There are many different types of relationships; business, friendships, family and romantic relationships, just to name a few.
In all kinds of relationships with people there’s also arguments, conflicts are discussed and in the best case a solution or a compromise is found.
There are many different courses of action in disputes.
Because people are not infallible and at the same time multifaceted, there are a multitude of possible end scenarios for an argument. How we react to different situations is not always predictable and that is why it says so much about us as people and as a partner in the relationship. Many people have some kind of automatic reaction to conflict, some burst into tears, react negatively or very dramatically. In situations of conflict you should always make sure to treat your counterpart with respect.
There are couples who never argue. Such relationships are still not always happy, the partners usually lead separate lives and simply come to an agreement „for the sake“ of maintaining the harmony. Conflicts are part of intimacy and through difficult differences of opinion one learns more about their partner and also about oneself. However, if conflicts never arise, the relationship can very rarely go into depth and thus reach a new level of intimacy.
A healthy and well-groomed „culture of argument“ in relationships can also be a solution to how an uncomfortable atmosphere or a lingering problem in the relationship is dealt with. However, there is a very fine line between healthy arguing and toxic conflict, which can be harmful.
Couples who have sex after an argument may suddenly find themselves in a tricky situation of tangled associations of physical intimacy with conflict. Never going to bed angry seems like a better guide to relationship welfare. When hurtful statements have been made, it is sometimes worthwhile to let some time pass and to approach the conflict with renewed energy. It also helps to talk to people who are close to you, who can view the situation more rationally and give feedback of your own behavior within the conflict.
Many experts are of the opinion that it is not about whether you argue, and not even whether there is absolutely a need for conflict resolution, it is just a matter of how you argue and what happens between conflicts. A conflict is healthy and valuable to a relationship when there is a calm atmosphere between disputes and the partners are mutually treated with respect, and both act out of love.
Here are some unhealthy fighting tactics that you should be wary of (for yourself or within your partner):
- Turning things into a much bigger deal than they are
If a little thing suddenly becomes a deal of apocalyptic disaster proportions, it can be a bad sign for the relationship.
- It’s getting personal
When it seems that all of a sudden the entire discussion revolves around an aspect of you or your partner that cannot easily be changed or is a given (e.g. natural body or character trait). It is even worse when an aspect is attacked that is already causing uncertainty in the person. This casts doubt within even the strongest self-confidence or self-worth.
- Bringing up the past
An old wound or past misconduct is discussed here instead of the conflict issue at hand.
- Unfair accusations
Accusations are always a bad idea in relationships. Instead of expressing one’s wishes for change, the counterpart is accused of many other unrelated things: their bad mood, dissatisfaction at work, family, etc.
- Using sex as a threat
A manipulation tactic often used for good or bad behavior on the part of the partner. This leads to sex being used as a punishment or as a reward.
Usually such unhealthy argument tactics are difficult to recognize at first glance, they slowly creep into conflict situations in the relationship, but they could have also been present from the start. However, it is important to recognize this as early as possible, as this can be a so-called „red flag“, a sign of unhealthy or toxic behavior. You cannot control other people, only your own way of reacting to them and their actions.
In such situations, it would be worthwhile to engage in one-on-one discussions to de-escalate the situation. Find out more about these soon, right here on this blog.