Whether you and your partner have different opinions on a topic or you don’t always agree on the best way to handle a stressful situation — navigating conflict is a part of every relationship. Sometimes it takes a while to feel comfortable expressing your needs to the people you date. But stating what is on your mind can be super important when trying to find some common ground during an argument. And while dealing with relationship conflicts is a totally normal and healthy thing, there are a number of off-limits relationship fights that you may want to steer clear of.
"The more intimate we become, the easier it is for us to lose the boundaries that need to be there to protect ourselves as individuals," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Host of ‘The Kurre and Klapow Show,’ tells Elite Daily. "When it comes to disagreements/arguments there are certain boundaries that need to be established — these are the off-limits actions that cross lines and are not productive. Fights that have these components should be off-limits in a healthy relationship."
While open communication can sometimes mean engaging in some healthy disagreement, Dr. Klapow shares the three types of relationship fights that cross the line.
Sometimes, the people you’re closest to know how to hurt you the most. And when fighting with your partner, bringing up sore spots that you know will hurt them can be super painful for you both. "Personal attacks do not help to solve a problem, they only flare emotions. You can be mad at what they did or are doing, but focus on the actions not on their character, or value as a human being," Dr. Klapow says. "Anything that is an attack on who the person is versus what they are doing is crossing the line." When working through a conflict with your partner, it can be super important to live in the present. If you’re arguing about each other’s holiday plans, although it may be tempting to bring up what happened at their sister’s bat mitzvah — personal attacks will often cause more harm than good.
Fighting Just To Win Or To Prove A Point
You and your partner are a team. You’re in it together. But when an argument starts, you may crave the sweet taste of victory. However, your goal in a partnership shouldn’t be to personally "win" a fight. "If you go in with the mindset of winning the argument versus solving the problem you can’t hear or process information as clearly," Dr. Klapow says. "One of the most important things to remember is that when your emotions are flying, you can’t think as clearly. Take a minute, or two, or 10, to calm down. Then start to talk."
If you feel yourself getting super emotional or if you start to see an argument as a chance to "win," taking a little step back can relieve some of the pressure on you and your boo, and can give everyone time to think before saying something they may ultimately regret.
Fights That Completely Shut Your Partner Down
If your partner won’t let you speak your mind, or if you sometimes struggle to hold space for your partner’s differing opinions — fights that completely shut someone down can be super tricky to navigate. "If you simply shut down the entire discussion because you refuse to make an effort to solve the problem, the message you send is ‘I don’t care,’ Dr. Klapow says. "Try to bring up problems gently and without blame. Talk about your feelings — not what you think your partner is feeling. Focus on what you feel and think, not what you believe your partner feels and thinks."
Using "I" statements can frame your words in your own perspective, and can make space for your and your boo to clearly express whatever you’re feeling.
No one knows your relationship better than you do. And if you and your partner have healthy boundaries and open communication — you know the types of arguments that feel healthy and productive. Of course, if you ever feel like you have your own list of "off-limits" topics, it is always OK to share that with your partner. Healthily boundaries make all types of relationships better, and sometimes, the best way to handle relationship conflicts is by talking about the way you talk to each other.
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