Hi Amanda. Every time that my partner and I attempt to have a serious conversation we end up arguing! It is really frustrating as I feel this is pulling us apart. We can’t just talk to each other any more and we end up keeping our feelings bottled up. What can I do?
One of the most common questions our readers ask is what to do when every time they and their partner have a serious conversation they end up arguing. I have four simple rules for both of you to follow when you would like to have a serious, sensitive or just difficult discussion but are afraid that it might escalate to an out of control argument.
Communication issues between couples, especially during arguments are not unusual between couples. Don’t let this get to you… So he is a little irritable, you are little stubborn. It doesn’t take much for you two to end up having a massive argument during a serious conversation. Just follow the rules below to prevent it from happening again.
Rule no 1: Make sure the timing is right for your serious conversation
If you are planning to discuss a topic that is a little sensitive with him, might end up annoying you or just simply want to vent some steam make sure the discussion takes place after both of you have finished working, the kids have gone to bed, the football match has ended and your favorite TV show has finished. Why? So you can have 100% of each other’s attention! That-way both of you will be fully dedicated to the discussion and won’t be unnecessarily irritated because you’ve interrupted whatever you were in the middle of doing.
Rule no 2: Choose the right place for your battles
If you feel that you have a particularly heated topic to discuss then it is probably best if you take your loved one out for a cup of coffee, tea or some dinner and have your serious conversation then. Both of you will be more relaxed, open, friendly, have less distractions (no iPad, laptop or TV to distract him) and be more hesitant to make a scene, so you are more likely to have a decent conversation.
Rule no 3: Its all about your body language
Show him that you are listening to his side of the story and there is no better way than using your body language. According to recent research, 93% of all our daily communication is non verbal so physically demonstrating that you are listening is equally or more important than just telling him so. Specifically leave your phone in your bag, stop looking at the TV, hold his hand and look at him deep in his eyes. He will immediately notice this sudden change in your posture, he will feel calmer because of your touch and say whatever is on his mind in a more collected and composed fashion as he will not feel that he’s struggling to get your attention.
Rule no 4: Take deep breaths and count to 10
We have all been caught by surprise. Your loved one has just thrown a bombshell at you and, of course, the natural reaction is to tense up and start having a heated argument. This is not the way to have a constructive argument and a serious conversation! There is a very simple way to combat that feeling. All you need to do is understand your brain chemistry. When angry your brain is flooded with adrenaline which is linked to sudden bursts of strength and energy. This is the natural fight or flight response that is triggered when our body feels threatened. And when angry your body just wants to fight and is chemically preparing for it. So how can you suppress its symptoms and calm yourself down? Its simple. Count to 10! Adrenaline is very short lived and giving yourself some time for your body to adjust will reduce your emotions of anger and allow you to diffuse the situation instead of escalating it.
Did you recently have a big argument when attempting a serious conversation with your loved one? Let us know how you felt and if there is anything that you would have done differently. We are here to listen.