Relationships can be difficult, especially when you are dealing with troubled waters. This is why it is so important to learn how to fight fair--but also learn how to not fight at all.
- Skill level:
Don't sweat the small stuff. Learn to let go of the concerns, complaints, mistakes, judgments and annoyances that do not impact the fundamental function of the relationship. If the subject or content of the complaint will not impact your level of trust, intimacy or communication, agree to let it go. Arguing over who forgot to twist the tie on the bread bag is not an argument worth having.
Create balance. Make sure the relationship takes three steps forward for every one step back. In the same spirit, for every one criticism, offer your partner three compliments. Remember to always balance the positive and negative.
Assume innocence. Agree to give your boyfriend the benefit of the doubt. Rather than assume the worst, invest in the best possible outcome or assumption of innocence. When a problem arises, assume that your boyfriend started with good intentions, but somehow became misguided or overwhelmed. Agree to listen for all information before you think about assigning consequences and especially before assigning blame.
Learn to compromise. Use communication to get closer to your boyfriend, rather than using it to attack and criticise him. Agree that compromise should be the first, second and third objective when dealing with a grievance, complaint or problem within the relationship.
Turn off. Agree to leave the room when a heated discussion cannot be resolved. Explain that you will leave the room to allow for a break in the communication. Be sure to communicate how invested you are in the possibility for an immediate, effective and reasonable resolution.
Tips and warnings
- Always take a step back to assess what is really happening in the moment.
- When reviewing the pros and cons of sustaining the relationship at all, be sure the positives outweigh the negatives.
- Never cast blame at your boyfriend without first remembering that you too have made mistakes. You may reconsider your initial reaction after you take stock of your own shortcomings.