If your'e human, you're going to have fights with your partner. Learn how to decrease the damage.
1. KINDLY ACKNOWLEDGE
After a period of time you first want to briefly kindly acknowledge (to yourself) what happened. Let yourself think over what happened for no more than 5 minutes. Check in with yourself and see if there are deep wounds. Now bring a feeling of kindness and effective communication towards yourself like you would as you comfort a child who misses their mother. Simply say, "it’s okay."
An example of how this may play out in your mind is: "I can’t believe he hurt me like that. And why did I have to say that hurtful thing to him? I feel both guilty and hurt. Okay (deep breath). I’m going to be kind to myself knowing that what I just went through was really difficult. It’s okay that it happened. It is in the past." Saying it’s okay does not mean that what happened was okay. It simply means that you have no choice but to accept something that already occurred.
2. SCAN FOR ISSUES OF POWER AND INSECURITY
It’s important to own your own role in an argument with your partner. One of the ways to do so is to check in with yourself after you reviewed what happened and determine if Power or Insecurity were involved in the argument. Your ability to rebound from an argument depends on how relevant these two issues are.
Power: Do you feel that you have power in this relationship? Did you feel powerful or powerless during the fight? This includes feeling (or lack of) heard and understood. Do you feel your presence, thoughts and opinions truly matter in the context of your relationship? If you don’t (or if you have too much power), then this is something that you have to do some internal work on (not today, tomorrow) and try to figure out why that is. Fights are often about power imbalances and control.
Insecurity: Do you feel confident that your partner is with you for a reason? When one or both people in a couple feel insecure in their relationship their fights often become manifestations of insecurity coming from one or both partners. If this is the case, much of the work related to this may need to be internal.
3. PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED
You already acknowledged what happened once and now you’re moving on. Pretend that the argument occurred yesterday and you just woke up and it’s a new day. Take it a step further and imagine that yesterday didn’t even happen. The fight didn’t happen. Being able to compartmentalize is important when trying to rebound from a fight. This trick is challenging at first and must be practiced. Over time it becomes easier and easier to draw a line between yesterday (an argument) and today.
4. FORWARD THINKING
Use distraction to think about what you want to make of the rest of your day. Not even related to your relationship necessarily but if you can find a light-hearted way to reconnect, even better. Just know that your partner may not have the same coping strategies you have so they may need some space.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE VULNERABLE
After a fight it is not the time to hold onto pride. Chances are you both were hurt in some way so increasing the damage that may have already occurred to someone you love is a waste of both of your time. After a little time goes by (try to not let more than an hour go by) try to gently reconnect with your partner. Certainly don’t push it if they can’t be vulnerable again yet. But be warm and open when they are ready. That’s not throwing yourself at them. That’s being resilient and present.
*These are 5 suggestions for getting over a routine fight but should not be applied to more serious issues such as abuse.