1. Fighting about completely different things
I can’t tell you how many times halfway through a heated argument, it’s occurred to me that we aren’t even fighting about the same thing. Somehow, with tempers running high, we end up having two completely separate arguments. Had we taken a moment to clarify what was really bothering us, we would have probably discovered we were in agreement.
2. Raising our voices
I know that some random preschool teacher probably explained to us that shouting wasn’t the way to get what we want, and we decided to disregard this advice. But quite honestly there is some truth to it. The second one party starts to shout, is the same moment that the other party goes on the defensive. After that, there is very little chance of resolving the issue.
3. Placing blame
Naturally, there will be those situations in which one side is completely at fault, but usually that isn’t the case. In most instances, if you start off by using you/your fault/how could you?, your partner will get defensive, and they will get angrier. Instead try in my opinion, I feel, and so on. Feelings are always valid).
4. Referencing past offenses, even the ones you’ve resolved
If it’s something that has been talked about, forgiven, and moved on from, try and leave it in the past! Otherwise, the argument will shift from the current issue to, well, pretty much everything you have ever fought about. Which will probably escalate into insults, crying, and definitely no solution to the problem at hand (which was probably about a dirty sock left on the couch AGAIN).
5. Letting issues fester
If your partner does something that bugs you, and instead of telling them right away, you file it in your alphabetically arranged index of bad deeds, only to pull out the list six months down the road and read it out to them during a fight? If we do that, things will never change in the relationship. We have to start telling people what bothers us, when it bothers us.
6. Being cruel
Emotional abuse can be just as scarring as physical abuse. Words hurt, and even when you’re really, really, cross, you should think about what you’re saying. Quite honestly, there is no justification for being horrible to someone, because they will never properly forgive you for it.
7. Not taking time to cool off (especially when we desperately need to)
Sometimes it’s okay to just take time out (no, I don’t mean dramatically stomp out the front door without your cell phone). Just go to another room, eat something, or have a hot drink and resume the discussion when feeling a little more level-headed.
8. Going past the point of no return
There is always that moment in a fight where you know that if you say that one thing (that thing that is so horrible you can never EVER take it back) or walk out, there is no coming back. Don’t cross that line! Not in the middle of a heated fight when you aren’t thinking clearly.
9. Calling it quits at the first sign of a struggle
Fighting just happens, it’s not a sign your relationship is weak, or that your partner sucks, it just means that they pissed you off, or that you had a bad day. The mark of a good relationship is getting through the fight and learning how to get along better with one another.