5 Places You're Guaranteed to Fight with Your Partner
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are resting up for another busy weekend of events.
Sooner or later, every relationship is going to hit a rough spot. But did you know there are places you are almost guaranteed to fight with your partner and how to minimize the potential for conflict in each one?
There are just certain situations and locations that seem to trigger fights between lovebirds. But it is possible to avoid issues even in the most conflict-prone places. Here's how.
While Traveling Together
Staying up late packing. Boarding an airplane with minimal sleep and even less leg room. Deciding on each day's itinerary. Any one of these scenarios can lead an otherwise mellow couple to a blowout.
When you're traveling, your normal routine is thrown off and you have little control over your surroundings. So when something goes slightly sideways, you're likely to blame someone—and your partner is the closest target.
But playing the blame game means nobody wins. Instead, focus on how to take care of the relationship in the current situation. So if your plane is delayed and you're irritated that you didn't pack a snack, tell your partner, "I'm hungry and don't do well when I'm stressed and starving." Then suggest getting something to eat as a couple. This put the spotlight on finding a solution in the moment. (You'll likely find that this will take the edge off and cause him to bicker with you less, too.)
At a Group Dinner
When you're sitting around a table with other happy couples and your partner says something snarky, you can't exactly call him out in front of everyone else—but you can pull him aside at your first opportunity and chew him out. Shaler says many people make a sarcastic remark or one-liner in these types of situations because they're either trying to be funny (and it comes at the expense of their partner) or they're bringing up something they know will upset their partner (but want to discuss) and think being in public will protect him from potential backlash.
The next time your beloved says something that rubs you the wrong way, resist the urge to continue the snark, take some deep breaths, and focus on yourself. Ask yourself what you're thinking: Are you feeling hurt? Surprised? Vindictive? Remember the specifics, and then share the details with your S.O. when you get home. Repeat what he said, how it made you feel, and why it's important to you that he understand how it affected you.
At a Party or Wedding
Big social events can bring out the competitive side in some couples, making them prime spots for a fight. Seeing other twosomes in love can lead to drawing comparisons, like: Why aren't we as affectionate as Jeff and Jim?
When your partner doesn't live up to your expectations in a social setting, you can become upset. The solution? Take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself what you want to happen in the next five minutes. That will usually give you the clarity to realize that you don't actually want to create an argument at someone else's celebration. Focus on the event instead, and try to enjoy the happiness surrounding you. You can address whatever issues you're having as a couple the next day.
In the Car
Being stuck in traffic is another one of those situations when you almost can't help but take your frustrations out on the nearest person—your significant other more likely than not. Shaler suggests talking about the crappy circumstances out loud (without blame), talking about how they make you feel, and then asking your partner a question about them. Something as simple as: "This traffic is horrible. It's making me anxious. Is it stressing you out?" puts the focus on what you have in common in the moment.
Humor can also help. Try to laugh about how annoyed you are or listen to a funny Podcast. If you're not in a rush, you can even throw up your hands, pull over, and grab a cup of coffee together to defuse the tension.
Around Your In-Laws
For some couples, simply being around each other's families is a recipe for a fight. Whether it's an overly critical mother-in-law or a brutally honest brother, a third opinion inserted into your relationship is usually not a welcome intrusion and can spark a dispute.
If you can escape to a separate part of the house or go for a walk just the two of you, it's a good idea to go clear the air. Shaler suggests using the following technique: Give whichever partner is feeling under fire the floor for a few minutes to share information about him or herself. The idea is for that person to only talk about themself and what they're thinking and feeling without insinuating anything about the other person or their family. (Avoiding using the words "you" or "your" can help with this.) If you're on the listening end of this, respond by saying, "Tell me more. How long have you felt that way?" Asking questions is the best way to make your partner feel heard and to get the information you need to understand what he's thinking and feeling.
If you're feeling like your partner should have defended you more and you're the one expressing your frustrations, try saying something like, "We're supposed to have each other's backs, no matter what. How can we make this relationship a safe haven for both of us?" The conversation sets things up to be about finding a productive solution—not about blame. Regardless of who's feeling attacked, resolve to have a conversation later about how to solve the larger issue.
Hope these tips help when you reach another one of those times and you have a beary safe and great Wednesday!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,