry’. Instead, own your feelings and say something like 'I felt angry when you...' which is less accusatory.
Working with a relationship counsellor can be extremely effective to help reduce meaningless arguments and change the way you speak to each other.