How to Face Conflicts with Your Bae Without Fighting
Updated: Mar 3, 2019
by Emily Goh.
Relationships are no easy business.
Sure, the flowers, the giddy, head over heels feeling is amazing.
But when you have move past the honeymoon phase, and realise you are both serious about each other, that is when the “real deal” happens.
As you progress through your relationship and become more comfortable and transparent with your partner, there will be certain “difficult” topics you and your significant other may have to face. Topics like money matters, differences in expectations or opinions, future planning etc, may become things you both explicitly avoid.
You may have tried to talk about it, and it did not end well. We have all been in this struggle, and it can be draining at times, not to mention that uneasy, tension feeling that lingers on.
However, we know that there are certain topics you will need to talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend at some point in your relationship, if the both of you are looking to spend a lifetime together.
We are no experts, but we share some tips on how to discuss difficult topics with the Love of Your Life without ending up in a big row.
1. Timing is everything.
Okay, this is not just some cliche advice. This is THE number 1 rule of discussing difficult topics, not just with your partner, but with anyone.
If you are planning to bring up a difficult topic, you need to understand that realistically it will take quite a lot of time and effort from both ends. So do not choose to bring it up after a long day when either of you is tired and moody or when you're out and about. It is also not wise to bring it up right when you are already having a tension conversation in which the both of you might be extra sensitive or overly defensive.
It sucks to have a lingering negative issue unresolved, but if you are both still in the heat of the moment, perhaps it's wise to postpone the conversation to another time. Maybe when you are calmer and less angry. This way, a rational and productive discussion can happen.
2. Go into the conversation with an open mind.
When you are bringing up a discussion with your boyfriend/girlfriend, it's very important you are ready to fully listen and understand what he/she has to say.
Sometimes when we are close to someone, we think we know them through and through, and tend to make assumptions in our head about their thoughts and perspective. This may cause us to disregard what they say.
But when you want to discuss something that is very important to the both of you, it is very crucial for you to put away your presumptions and discuss it openly, while respecting each other’s point of view.
3. Be gentle in the way you discuss it.
You might already heard this one before, but we want to further emphasise it. Your tone and manner of getting your point across is a big factor in determining if the conversation would bring you and your significant other closer, or cause a big blow up.
When you are bringing up a topic, even if you are dissatisfied with your bae with something they did, saying things like “You never ever spend time with me!” will just make the other person feel cornered and automatically become very defensive.
One very good pointer to remember (this is what my psychology lecturer taught us, thank you, Mr Pheh!), is to always view things in a spectrum, as compared to both extreme ends. Do not use words like “never” or “always”, because it is literally not true (at least in most cases). Use words like “sometimes” or pointing out a specific situation and timeline when pointing out an issue.
Also, focus on mentioning how you feel, as compared to pointing fingers at the other person’s actions. This is to avoid coming off as blaming them for the problem; which again, will lead them to be defensive.
For example, instead of “You never ever spend time with me!”, say instead, “For the past few weeks, we haven’t been spending much time together, and I actually miss you quite a lot”.
This would sound completely different, and will show the other person your real intentions to bringing it up, is which you just enjoy spending time together.
4. Always end with affirmations.
Tough discussions can leave us vulnerable. After all, no matter how rational the discussion was, it was most probably rooted from an opposing opinion or perspective.
Hence, it is really important for you to end the discussion with words of affirmation for your partner. After all, you care and love them deeply, that is why you even bother to discuss these topics with them.
At the end of the discussion, remind them of how your intentions come from a good place, and how you just wanted to make things work better between the both of you.
Tell them you love them and how important they are to you, because this is the time where they might just need to hear it most.
This will also help to end the difficult conversation in a pleasant manner, bringing the both of you closer than before.
At the end of the day, always remember this... You and your boyfriend/girlfriend are partners of the same team, and when conflict happens, it is always the both of you against the issue, and fixing the problem together; instead of being on opposite ends.
Don’t get caught up with “winning” the argument or trying to prove yourself right, because deep down you know, the relationship with this person is way more important, and you would want to resolve tough conversations in a way that both of you can function better as a unit.