A typical lover’s spat is bound to happen from time to time if you’ve been in a long-term relationship. Most couples argue and even happy couples fight. It’s natural and normal.
But when a disagreement escalates into screaming, wounding insults, and slammed doors can leave you feeling shaken, disorganized, resentful, and alone. You might replay the whole scenario in your mind, feel the sting for days and eventually struggle with ‘what to do after a fight with your partner?’
Mopping up after an intense quarrel doesn’t have to take a lot of work and there are several approaches you can adopt to help ease the pain, restore connection, heal your relationship, and get it back on track.
Following are 6 essential things to do after a fight with your partner that can he;p you understand how to get over every fight with your significant other? or how to make up after an argument?
1. Take 20-30 minutes to cool down
Everyone processes information at their own pace and when different opinions flip into an argument, our bodies and brains can get activated. You and your partner react and may start verbalizing feelings of anger or resentment toward each other.
Give yourselves the time and space to cool down. Take a few minutes to reflect, recover and wonder, “What was my part in all this? Did I have a contribution?”.
While you’re apart, it might be easier to see things clearly so when you come back together, you’re able to start a whole new conversation. Take some time alone — to cool off deactivates our flight or fight response and makes it possible to hear things differently.
2. Never use the cold shoulder approach
Be sure to let your partner know if you need some space after a fight. The one thing you always want to avoid after an argument is giving the cold shoulder. It’s a really ineffective way to handle any situation even though it might feel like your only option.
Your partner is likely to think you’re punishing them and punishment never pulls people closer. It pushes them away. Punishment and being ignored prompts us to protect ourselves, hold back and share even less in the future.
The cold-shoulder-silent-treatment is likely to make matters worse by amplifying the hurt your partner may be feeling. The wiser option would be to address your differences gently and directly.
3. Look for common ground
It’s tempting to draw out the fight and rehash the same issue over and over again. The intention is usually ‘conflict resolution’ yet it rarely gets us anywhere constructive. If you give up your need to be right and stop throwing jabs at your partner, you can look for a common ground.
See if you can find a win-win solution that leaves you both satisfied. After all, relationships are all about connection and being on the same team.
4. Consider affection
Showing love through acts of affection such as gentle touch, kind words or small acts of service can go a long way toward reminding your significant other that you continue to care about them.
Expressing affection also can register as an attempt to soften the conflict. However, if your partner doesn’t like to be touched after a bad argument, steer clear of this approach.
5. Change perspective
Do your best to see the situation from your partner’s point of view. Underneath anger, there will always be hurt and fear. We all understand issues better when we can take a tiny step back and contemplate another point of view.
When you see something from a new perspective, the harsh positions you both took during an argument starts to look like a huge misunderstanding. When you become aware of your partner’s experience, it morphs a standoff into a breakthrough and creates an opening for you to move forward again.
6. Be accountable
Apologies are about accountability and the most heartfelt apology helps ease any hurt we’ve caused our partner. Apologies are not about guilt or appeasement. They’re not even an admission of wrongdoing.
Best not apologize if you don’t mean it or if you’re still feeling like the injured part. But when you’re ready, offer an apology and let your partner know you’re sorry for the way things worked out and for any hurt you may have caused.
Owning up to any mis-steps can be seen as a peace offering. It also shows that you’re taking responsibility for you part in the quarrel. A sincere apology may bring your relationship back into equilibrium.
Good communication is key in intimate relationships and allows you to strengthen and deepen your bond. When your partner is ready to talk, be sure to listen with intention and an open heart. Take turns listening and sharing your perspective.
It if starts to spin into a negative cycle, pause and take time to regroup again. Remember to look at some of the underlying emotions like hurt and fear. If you and your partner can talk about those, you’re golden!
The goal after an intense argument is to understand each other, restore connection and learn. If you’re in a long-term, committed relationship, an argument is likely to happen again. With practice, reconnection gets easier and you’ll get your relationship back on track faster.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.