I Always Used to Pick Unnecessary Fights With My Partner — Here’s How I Finally Stopped

It hasn’t been easy. However much you love your partner, living with another human during a pandemic has been testing, to say the least. I’ve learnt a lot about myself (and him!), which I could probably have waited a few more years to deal with.

But hey, I’m grateful for the experience.

We’ve done the relationship thing in a different order. We’ve dealt with (a lot) of the serious sh*t in the first two years of our relationship, and now, we get to do fun things like go on dates outside of the house, mingle with each other’s friends and get dressed up and go to parties.

Although I could go on about how proud I am that we’ve made it through this together (and I am very proud), I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the tough times. Lockdowns have a way of bringing out the worst in people — understandably — and when we found ourselves feeling cooped up, I have to admit we did take it out on each other.

Having unnecessary fights are actually sometimes necessary, so that you can come out the other side and realise how unnecessary they were. Usually, when you’re feeling frustrated, you take it out on a bowl of ice cream and rom-com, but when there’s someone else there, it can be super easy to be annoyed at them, just ’cause.

And, as we’re well and truly in the holiday season, I know it can be a particularly easy time to pick fights. But after the year we’ve had, don’t you think we all deserve to have a nice, stress-free break? Well, I think we do.

So, because of that, I’ve put together a list of all the little tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past two years that have helped me steer clear of petty fights with my boo. You’re welcome!

Remember That This Feeling Will Pass

You might be feeling super mad right now. Maybe your partner hasn’t done the dishes for a week, or they keep leaving empty toilet rolls on the dispenser. Maybe you’ve told them you’d like it if they did these things, and they seem to have not listened. It’s very understandable to be mad about it, but it’s important to remember that this current feeling of extreme annoyance will settle. It might not go away completely, but trust me, your boo is way more likely to take your feelings on board if you’re not fuming when you tell them. Take a minute, calm your nerves, do the thing you want done and try to move on from angry feelings. Remember: these feelings impact you the most.

Understand Your Own Expectations

We all have these expectations of the people that we choose to be with, which are sometimes unrealistic and unfair. No one you ever date will be perfect in every way, and everyone is learning. You want others to be patient with you, so you’ve got to be patient in return. If you have an expectation that isn’t being met, it can be really therapeutic to do some self-reflection and see if you can find where this expectation comes from. If you can understand it, then you’ll likely put less pressure on it and be able to better explain it to your boo. Through understanding your expectations, try to take responsibility of them. This can be super hard to do, but no one can read your mind and no one knows your history with this particular expectation. It’s yours, and if you really can’t deal without it, then you need to find an approachable way to talk about it.

Take Some Alone Time

Sometimes it can be scary to take alone time, because walking away can feel like you’re giving up on each other or ending things on “bad terms”. But alone time can actually be very beneficial, especially if you’ve just started to argue. Alone time gives you space to reflect on what you want to say, and whether the issue at hand is actually as big as it feels. It’s also a really empowering way to get through an argument, because it reminds you that independence is important, and that there are two sides to each argument. Try to take some time alone in a considerate way. Don’t just storm out of the room and slam the door. Level your emotions, and ask them if it’s okay for you to both take some time and come back to the conversation in a bit.

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence

Silence is actually really healthy in a relationship, but this is something I didn’t always know. I am the kind of person who feels the need to fill space with words, and I used to take silence as passive-aggressiveness. But silence is really powerful. You might be angry at each other but are silent, which is okay — silence is better than saying things you don’t mean. Try not to take silence as a negative thing. If your partner just wants some silence, respect that. They probably just need a little bit of space, which is often a reflection of them, and relationships can get a bit claustrophobic for everyone.

Vent to an Outside Source

If you need to let your frustration out, call upon a confidante to help you. We all have that friend or family member we can vent to, and sometimes all you need to do is get it off your chest, get some outside perspective, and move right along. Outside sources can help you to see what’s really going on — you might actually be having some irrational thoughts and feelings — and they can also validate your feelings, but put them into perspective. You don’t need to discuss every moment of frustration with your partner. More often than you think, things can be resolved within yourself.