Communication Mistakes

Things to Steer Clear of During a Dispute with Your Partner by Lisa

Avoid These 8 ⁣Mistakes When Arguing With Your Partner, Experts Advise

Disagreements are a arguments-with-your-partner-how-to-stop-fighting/” title=”Pausing Arguments with Your Partner: How to Stop Fighting”>normal part of any relationship, whether they’re about​ household chores, hurtful comments, or ⁢home decor. However, the way these disagreements are handled can ​significantly impact the relationship, according to‍ experts. A fair fight can strengthen your bond, while a dirty fight can damage the trust, ⁢respect, and ⁣intimacy in your relationship.

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“Disputes can either fortify the relationship, leading to growth and progress, or⁣ weaken it, causing resentment and leaving issues unresolved,” ⁣says Rachel ​Goldberg, LMFT, a private practice therapist in Studio ⁣City, CA.

Goldberg explains that productive arguments involve open communication, active listening, validation of‍ the other person’s perspective, empathy, and a focus on finding solutions rather than assigning blame. On the other hand, unproductive arguments leave ‌both parties feeling misunderstood ⁤and doubtful that change will occur.

Dr. Nathan Baumann, a Denver-based clinical psychologist, says that unproductive argument tactics often⁣ stem from a need to protect oneself from uncomfortable emotions and a desire to punish to prevent future hurt.

RELATED: Why‌ Never Arguing Could Be a ​Warning‍ Sign

So, what argument techniques should you avoid? Therapists recommend avoiding the following harmful strategies.

1. Attacking Your Partner’s Character

For instance, ⁤if your partner comes‍ home late without notifying you, accusing ‌them ⁣of being ⁤unreliable or uncaring ⁤is an attack on their character. This approach‌ is unlikely to elicit the understanding ⁢and compassion you seek,‌ says Alyse Freda-Colon, LCSW, a private practice therapist.

Instead, focus on ⁣the specific incident. Saying, “I felt disregarded when you didn’t inform me you’d be home late” is more ⁤effective than accusing them of being selfish.

2. Bringing Up Past Issues

Goldberg advises against bringing up past hurts during an argument as it may escalate the situation and put your partner on the defensive.

RELATED: How to Manage⁤ a Relationship Dispute

Moreover, it can distract from the current issue, preventing its ⁣resolution. If you notice a concerning pattern in your partner’s ‌behavior, address it immediately instead of waiting until your resentment builds up.

3. Making ‌Comparisons

Comparing your partner to others during an argument is unfair and hurtful. Each relationship is unique, and comparisons can only harm your relationship.

“Focus on your relationship’s unique ​dynamics ‍and work together to find solutions‍ that align with your needs and values,” advises Goldberg.

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4. Overgeneralizing

During arguments, avoid using absolute terms like “always” and “never,” says Dr. Scott Lyons, a licensed ⁤holistic psychologist. These blanket statements can make your partner defensive and are likely untrue.

Instead, provide a specific and recent example of your partner’s behavior and its impact on ​you, suggests Lienna Wilson, PsyD, a private practice clinical psychologist.

5. Stonewalling

Ignoring your partner during a conflict, also known as “stonewalling” or “the silent treatment,”⁣ can be ‍more⁣ harmful than you think.

Stonewalling ‌can make your‍ partner feel isolated and unimportant, says Goldberg. If you feel ‍overwhelmed or too emotional to address ‍the issue, Suzette Bray, LMFT, a licensed therapist in⁣ private practice, ​suggests taking a time-out.

However,​ it’s important to communicate your⁢ need for a ⁤break to your partner⁢ instead of abruptly leaving the room.

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“Stonewalling does not ⁣allow for the mutual and relational problem to be solved or collaborated on,” adds Baumann, “increasing⁤ the emotional distance between people and making it more unlikely you will ‘fight fairly’ in the future.”

6. Triangulation ‌

Asking a friend or family member to intervene in your conflict with your ⁣partner, known as triangulation, can intensify the conflict and put your loved ones in an uncomfortable position.

“Keep intimate matters within the relationship and seek support from a trusted family member, friend, or therapist whom​ you both agree to involve,” advises Batista.

7. Deflection

“Posing oneself⁢ as the innocent party is another destructive strategy,” says Dr. Brian Tierney, PhD, The Somatic Doctor. “It is far more effective to ‍assume personal responsibility for one’s contribution to the escalation process.”

RELATED: ⁢How to Disagree Respectfully With Your Partner During Difficult Times

By acknowledging your role in‌ the conflict, you set a good example and encourage ⁤your partner‍ to do‌ the same. The focus should be ‌on reaching a mutual understanding rather than winning the argument, says Bray.

“Ask yourself: would you⁣ rather be right or happy?” she advises. “Being happy involves​ solving the problem so that the relationship can move forward.”

8. Overly Defending Yourself

When your partner points out something they didn’t like about ⁣your behavior, it’s natural to feel defensive. ​However, immediately ‌defending yourself can ⁢invalidate your partner’s feelings.

RELATED: How to⁣ Recover From a Major​ Fight‍ With a Partner

“It comes across as making excuses for‍ your behavior, and not really caring about how it impacted your ‌partner,” explains Batista.

Try to listen to your partner’s concerns and empathize with their emotional experience. This approach will help your partner​ feel seen and heard, allowing you to reach a resolution faster.

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