Newsflash – if you are in any type of relationship, at some point you will have a disagreement. We won’t always agree with one another – that’s normal. However, when we don’t look to solve disagreements in a healthy way, they often can turn into ugly fights.
One thing every couple should establish, and really all relationships, is rules for “fighting fair.” If you want to solve your disagreements and keep them from escalating into something mean and awful, then it’s appropriate to have some guidelines.
For instance, it’s hopefully a given, that your disagreements shouldn’t turn physical. Hitting, slapping, etc. is never acceptable. This includes things like throwing objects or punching walls.
No name calling is another rule, you should have. If you have kids, not fighting in front them, is a good rule too. Saying you want to leave or get a divorce, should be taken out of your arguments – as these become threats that create insecurity and are not conducive to solving a problem.
Sometimes you hear of couples who talk about not going to bed angry. That might be a rule for you, but maybe trying to solve an argument when you are tired isn’t the best for you either. This means you might need to table resolving an argument for a time when both people are rested.
The point is – establishing rules for fighting fair is not only healthy, it will actually create an atmosphere that may allow you to actually resolve your differences, rather than escalating into something worse.
**Eric has his Masters in Counseling and works as a private practice counselor**
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