Feeling Stuck In Useless Relationship Fights? 3 Steps To Get Out

Feeling Stuck In Useless Relationship Fights

2. Change the Cycle

The partner who is prone to demanding must soften his or her approach, and the withdrawer needs to stay connected and not shut down. Bethany realized that her style might come across as aggressive at times, so she practised asking questions or bringing up concerns in a gentle and constructive way.

Tyler practised listening non-defensively when an issue was brought up. He tried to hear to understand rather than retort, and he requested a break if he wasn’t up for a discussion. He tried not to make assumptions about Bethany’s intentions.

Discussions Are Always Better Than Arguments
Feeling Stuck In Useless Relationship Fights? 3 Steps To Get Out

Also read Love vs. Attachment: 5 Differences Between Emotional Connection and Insecure Attachment

3. Take a Time-Out

Both learned to stop and separate when their conversations began to escalate and their thoughts became accusing and defensive. They did this with the commitment of getting back together later (important to Bethany) with a short and focused conversation (important to Tyler).

Immature People Always Want To Win An Argument
Feeling Stuck In Useless Relationship Fights? 3 Steps To Get Out

With practice, Bethany and Tyler got better at catching themselves when emotions revved up and thoughts became distorted. This kept them out of the useless escalations that had been costing them energy and closeness. “Now when we get frustrated, we at least have a good reason for it!” Tyler joked. They got annoyed less often and handled it better by changing their thinking and giving each other space. The next time Tyler felt sick, he put a Post-it on his door: “No fights about nothing.”


References
Jason B. Whiting, Megan Oka, and Stephen T. Fife, "Appraisal Distortions and Intimate Partner Violence: Gender, Power, and Interaction," Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 38, no. s1 (2012): 133-149.
Sue Johnson, Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. London: Piatkus, 2008.
Written by: Jason Whiting
Originally appeared on:Psychology Today
Republished with permission
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Feeling Stuck In Useless Relationship Fights? 3 Steps To Get Out
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