So you had a fight. You spent hours arguing over who was right, placing blame, and standing your ground. You may have even said some things you didn’t mean. No matter what stage of a relationship you’re in, inevitably disagreements will happen. It’s never an easy process, and can at times be very unpleasant. But how you recover from those disagreements determines how you grow, as individuals and as a couple.
Here are 3 helpful hints to guide you (and your partner) towards successfully making up.
- Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean admitting fault.
When arguments happen, one of the hardest things to do is apologize. It’s not uncommon to feel that apologizing automatically means you’re taking the fall for whatever sparked the conflict. Ultimately, what you are doing is taking responsibility for your role in the conflict. It is the first step – and an important one – towards reconciliation. So whether you’re the one receiving or giving the apology, remember it is an attempt to diffuse the tension that has built and open the door for communication. By initiating a truce, you and your partner have an opportunity to step back, take a breath and regroup.
- Compromise is a good thing
When working through differences, it can be challenging not to get all of what you want. But compromise means meeting your partner in the middle and making room for their needs. You need to work together as a team, which includes being able to understand your partner and their perspective. There will be times you get what you want and other times when they do. One thing is certain, by meeting your partner’s needs, they are more inclined to meet yours.
- Don’t dig up the past
When working out your issues, it’s easy to bring up old fights or hurts. You need to be mindful of the issues you’re discussing and stay in the present. Getting caught up in the past only makes the tension worse and runs the risk of escalating the fight without reaching a resolution. Learning how to resolve conflicts as they happen allows you as a couple, to limit the amount of resentment you hold onto in the relationship moving forward.
There is no exact formula for how to make up. Every relationship is different. But making a repair is not about blame or fault. It’s about approaching the situation from a place of self-reflection and learning more about how you behave in a relationship and the impact that you have on your partner. This provides the opportunity for you to grow as a person and become an empathic, loving partner.
By Elly Kuypers, M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy
LinkedIn: Elly Kuypers