3 Rules For Handling Conflict That Are Complete Trash, According To A Therapist

You definitely do not need to follow these rules.

couple arguing in their car Estrada Anton / Shutterstock

Relationships can be tricky, especially when it comes to handling conflicts. On one hand, we want to sort things out with our partner and move on.

On the other hand, how we deal with conflict can impact the stability and longevity of our relationships. And most of us unknowingly follow these unwritten rules to keep our relationship intact. However, what if these rules are causing us more harm than good?


Therapist Jeff Guenther discusses the three common rules for handling conflict he believes are actually total nonsense.



The 3 Rules About Conflict That Are Complete Trash

1. Don't go to bed angry.

You often hear a common rule about relationships: Never go to bed angry. But this rule is complete garbage. If both of you are triggered and upset, then it's better to sleep it out.


Guenther says, "It allows you to both access the logical and compassionate parts of your brain."

Clearing your mind is the best way to get into this state of mind. So, if you're angry because your partner is annoyed or upset about something you did, it's sometimes better to sleep on it.

Though uncomfortable, calming down and waiting will give you the energy and patience to resolve the issue together.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Resolve Conflict In Your Relationship When You're Sick And Tired Of Fighting

2. Don't joke around.

During the conflict, it's easy to get caught up in the tension and seriousness of it all. And most people don't want to joke around or lighten the mood because they're worried it might worsen things.


But as Guenther points out, "Adding levity in the middle of a heated debate is an art."

Using humor can help ease tensions and show both you and your partner that the conflict might not be as serious as you initially thought. So, if your humor is received well it can calm the situation down.

"However, that's a big 'if'," says Guenther. The art of joking has to do with timing. And if you don't time your joke perfectly you can worsen the situation.

Weigh the pros and cons of your joke. If you take the risk and it works, congratulations, your relationship is on the fast track to resolution.

But if it fails, you'll likely have a difficult time finding common ground.




RELATED: 10 Tiny Ways Couples Can Immediately Resolve Any Conflict

3. Always compromise.

When you're arguing with your spouse, the goal is usually to find a compromise. You want things to be fair and for both of you to feel satisfied with the outcome.

And yes, compromising is crucial for any relationship. However, through compromising resentment and hurt can begin forming.


If your compromise pushes your partner's boundaries they'll likely begin to feel resentful in your relationship. And slowly, they'll begin closing themselves off.

So, aim for a compromise, but also respect your partner's boundaries. And if you can't find a middle ground because of those boundaries, that's okay. You don't have to agree on everything.

Relationships can be tough, and there's no set rulebook on handling all the challenges that come your way. Every couple has their ways of dealing with conflict that works for them.


But by trying out these three rules, you can improve how you and your partner resolve conflicts, bringing more happiness and stability to your relationship.



RELATED: How Couples That Stay Together Forever Manage Conflict

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.