To avoid this trap, deal with your partner’s feelings instead of trying to explain or justify them in a way that makes you look better.
Reflect the feelings back in a non-confrontational way. “So, I see you’re upset (or annoyed with me). Let’s talk about it.” Open dialogue and instead of assigning blame, try sharing accountability.
The bottom line is that your partner doesn’t know how to handle his or her upset in a more constructive way, and you can take responsibility for the health of the relationship by providing that education and modeling constructive conflict-resolution.
If you’ve read this far, there’s a good chance you’ve tried—and failed—to save intimate relationships and not understood why. The truth about relationships is that they don’t need to be saved. They need to be nurtured.
Partners don’t need to be managed or fixed. They need to be understood. And conflict doesn’t always need to be explained, but it does always need to be resolved.
Keeping this in mind and making it a practice will make your relationships healthier, more enjoyable, and more likely to go the distance.
Written by Thomas G. Fiffer Originally appeared on The GoodmenProject.com