Fighting with your partner is normal and natural. Any couple can fight, and doing so can even be beneficial to your relationship and bring you closer together — as long as you fight respectfully. Just as there are things that you shouldn’t say during a fight with your significant other, there are things you shouldn’t say or do after the fight blows over.
The key is to respect your partner and to communicate openly with them. How you deal with the aftermath of a fight can have a big impact on the future of your relationship, so you want to make sure that you handle things in a mature and respectful way.
How to make up after a fight with your partner
However trivial your fight seems, it’s important to address the underlying causes. Even a silly argument could be because of pent-up tension, and that’s something that should be addressed with your partner. “Most couples don’t argue just to argue,” relationship and dating expert Jonathan Bennett told Bustle. “There are usually underlying reasons for the argument. Having an honest discussion about why the argument occurred and how to avoid it again in the future will make the relationship more harmonious in the long-term.”
Apologizing is also important, as is forgiveness. Bennett said that it’s vital to specifically say that you accept their apology. “Delaying forgiveness or holding out to make your partner feel bad will only prolong the pain from the argument,” she said.
It’s also important to let your partner know that you heard what they have to say, and to remind them you still care about them. “By letting your partner know that you love [them], it acknowledges that the fight is just a temporary setback in the relationship and you’re committed to moving forward,” said Bennett.
What not to do after a fight with your partner
The aftermath of a fight with your partner should be about healing and getting back on track. This might take time, though. If your partner needs space, don’t push them. “In a fight, when one partner is overwhelmed, they may not be able to process their thoughts,” clinical psychologist Megan Flemming, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist told Woman’s Day. “Which is why it’s important to respect when someone says ‘I need a break.’ Understand that it’s not personal.”
If you or your partner need space, that’s one thing, but you should communicate that’s what’s needed. If you’re the one who needs room to cool off, don’t just give your partner the cold shoulder. “One of the biggest mistakes people make after an argument is stonewalling,” said licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert Rachel A. Sussman. Make sure you’re communicating your needs clearly. If you need space, Sussman recommends saying something like, “My emotions don’t recede as quickly as yours, but give me 24 hours and I’m sure things will be fine. If not, we can discuss more.”
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