Winning An Argument Should Never Be The Goal
While initially, one of the benefits of lockdown was the chance to spend more time with your partner. Think movie nights curled up on the sofa, romantic meals together, a chance to reconnect physically… However, with so much time together in a confined space, it is understandable that there’ll be habits you can’t stand (did they always eat so noisily?!) or issues and tension that may arise.
Of course, if you’re having a tough time, or the tension is too much, it is now so much harder to cool off. Lockdown means we can’t use our usual tension breakers of meeting up with friends or taking a break elsewhere.
Feeling trapped at home when there is an atmosphere can be really stifling.
However, the one good thing about arguing during lockdown with your partner is that you are more likely to address these issues head-on. Rather than sending passive-aggressive texts or through avoiding each other, you can have a face-to-face discussion to really clear the air. In fact, research suggests that resolving arguments in-person makes for happier couples.
So, how can you successfully and healthily argue with your partner so that you both win?
Does An Argument Mean Our Relationship Is Over?
For some couples, arguing is rare; for others, bickering is a regular occurrence. There is no right and wrong for relationships. Just because you argue doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your relationship. In fact, an argument is a sign that both sides care about the relationship and are emotionally invested in the situation.
So much so, that many therapists say that when couples claim they never fight, an immediate red flag goes up. It is incredibly rare that two independent individuals will agree 100% of the time. It is more likely that if there are no arguments at all, then one or more of the partners has checked out emotionally from the situation.
So, if you’re worried about an increase in arguments and your relationship is doomed. Don’t. Instead, work out the best way for both of you to win an argument.
How To Win An Argument
When you’re arguing with your partner, it is so easy to become involved in point-scoring in order to ‘win’. This is often why past issues are brought up during an argument as a way to have one-upmanship. However, delivering that final blow which your partner cannot respond to isn’t winning.
Winning an argument is actually having a mutually agreed resolution that helps to solve the problem and increases the happiness and harmony for everyone. Winning is making sure the issue doesn’t bother either of you again, not simply proving your partner’s argument is flawed.
Remember, if you try to win an argument against your partner, you are both losing. If you switch your focus from winning to understanding each other, you both win.
Remember, you’re a team, not competitors.
How To Argue With Your Partner In Lockdown
Create The Right Environment
If you need to clear the air with your partner, then make sure the setting is right. You both need to be free to talk. Make sure neither of you are tired, emotional, or are consuming alcohol. Remember, if your heart rate increases, adrenaline and other stress hormones are released in the body. So, stay calm, focus on your breath.
If your partner needs to walk away, then don’t follow. They need the break and following will only cause the stress to increase.
Make sure you’re both aware of your need to talk and have a comfortable and neutral space where you can both sit comfortably. It is much better to sit rather than stand as this can be confrontational.
Stay Factual And Focused
Focus on sentences that begin with ‘I’ rather than ‘you’. Opening with ‘you’ feels accusatory and like your putting them at fault. Furthermore, it is easy to stray into ‘you never’ or ‘you always’ statements which are not factual.
Instead, follow this sentence structure:
I feel (insert emotion) about (the situation) because (explain the reason).
Remember to allow your partner the same respect and listen to their thoughts, just as you would want them to listen to you.
It is also crucial to stay focused on the situation that is causing the upset. Don’t escalate or bring up other issues as a productive conversation can quickly go off the rails.
Say Yes, Not No
In an argument, it can be almost instinctive to disagree with everything your partner says. Often, the disagreements interrupt their flow. This shows disrespect that you are not fully listening and respecting what they say. Instead, try saying yes, to show you understand your partner’s point of view.
When you both start saying yes to each other, you are showing you are working against the same problem together, rather than a stalemate where you both refuse to accept each other’s point of view.
Everyone Has Uninterrupted Time To Speak
Set a timer of five minutes so that you can both fully listen to each other. During this time, each person can consciously explain what’s going on, without fear of interruption. The listening partner should focus on really listening without any form of interruption (this means no eye-rolling or negative/offensive body language). Focus, instead, on being receptive, open and compassionate.
At the end of each partner’s time, the listener should then recap what the other person said to show listening and understanding. Start with the phrase; ‘Thank you for sharing, what I understood from that is…’
You can keep this exercise going until you both feel heard, listened to and understood. From there, you can discuss a resolution. However, in most cases, there is no need for a resolution; it is just about being listened to.
How To Deal With The Aftermath Of An Argument
If a big argument has escalated out of control, your home may have a very frosty atmosphere at the moment. The best thing to do in this situation is to give each other a sufficient amount of space until they are receptive to talk. Remember, everyone processes arguments differently, and just because you’re ready to clear the air, doesn’t mean your partner is. Respect that space as much as possible.
Don’t Punish Your Partner
Silent treatment, snide comments or muttering under your breath are all ways that you can extend the argument and punish your partner. Get rid of the passive-aggressive behaviours and focus on resolving the issue as clearly the argument wasn’t resolved at the time.
Try the listening exercise again to ensure you both feel listened to and understood. Then, together, work out the moral of the story. Why did the argument blow up? What has the experience taught you about communication? Was there an underlying source of the problem?
Understand The Escalation
Disputes can escalate for a range of reasons. Maybe you were both tired, stressed, anxious or unprepared for such communication. Often arguments escalate because of external factors, not the issue itself. So, take time to figure out why it happened and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Cheer Yourself Up
It feels easier to wallow in self-pity and to lick your wounds after an argument. However, this can cause the negativity to extend. Instead, try to pick yourself up with self-care so that your body relaxes. You may find once you feel good about yourself that you can see the argument differently.
Try to forgive your partner for the argument, understanding their side. It is important to forgive yourself too. You may have said things in the heat of the moment that you regret. But you are human, and it happens. Look out for your triggers so you can avoid it in the future and allow yourself to move on.
Help For Your Relationship Problems
Whatever is going on with you and your partner, hypnotherapy can really help. I offer my blended therapy approach virtually so that you can rectify your relationship issues from the comfort of your own home. Together, we’ll take the time to uncover the root cause of any tension or triggers, such as jealousy, lack of self-esteem or anxiety to give you the practical tools you need to improve your relationship.
Get started today by booking your first free call by emailing email@example.com.