You’ve just had a knock-down, drag-out fight with your significant other. You’re so mad you’re still shaking, but you know that making up is the only way to make things better. Right now your partner seems like a combination of alien and nut. Worse, they’re not talking to you.
How do you take control of this train wreck and get your relationship back on track?
First, Stop Fighting
Making up won’t happen if you continue trying to make your point. Don’t try to get in one last dig. Humor is fine, but making jokes at your partner’s expense will only make the situation worse.
And realize that even a sincere apology can sound like a slam if your tone of voice and facial expressions don’t match your words. The sound of our voices delivers almost 40% of how we feel. Our facial expression conveys more than half. That leaves a measly 10% for words!
Take Some Time and Give Yourselves Some Space
Making up is hard to do when you’re still steaming. You both need time to cool down.
Ask your partner for a minute, and take some time to calm yourself. You need to be rational to solve this problem. When we fight, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode while our lizard brains look for danger. It takes a little time to come back from that reactionary buzz.
Trying to be rational when you still need to blow off steam is counterproductive.
If one of you is ready for the making-up dance, but the other isn’t, realize that people recover at different speeds. Don’t cling, don’t punish. While your partner cools down, use the time to focus your own thoughts and feelings.
Figure Out Why You Fought and Talk About It
When couples fight and makeup over and over again, the drama lets them avoid real intimacy.
To avoid future fights, you both need to understand what happened to provoke the current one. Think it through; then tell your partner what you’re thinking. Let them know how you feel when they do or say whatever it is they did or said. What would you rather they did? Be honest.
Once you’ve explained, give your partner a chance to talk about why they do the things they do and how they feel about it and your solution.
During this back-and-forth, stay focused on one issue. Don’t drag in what happened last week or last year.
Agree to Work on a Solution Together
Acknowledge the reasons for the fight and agree to avoid this kind of conflict in the future. Make sure you both buy in. Keep the discussion going until you both feel comfortable with the result.
Going forward, your first step is to stick to the contract you made while making up. Be careful not to repeat your mistakes. Old habits may feel comfortable, but they’ll keep you stuck. Respect each other and your agreement, or you’ll just end up fighting over the same thing.
To remain content and avoid future fights, use these strategies:
- Talk about the things that bug you, and listen to your partner’s feedback on how they feel.
- Remind yourself often why you decided to make up. Reinforce the knowledge that you made the right decision.
- Avoid getting into situations like the one that caused the fight.
Sex is a popular tool for making up. But don’t depend on it as your go-to strategy. Making love to smooth things out after every fight may lead to your needing conflict before you can get turned on.
Don’t forget romance. Keep your relationship hot all the time, not just when you’re making up. If you both focus on what you love about each other and the time you spend together you’ll have less time to argue about the things you dislike.
The Best Strategy for Making Up
The best part of making up is getting back to the reason you’re together in the first place: you love and like each other. When you know each other’s likes and dislikes and care about each other’s dreams, you’re less likely to make the kind of mistakes that cause fights.
When you turn toward each other instead of away, when you answer each other’s questions and laugh at each other’s jokes, you’re acting like friends instead of enemies.
Making up can be fun. But not needing to make up so often because you trust and believe in each other—now that’s a relationship that’s moving forward.