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Why those Relationship Fights aren’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

Written by Kate Ferguson, Friday, December 16th, 2016 in Dating Columns, Featured, Sex & Dating

feet-1779064_640Most people aren’t super amped by the idea of fighting with their girlfriend, but there are some reasons why the occasionally blow out can actually be helpful to your relationship. That is of course, if it’s handled in the right way. Here are some reasons why those relationship fights aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

Fighting can actually be a sign of good relationship, as long as done in constructive and obviously safe ways. Fighting means that you care enough to deal with whatever is going wrong. If you didn’t care it would be easy to walk away without dealing with it, since it’s technically easier just to deny the blame when someone comes at you.

For another thing, swallowing anger is dangerous emotionally and physically. When you don’t speak up about something and address an issue it tends to come back up later somewhere else, which often happens in an inopportune moment or in a way that you didn’t mean. (And both of those alternatives can of course just create even bigger problems than the initial one.)

Many different studies have found links between fighting constructively and living longer lives…not just surviving longer in relationships. One study found that married couples who kept in their angry or attacked at the wrong times did not live as long as couples who were capable of being fair when they resolved their issues.  A separate study found that women who hold onto anger or don’t share their feelings during a fight have a four times higher risk of dying than women who expressed themselves. Stress is real, and letting it linger it truly dangerous.

That being said, you have fight in the “good” ways to make it work. That means waiting until the anger blind anger subsides to start speaking so that you can sort your thoughts, as well as not fighting when you’re tired or hungry. Those are the common circumstances that tend to create heat of the moment comments that can’t be taken off. It’s always fair to collect your thoughts before addressing the issue, as long as both people are willing to come back around to do so.

Constructive arguing requires the understanding that only one issue is being addressed at a time, and that there is no revenge involved in the process. Each person gets the floor to speak as long as they need to, while the other actively listens. Another really important part of the process is the way that pronouns are being used. It sounds a little silly but it’s crucial.

Constructive arguing means using “I feel,” “I want,” etc, and never “you did,” “you act,” or whatever. Start paying attention and you’ll notice how often that doesn’t occur, and why it feels like an attack when someone tells you what you did without explaining how it made them feel.

When you’re in a relationship where you both can argue fairly and constructively, then you have the tools to work through anything. Disagreements will always happen, and they should, because it means that you’re individuals with critical minds. But when you’re also self aware and willing to put in the work, the disagreements can always take you in the right direction.

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