From there, it’s a case of talking things over in a calm and constructive manner. This can be really hard when you’re feeling emotional, so you might like to try the following tips:
- Choose an appropriate time to talk. If you think you’re going to struggle with your emotions, it may be worth simply coming back to the topic when you’ve both calmed down. Likewise, it’s a good idea to have the conversation at a time when you’re both able to focus on it – not immediately before someone has to go to work or with the TV on in the background.
- Try to start the discussion amicably. Don’t go in with all guns firing, or with a sarcastic or critical comment. It can be useful to start by saying something positive, such as: ‘I feel like we were getting on really well a few months ago. I was hoping we could talk about how much we’ve been arguing recently.’
- Use ‘I’ statements, not ‘you’ statements. This will mean your partner is less likely to feel like they’re being attacked, and you’ll be taking responsibility for your own emotions. For instance, instead of saying ‘you never listen to me’, trying saying: ‘I feel like I’m not being heard when I talk to you’.
- Try to see things from your partner’s perspective. A conversation is unlikely to go anywhere productive unless both participants feel listened to. It can be tempting to just try to get your point across, but if you want to resolve things, it’s really important you take the time to hear what your partner has to say too. They may have an entirely different perspective – one you’ll need to understand if you want to get to the root of what’s going wrong. Try to validate each other’s feeling by saying things like: ‘It makes sense to me that you feel like that’. Making your partner feel heard can be hugely powerful.
- And remember: you may not just be arguing the surface problem. As much as we like to believe our partners will – or rather, should – always understand where we’re coming from, the truth is they’ve grown up with their own ideas and with different influences. For instance, if you think they’re controlling with money, it may be that their role model (when younger) was in charge of all financial affairs – so they’ve always assumed that’s how things work. Read more about emotional relationships with money.
- Keep tabs on physical feelings. If things are getting too heated, it can be a good idea to take time out and come back once you’re both feeling calmer. Saying something you later regret because you were really worked up is only going to make the fight worse and can leave feelings seriously hurt.
- Be prepared to compromise. Often the only way to reach a solution is for both partners to give some ground. If both of you stick rigidly to your desired outcome, the fight is probably just going to keep going and going. It might be that one or both of you need to compromise a little so that you’re able to move past things. Sometimes, an imperfect solution is better than no solution at all.