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How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner

How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner

Just as fights can break a relationship, they can also be used to strengthen it.

Today, I will tell you how to achieve this — how to handle relationship fights better so that you can connect deeper with your partner.

It’s not as complicated as it may seem, but it does demand effort, commitment and dedication.

You see, when relationships get serious, it means the clashing of two worlds. Two persons will share more and more of their lives with one another.

Casual relationships don’t demand any effort, because when something goes wrong, it’s just bye-bye and we forget about it. But if we want to keep that significant other, there are many things we need to change.

First things first…

1. Never Allow Emotions to Get in the Way

Arguments can heat up too quickly if we don’t keep our emotions under check, so the first thing you need to do is to refuse to get emotional.

Go against your own ego, against your own anger, against your fear… even against those feelings of hurt. And, as demanding as it sounds, you also need to go against the feelings that your partner is eliciting in you.

Why? Because if you allow your emotions to speak for you, you will only be adding fuel to the fire.

One thing will lead to another, and suddenly emotions will get the best of both of you.

So, as difficult as it may seem, engage in the argument with the complete determination to not let your emotions get in the way. Refuse to react to them and move on to the only way you can handle relationship fights properly:

Direct communication.

Although we may want to express ourselves freely, we cannot allow emotions, or miscommunication to get in the way.

2. Don’t Fight Fire with Fire

Whit this I mean that, whenever you are solving a problem with your partner, you have to refrain from using hurtful language, rhetoric and sarcasm. They will only add an emotional overtone that you definitely don’t want to get in the way.

We may not be able to get inside our partner’s mind, but if there’s one certain thing we can do, that is to control our own actions.

If you use only direct communication, you will get the point across, and that’s all you need to do.

The real test of all relationship fights is to traverse the emotional field and simply get the point across so that it can be solved. Once you achieve that, communication does the trick.

And now we have to talk about communication.

In order for you to get the message across, you must do the obvious:

Refrain from attacking and stating your thoughts, needs and concerns without any additional information.

But also, a very important thing to do, is to listen and understand your partner’s concerns. If you think it’s all about you communicating your needs, you would be forgetting about half of the relationship: Your partner.

3. Listen and Understand Your Partner

It doesn’t matter if this relationship fight arose from your complains or concerns, it’s also important to understand your partner’s position. Once you do this, you can communicate better.

You know where you are, and where you need to go (figuratively). And now you also need to know where your partner is standing, and how to get to common grounds.

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This is starting to make sense, right?

Now we need to actually get into handling argument.

There is a widespread toxicity between couples nowadays. A toxic habit to use love for the other as a bargaining chip.

If you are doing something I don’t like, well, then maybe I don’t love you anymore.

Oh, you are not obeying me? Well, then I take love away.

I am sure you know what I mean, and if you want to connect deeper with your partner, you cannot do this.

4. Put Love Before Everything Else

A point where you and your partner decide if you will keep walking together… or not.

I know it sounds drastic, but it’s true.

Be aware that every argument is either solved successfully, the breakup point or kept as resentment by the unsatisfied partner if the relationship goes on.

If love is taken away on discretion, used as a means to control the partner, it’s called manipulation. And manipulation is fundamentally going against good relationships.

Love must be put before everything and anything. And I suggest you start your communication by reminding this to yourself and your partner.

This is something that I personally say, and it’s a great start to handle relationship fights:

“Look, I love you, and that’s above this argument, and so I need to tell you that I feel… “

And then, you state your thoughts and concerns, as well as asking clarifying questions to reassure and care for the other. This is extremely powerful and it allows for communication to flow correctly.

5. Embrace Change

If you do this, then fear of breaking up, fear of abandonment, fear of being neglected and “discarded”, fear of being controlled… they all go away.

We may not be used to hearing this, but think about it for a moment…

… it’s the very fears that lie at the core of most relationship fights.

And love trumps them all!

Start from love, from unconditional love, and you can conquer all relationship fights.

Everything sounds beautiful so far, right?

Now we have to delve into the not-so-pleasant aspects of overcoming an argument…

The ones that demand more from ourselves…

After you both have stated your concerns and thoughts, and after communication is flowing smoothly and unemotionally, you need to get to action.

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And what does action means in relationship fights?

Change.

Yes, whatever the problem is, if you want to solve it, it will mean change.

You can talk with your partner and apologize and fill each other with love but, if the problem is not corrected, then the couple is doomed to failure.

6. Forget Blame, Focus on Responsibility

For example: If the problem is that your partner didn’t listen to you and was chatting all the time on the phone, you need that attitude changed, right?

What’s an apology without a changed attitude? It’s nothing, so there needs to be change and that goes for you too.

In order to determine what needs to be changed, we have to let go of the concept of blame and substitute it for responsibility.

If I yell at my wife, apologize, and do it again, then nothing happened.

An apology is not a blank slate to go and make mistakes all over again. It makes sense only with a changed attitude and corrected mistakes.

That’s why responsibility must be assigned to whomever made a mistake. And that’s why I said we need to let go of the concept of blame. Complaining is not to make the other feel bad.

It’s funny how our egos work, isn’t it?

7. Tame Your Ego

I yell at you. You tell me I am guilty of deteriorating the relationship. And I feel bad for you calling me out on that?

As absurd as it sounds, we need to get around this problem that is so common.

Whenever you are having a relationship fight, be humble, and dare to recognize your own mistakes.

Connecting deeper with your partner will almost invariably mean change.

As I stated above, it is the clash of two worlds. Two different concepts of life that need to align… or not.

And the only way the concepts can possibly align in a non-toxic way is if both persons involved are humble and brave enough to change whenever it is necessary.

This is where you will find more friction. You will create a lot of resistance here, and you must fight against that resistance and allow change in yourself.

It all comes to priorities: It’s either your ego or the relationship.

8. Prioritize Your Relationship

I know, once again, that it may sound drastic, but if we don’t bring it down to a simple binary choice, the relationship can really deteriorate.

Putting the other person above the relationship is also negative, as it creates an imbalance, a lack of reciprocity.

And that goes against healthy relationships.

So, dare to confront yourself and recognize when it’s time to change.

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This is a very powerful way to connect deeper with your partner. He or she will know that you are taking responsibility if your actions. And it will also be clear that you prioritize your partner and the relationship.

Whenever you find yourself looking for excuses to justify something you did, resort to honesty and authenticity.

It it’s time to change, it’s time to change. Doing all this will allow you to have a clear vision, and to know when the scale is tipping against you.

Now, this cannot be a one-sided effort. Ask your partner to work with you the same way you are doing it. That’s the only way you will successfully handle relationship fights.

9. Be the Change First

You may be thinking that this guide is a little bit one sided, but think about it:

No one talks about your responsibility. No one is making you accountable.

And it’s not because I am assigning the blame to you, and it’s not because I want to burden you with the whole responsibility either. In fact, the reason is very simple:

If you don’t bring this to the table, your partner most likely won’t.

And if you start by taking these actions, you can ask your partner to mirror them.

In the end, it’s all for the sake of connecting deeper with your partner. And we are so used to keep distance with our partners because of fear of being hurt.

But you know what’s lacking in the relationship: Responsibility.

If you bring that to the table, you are so close to creating a deep, meaningful relationship, or strengthening it!

Once you and your partner have assigned responsibilities it’s time to wrap it up in a way that satisfies both of you.

And yes, this is all done direct communication. Explicit and detailed.

10. Never Assume

Don’t assume your partner knows something, and don’t use ambiguity to allow for actions that may result in a future fight.

Once you have reached an understanding, a great way to end the argument is to apologize and to state what is going to be changed in the attitude or relationship.

For example: I apologize for yelling at you. I will control my emotions and I won’t yell at you again.

This makes you (or your partner) accountable. And it is necessary for a healthy relationship.

These actions craft beautiful love.

You take responsibility, and so does your partner. You have your partner’s back, and she’s got yours too!

Conclude verbally and there will be no emotional residues. No possibility of encountering the same fight again in the future.

It may take a couple of tries, but take your time to solve it all.

Now, there are some last-minute recommendations I want to give you…

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11. Handle Problems and Concerns One at a Time

We can easily get lost in a relationship fight by bringing up other issues that are not current at the moment.

You guessed it: That’s the product of an argument handled incorrectly, and of emotional residue.

So, in order to keep this from ruining every single argument, start by dealing with the issue at hand first.

And then, after you both have stated your conclusions, your apology and the change you are going to make, take on the next issue. And yes, this can be taxing.

It will take time, effort, patience and persistence. But your relationship is worth it.

I also don’t want you to think that all the weight must fall on your shoulders. As I stated above, this is just to instruct you on how to properly handle relationship fights. Once you understand, you must make sure your partner is also willing to make the same effort and take the same responsibility that you are taking.

Never be afraid of pointing out something that is wrong.

12. Remind Yourself That YOU Matter

You need to be heard and your concerns need to be addressed, even if it takes time and effort; even if you need your partner to change so that the relationship grows.

Emotions are sure to arise even if you have made the decision to not get emotional. That is natural. But refuse to engage in hostilities with your partner, even in the worst of cases.

Don’t respond to yelling by yelling. Don’t respond to insults with insults. Handle hostilities and ask your partner to refrain from them.

But if they persist, it may also be a sign that your partner is not as willing to make an effort as you are.

And this takes me to the last recommendation in this guide: Be brave.

If your partner is not willing to change. If he/she is not willing to recognize mistakes, apologize and change… Then maybe it’s not a relationship worth pursuing.

Be brave to see this. It’s better to be alone than in bad company.

But if you want to connect deeper with your partner, use this guide to solve any relationship fight you might encounter.

Love Trumps It All

By being the change you want to see in your partner, you are being the solution.

This is unconventional, because we tend to escape additional responsibilities.

But if you dare to do this, if your relationship is worth it, you are creating the strongest bond of them all:

Love. True love.

And there’s nothing stronger than that.

More About Relationships

Featured photo credit: Jacob Mejicanos via unsplash.com

More by this author

George Alonso

Mental Health Expert, creator of the Transcendental Mindfulness Therapy.

9 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Calm Your Mind Having an Emotional Breakdown? 15 Ways to Re-Center Yourself Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional? How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner Why You Keep Getting Into Toxic Relationships (And How to Stop)

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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