If it’s been only a few minutes since your fight, tell your SO you’re open to any questions or hearing about lingering frustrations after they’ve had time to think. If they want to revisit the issue after a few days, though, don’t turn your back on them. “Non-verbal communication is as loud as yelling,” says Dr. Golland. If you find yourself walking away, apologize, return and hear them out. “Reflect back what he’s telling you: ‘So you’re saying [fill in the blank]. Correct?’ Check in to make sure you’re getting it right.”
8. Don’t keep getting in jabs.
Still reeling from a fight? That doesn’t give you the right to mutter not-so-sweet nothings. “Never call a person a name. It’s hard to recover from that,” Sussman says. So if you fought about your vacation budget, don’t say they’re cheap when you’re looking at your friend’s photos from her trip to Greece. Name-calling only “makes him come back swinging with insults,” says Sussman. Instead, ask them to talk through what’s still bothering you once you’ve calmed down. Say something like, “I know you’re concerned we don’t have the money, but here’s a budget I made,” Sussman suggests.
You both said “I’m sorry” and meant it-but now they’re trying to get some, and all you can think is, Seriously? “It’s not that they don’t realize you had a fight,” says Sussman. “Many men want to have sex to feel close.” If going at it is the last thing on your mind, let them down gently. “Say, ‘Thank you for feeling like you want to be close to me, but I’m not in the mood right now,” she suggests. “Hug him, and tell him that maybe you can have sex tomorrow.” Don’t just roll over and refuse them without an explanation. “That will hurt his feelings,” Sussman says.
10. Don’t focus on what caused the fight.
Your energy is better spent on the solutions for the problem. Puhn uses this example: Say your spouse forgot to bring cash to a cash-only event. You had a tiff about it, but then you went to an ATM and the issue was resolved. Enjoy the night instead of replaying your partner’s screw-up in your head. “The difference between a bad fight and a good fight is whether or not you reached a solution,” mocospace says Puhn. On the other hand, if their forgetfulness is consistent, try saying, “I’m noticing that you aren’t carrying cash much these days. What’s going on there?” It’s a less judgmental way to get at the issue than, “Ugh! Not again!”
11. Don’t say, “I didn’t mean it.”
“Saying this is like trying to use an eraser on permanent es the situation because your husband will say: ‘Yes you did!'” Going back and forth on what you said or didn’t say, meant or didn’t mean, keeps you focused on the past instead of working toward a solution for the future, which is the goal of any disagreement. If they say, “I didn’t mean it,” say, “You didn’t mean it, but the result was that I felt this way. So in the future, please do XYZ.”
12. Don’t beat yourself up that you had a fight.
Everyone wants a partner who’s invested – and fighting can be a sign that you’re both still working at the relationship (a positive thing!). Puhn says she knows a couple is doomed when they say, “We used to fight a lot, but now we raise our hands and walk out.” It’s not that they don’t disagree on things. “It means they’re letting the relationship go, which is what happens before they leave or find an affair,” Puhn says. So feel good that you both still care enough to get to the bottom of your issues.