How To Fix A Relationship After A Huge Fight
Happy couples can have heated arguments and fight.
Sometimes during a bad fight, couples will slam doors, walk off, give each other the cold shoulder or the silent treatment, and put-up emotional walls.
Some have very poor communication skills and do things they shouldn’t. They fight poorly, saying things they will later regret, yelling in front of their children or even getting physical.
Relationships, like life itself, can get messy.
Every couple experiences conflict from time to time, and sometimes a conflict can turn into a big, nasty, heated argument.
It is clearly a bad thing when this happens, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. In fact, if handled in a healthy way, a big fight can actually be an opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
No matter how many relationship experts or relationship coaches you see, blogs you read, bullet points you memorize, or therapy sessions you schedule, you’re both going to mess things up sometimes.
That’s okay. That’s good to know. You’re two human beings in a relationship where perfection is not the goal.
You can learn the skills necessary to find a healthy way forward so that the next time, in the heat of the moment, you can use effective communication instead of fighting words to make your point.
The first step in repairing a relationship after a big fight is to take a deep breath and approach the situation with an open mind. This means being willing to listen to your partner’s point of view and understanding their perspective.
It also means being willing to admit your own faults and taking responsibility for any poor communication or negative attitudes that may have contributed to the conflict.
In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to lose sight of the important things that brought you and your partner together in the first place. But in order to fix a relationship after a big fight, it’s important to focus on the good times you’ve shared and the positive things that you appreciate about your partner.
Recovery Is The Goal
The ability to recover is primary.
The hallmark of a good relationship is a strong commitment to each other.
Put simply, successful, resilient couples know when damage control in the aftermath of an argument is necessary and how to repair things effectively.
As a team, you must do what you can to repair the emotional injury and negative feelings with prompt, loving attention.
The best way is to make sure your missteps and mistakes do not go unaddressed, thereby decreasing the risk that neither of you succumbs to resentment or contempt.
Relationship Repair Is Vital, Connection-Preserving Work.
Attempt to understand where the interaction went wrong, and do what you can to ensure your next conversation is more constructive
How Do You Recover And Reconnect After A Big Fight?
My 7 Steps To Fixing a Relationship After A Big Fight Include:
- taking responsibility to promote recovery
- stay present and restore respect
- express affection to maintain a connection
- show real interest to increase clarity
- use humor to ease tension
- take necessary breaks to protect the progress
- prepare to keep an open mind and compromise
To see your relationship thrive, you need to know what successful couples know. Here’s a helpful list of effective relationship repairs to live and love by:
1) Take Responsibility To Promote Recovery
When you understand and are willing to admit your role in a conflict, healing and repair quickly get underway. A heartfelt apology may be in order. It serves as an olive branch intending to show your spouse that you want to be a better partner.
You essentially send your partner a message of cooperation based on maturity and acknowledgment. You also set a clear priority that he or she can appreciate and agree with. One that says you recognize that your relationship is more precious than scoring points in a contest of wills.
The first step, in other words, is that you are determined that no problem should eclipse your connection.
2) Stay Present And Restore Respect
When your partner is sharing their thoughts and feelings with you, stay with them, even if what they are saying is hard to hear and is contrary to your point of view.
Do everything you can to maintain that baseline of honor and respect. Be aware of your own and your partner’s body language and facial expressions as you remain mentally and physically present.
Letting down your defenses is of key importance here. The repair will be most effective if you can resist the urge to become defensive and be in the mindset that your partner may need to vent and just need you to be present. Being able to listen to your spouse’s point of view can go a long way to developing empathy.
Touching and admiration reinforce a sense of unity and belonging.
Interject a brief statement of gratitude and appreciation for your partner’s desire to talk things through with you. Small gestures like lightly touching their hand or their shoulder, holding hands, or leaning in for a quick embrace.
You needn’t gush or crowd each other during heated moments, just reach out. Soften the hard edge of the conflict between you with loving physical contact.
Demonstrate a willingness to remain connected and vulnerable no matter what.
4) Show Real Interest To Increase Clarity
Relationship repair sometimes requires the use of the same communication techniques you might see your couple’s counselor use.
Try to tune in more objectively. Often, it’s just a matter of asking questions and refraining from too many assumptions. You can deescalate and repair the rift between you by simply showing interest in your partner’s perspective without an agenda.
A willingness to listen sincerely shows a willingness to acknowledge.
5) Use Humor To Ease Tension
Quickly become your partner’s friend again with a smile or a little levity. Remind each other that you are still the fun couple you were before things got so intense.
Be genuine and sincere about it and you’ll likely find your partner eager to reconnect this way.
Humor is a positive thing that connects well without a lot of deep emotional discussion. A simple inside joke or a well-placed self-deprecating quip may do the trick.
Allow each other a mental breather with a smile and a little lighthearted acknowledgment. The tension between you will lessen with the reminder that you’re still the “us” that you love.
Giving Space After A Fight
6) Take Necessary Breaks To Protect Progress
Sometimes repairing your relationship means giving each other a bit of breathing space.
Just be careful in the execution. It’s important that you clearly state to your partner how important it is to have a clear respectful conversation, even though you may have different opinions.
Simply share that you need a bit of time away to process the conflict or the points that have been made during your discussion.
Reassure your mate that you will return soon to work on resolving your conflicts. Then, honor your promise.
He or she then can feel good about your ability to disagree, separate, and reunite purposefully.
It is a good idea to make things right between you by making suggestions for mutual agreement.
Use your communication skills to show a willingness to change.
Compromise is a good way to show each other that you are in an equal, respectful relationship, one that works by putting the partnership first.
Effective relationship repairs emphasize improving the emotional climate between you. Your repair attempts needn’t be elaborate. Just be sure they are sincere, employed often, and have compassion.
Feelings can get hurt as a conflict between you becomes more intense. Repairing damage before it becomes insurmountable is the path to a successful relationship.
Never withhold loving affection and the friendship that has kept you close this long. Relationship damage is controlled by increased care, ongoing compassion, and continual attempts to reconnect.
The next time you and your partner have a big fight, remember that it doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship. With the right approach, you can use the conflict as an opportunity to grow closer and to deepen your understanding of each other.
So take a deep breath, approach the situation with an open mind, and focus on effective communication and repair attempts. And if you need extra help, don’t be afraid to reach out to a couples counselor or a relationship expert in private practice.
The truly important thing is that you and your partner feel heard and valued and that you’re both committed to working together to build a healthy relationship.
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About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers, and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.