The first fight with your boyfriend or girlfriend is stressful and difficult, but it's also an essential turning point in the relationship. Learn how to survive the first fight, deal with conflict, and improve communication with the one you love.
Time Required: It varies from couple to couple.
- Remind yourself that conflict is normal and important for the relationship to move forward. If you're going to be with someone for more than a few weeks, you're going to need to show your true self, and sometimes that involves disagreeing with others.
- Also remind yourself that every successful relationship is built in part on the ability of couples to disagree. Being able to resolve these conflicts makes the relationship stronger.
- Try to stay calm when you argue or disagree with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Fighting isn't fun, but it doesn't need to be scary. The more low-key you can keep the disagreement, the easier it will be for both of you to work out an agreeable solution.
- Try to see the other person's point of view. Nobody's perfect, and maybe something you said -- or the way you said it -- hit a nerve with them. Here's a great opportunity to find out something that bugs your partner and work with them to find a way of approaching the subject in a way that makes them more comfortable.
- When you argue with your girlfriend or boyfriend, try to learn where their frustration comes from and/or why they're feeling hurt. Have they had a bad experience with someone else in the past? Are they insecure about a particular issue? What can you do to help and be supportive?
- If possible, emphasize to your girlfriend or boyfriend that your relationship comes first and that you care about them a lot. Make sure you sincerely mean both of these things, and look your partner in the eye when you say them.
- Determine what kind of fight you're dealing with. Some fights are about a difference in opinion, while others are about something that's more black and white: cheating, lying, stealing, etc.
- If you're dealing with a black-and-white issue and you're the person who's been lied to or cheated on, you need to decide what needs to happen for you to regain the other person's trust. If you're the one who's in the wrong, you need to be prepared to apologize and fix your behavior immediately.
- In most cases, the issue won't be so clear-cut and a compromise can be reached that both people find satisfactory. In making a compromise, think about what you're willing to give up for the sake of the relationship and what you expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to be willing to sacrifice.
- Pay attention to the balance of power when working out the issue you're fighting about. One person may have to give up more than the other in the process of making the compromise: Consider whether that's fair to them and if it solves the problem for you, too. If you end up benefiting more from the compromise than your partner does, be willing to bend a bit more the next time the two of you fight.
- Notice the ways that you partner sees the world differently from you. In the future, use this information to ask them questions about their values, ideals and what they expect from the relationship. For example, if you find out that your partner is very turned off by your friends' gossip but you don't think their gossip is a big deal, you'll need to find a way for the two of you to talk about it.
- After you resolve the fight, do something fun with your partner that reminds them that you care about them and can move on from the disagreement.
- Sometimes the issue will crop up again or you'll find yourself holding a grudge. If either of these things happens, bring up the issue again in a calm way and try to renegotiate the compromise.