While fighting with your partner can be a difficult and emotional experience, it’s important to remember that when conflict is repaired well it will lead to deeper intimacy with your partner and strengthen your relationship.
With patience, understanding, and a commitment to repair, you can resolve the issue and come out stronger on the other side. By taking the time to listen, communicate, and take ownership of your impact, you can better understand your partner and rebuild the trust and intimacy in your relationship. With time and dedication, you can create a stronger, more resilient partnership that can weather any storm.
You’re probably looking at this article because you are searching for support. Maybe you are in a cycle of the same conflict you and your partner have been experiencing over and over again. Maybe you’re experiencing the first conflict in your relationship and seeking support to work through this in your new relationship. Or maybe you’re at the start of your mental health healing journey and looking for resources to shift the way you’ve previously been operating in your partnership. Wherever you are at, these 7 tips are here to support repair and reconnection after an argument with your partner.
7 Things To Do After a Fight With Your Partner
Recognize the emotional activation
Thinking back to the fight, try to notice when the conversation moved from neutral or positive to heated or triggered. Acknowledging that you might have felt triggered during a certain moment or that defensiveness was coming up can help keep you from playing the blame game with your partner and stay on the same page.
Assess your activation level
Determine where you are on a scale from 1 (being objective and open-minded) to 10 (I am going to erupt). If you or your partner are above a 3 then it’s imperative to take time to calm down at least to a 3 before beginning the conversation again. If you are taking time to bring yourself closer to open-mindedness, agree upon a specific time to circle back and designate someone to initiate the conversation.
Relax and open up
Couples fight from time to time. Recognize that you and your partner are both good people trying their best. It’s important to understand that it is both of you against the problem not you against each other. Be ready to take ownership of your impact on your partner without deflecting, shaming, or defending in the heat of the moment.
Decide who will share first
When you are ready to talk, you might designate one person who will agree to be the listener while the other shares. Designating a person will help prevent someone giving the could shoulder, brushing the argument under the rug, or fighting at an inconvenient time.
Share with honesty and vulnerability
This is when the partner who is sharing first will speak about how they are feeling. Use “I” statements here and speak in a non-judgemental way. For example, “when you send my calls to voicemail, it makes me feel forgotten and unimportant.”
Listen actively and respond with empathy
This is when the partner who is listening holds space for the partner sharing and validates their experience. For example: “I can imagine how forgotten that must make you feel.”
Avoid repeating back to your partner “I feel the same way when you…”. This is time for them to share and you to listen. Even though you may have similar feelings, your life experiences and triggers are unique to you. It is imperative that ego is put to the side for this step.
Acknowledge your patterns of behavior
The listening partner then owns the impact and patterns of their behavior. This is not an apology, but instead is an acknowledgement of impact. For example, “A big fear I have is of losing my independence, and my freedom. When I send your calls to voicemail, it is a poor way to react to these fears.” Own the pieces of behavior patterns that you know are true to your experiences and reactions.
Reassure your partner
Reassuring your partner might sounds like:
“I know that when I send your calls to voicemail it gives you anxiety, and makes you feel forgotten. I want you to know that I do love talking with you and I feel really cared for when you do call me.”
Reconnect with after care
Spend a moment each answering this prompt: “One thing I appreciate about this conversation with you is…” After taking turns with this prompt, the sharing partner asks for connection – a hug, walk, or cuddle time.
Take a moment to breathe and if the listening partner needs to share anything, allow them to take their turn as you trade roles and move through these steps again.
Remember that fighting with your partner is a natural part of any relationship, but it’s how you handle the aftermath that truly matters. Repairing your relationship after a fight requires open communication, active listening, and a willingness to be self reflective outside of your ego.
Remember to take responsibility for your actions, offer genuine apologies, and work together to find solutions. By prioritizing the health of your relationship and putting in the effort to repair after a fight, you can strengthen your bond and ensure a happier, healthier future together.