Don’t: Act like nothing happened
Ignoring what started a relationship fight or pretending it never happened isn’t a wise idea. “Sweeping it under the rug assumes your partner is satisfied with the outcome. But making a clear effort to reconnect is the key to a successful outcome. Sharing what you have learned after a fight can help repair the damage,” says Lesli M. W. Doares, a marriage consultant and coach with a private practice in Cary, North Carolina, and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After With More Intention, Less Work. “And, make no mistake, there is always damage.” If you don’t let your partner know that what you fought about bothers you, your resentment could bubble up in the future and you could just eventually explode. “Something triggered the fight that must be addressed,” says Laurel House, a dating and empowerment coach on E!’s Famously Single. Remember to pick your battles when assessing if something really warrants further discussion or decide if you can let it slide. “The important things you ignore are the things that manifest into larger issues,” says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing). Remember: These phrases are guaranteed to make any fight worse.
Don’t: Share details of your fight on Facebook, all over cyberspace, and to anyone who will listen.
It’s normal to want validation for how you feel from friends, family, and anyone who will listen. But your fight isn’t for public consumption. “This can be really damaging to the trust your partner has for you,” says Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. And once you put something out in the public forum, you can’t take it back. And people will likely judge your relationship—not for the better. “Unlike you, all they have are the ‘facts’ that you presented, making it harder for them to forgive and forget,” says House. Instead, keep what you fight about to yourself. Do you really need to talk it out? House suggests speaking with a trusted confidant who can provide balanced and honest advice. Here are signs you can totally trust your partner.
Don’t: Let too much time pass before you resolve it
The longer the argument festers, the angrier you’ll feel. “Unresolved anger and hurt feelings can grow if they’re not worked out in a timely manner,” says Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. And the harder it will be to overcome the dispute. “By letting time slip by, you’re going to lengthen the disagreement and continue to suffer from the stress associated with it,“ says Stacey Laura Lloyd, health and relationships writer and coauthor of Is Your Job Making You Fat? How to Lose the Office 15…and More! “In addition, with the passage of time, it’s more difficult to recall and agree upon the exact factors that caused the conflict in the first place, making it even tougher to resolve.” Once you’ve had some time to cool off, revisit the issue and work it out. For men, this timeout is especially beneficial. “When a man gets a break, he turns his brain off to the situation for a while,” says Mike Goldstein, founder and lead dating coach of EZ Dating Coach. “He can then come back to the situation in a more open and loving state of mind to more rationally access what is happening and how to find a solution with his partner.” Here’s what happy couples do when they fight.