I never trust couples that claim they don’t fight. I don’t believe them, and even if they aren’t lying, who wants to be with a guy who agrees with everything you say? How boring would that be? The best part of being in a relationship is exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking. If you don’t have any conflict, you’re probably not going to have many sparks.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the most important things a couple should figure out early on is how to fight fairly and effectively. Here’s what not do when you’re engaged in battle….
1. Baggage Claim: There are certain things your current boyfriend does that remind you of things your ex used to do. Maybe he lapses into monosyllabics when you’re trying to get him to discuss his feelings. Perhaps he shuts down and gets pouty when you call him on his bad behavior. Seeing the guy you love act like the ex you loathe can bring all those old, ugly feelings flooding back—but remember who you’re dealing with. He’s not your ex. If you make him pay for the sins of his predecessors, there’s a good chance he will be.
2. Name Game: It may be tempting to impugn his manhood or bust out the potty mouth, but calling someone rude names serves only to make you look like a jerk. The smart and effective arguer makes her point without resorting to name-calling.
3. Ancient History: Remember when he stood you up on your two-week anniversary because his friend had an extra ticket to the Coldplay concert? You get to yell at him about that once. You can’t keep adding it to your laundry list of wrongs every time he gets on your nerves. Besides, two weeks doesn’t count as an anniversary.
4. Scream Queen: You’re furious he left the backdoor open and the dog got out, but shrieking at him like a crazy person isn’t going to bring your pup home, nor is it going to undo what he’s already done.
5. Fault Finder: You’ve always thought those brown Carhartts made him look pear-shaped, and you want to rip your hair out every time he says “lie-berry” instead of “library.” It’s tempting to let ‘er rip when you’ve finally reached the toilet-seat-up breaking point. Don’t. Once you put words into the ether, try as you might you can’t take them back. He doesn’t mention your habit of interjecting French phrases into every day conversation or the sweat pants you busted out when you figured out he was a keeper. Sometimes shutting it is the best solution.