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September 10, 2019

Are You Trapped in a Never-Ending Cycle of Relationship Arguments?

Arguments are a part of every relationship but if you find yourselves having heated disagreements over the same issues over and over again, or if every conversation with your partner ends up in a fight, you may be trapped in a never-ending cycle of relationship arguments. Find out how to recognize the warning signs and address your specific argument patterns to turn relationship conflict into opportunity

“One minute we’re talking about our weekend plans and the next minute we’re screaming at each other.”

Have you noticed that even small topics quickly cascade into full-blown arguments with your partner? This is a very common pattern in relationship arguments and resolving it depends on two critical steps: recognizing the signs and addressing the underlying issues.

1. Know the warning signs

Every couple is different so recognizing the warning signs will depend on you and your partner’s unique communication style. Typically, things such as walking away from a talk, raising your voice or switching to accusatory style, and using heated language point to a discussion quickly snowballing into an argument. If you notice any of these signs (or other, more characteristic of you and your partner), check in with your partner. Sometimes, bad timing is to blame: find out if this is a bad time for them to have a conversation and together figure out when a good time may be. Avoid speaking down or the “mind-reading” trap: trying to read into what your partner is saying and interpreting it for the worse. Steer the conversation back to the original topic if you find yourself drifting back to old, unresolved issues.

2. Speaking/listening skills

One of the key issues that turn discussions into relationship arguments is talking over each other. Focus on your speaking and listening skills, instead. Try the Speaker/Listener exercise:
the partner in the speaker role shares their point and does their best to open up. Once finished, the Listener recaps what they’ve heard, which gives the Speaker an opportunity to
clarify misunderstandings. After this, swap roles and try your best to avoid using any blaming or judging language in either role.

3. Break the cycle

Do you find you and your partner seem to have the same argument over and over again? Typically, this is a sign that you’re’ leaving arguments unresolved. These can “bleed” into later discussions and escalate even innocent topics into full-blown shouting matches. When you find yourself struggling with a problem, use the Speaker/Listener dynamics to resolve it fully.

4. Write it down

This approach to conflict resolution is particularly suitable if you would like to discuss a partner’s pain point or revisit an old argument. Writing your thoughts and feelings down can
help you structure them better. Go over the text before you hand it to your partner to ensure there are no instances of blaming or judging language to avoid being sucked into the same
pattern.

5. Know when to avoid discussion

To avoid relationship arguments, know the appropriate times to have “a talk”. Steer clear of serious topics if you or your partner are distracted (e.g. driving), surrounded by friends, children or family, if either of you is tired, hungry or ill, and on special occasions (as emotions are already heated). Follow these tips the next time you feel yourself and your partner being sucked into the cycle of never-ending relationship arguments.

Learn how to improve your relationship! We have free programs available for eligible couples, find out if you qualify:

www.ourrelationship.com/couples

Grant Funding

Funding for these programs was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number 90FM0063

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