A lovers’ quarrel can escalate into a full-out dispute where both parties are deeply emotionally invested. That lovers’ spark can quickly grow into a raging inferno. Sometimes in these situations, all reason goes out the window. Clinical psychologist Dr. Janet Hall, author of Fight-Free Families, explains how fair fighting can be used to air differences and find compromises both people can live with.
The top four reasons why a lovers’ quarrel escalates into a heated dispute:
- Attention - It may not be rational, but some lovers crave attention so much that receiving negative attention is better than nothing at all. If you are with someone who uses your disputes as an opportunity to gain your attention, try giving them some positive attention instead.
- Past Issues - A lover who is hurt by something you said or did, may want you to hurt you in return. They will bring up past issues and dwell on personal flaws that have little if anything to do with the issue at hand. In this situation it is helpful to keep the focus on the current matter rather than following your lover’s lead. Dr. Hall suggests ‘planning a time to air your other gripes’, which should help to relieve some tension.
- Competition - Some lovers view each dispute as a test of wills. Winning the argument at any cost becomes the primary objective. Dr. Hall suggests that you ask yourself, ‘Do I want to win or do I want to be happy?’
- Ego - People want their lovers to respect them and hold them in high regard. The way you dispute and the words you use can tarnish your message. Dr. Hall suggests ‘reminding yourself that you are talking to your lover, not some stranger. Don’t use words as weapons: Learn which words upset your partner and avoid using them. Consider your tone of voice as this can affect us more than words. Consider how you would react if you were on the receiving end.’
Even the best of lovers will end up having the occasional spat, but the important thing is to acknowledge how much you care about each other and to keep the dispute in check.