How to Fight Fair: Take the Bite out of Dogs Days of Summer
Cooling Conflict Resolutions3. There are no absolutes
Steer clear of "Never" and "Always" when pointing out your partner's side of the problem, advises Hannon. "You never take me out anymore!" goes over about as well as "I always have to do everything around here!" Chances are, you will be proven wrong, not to mention, you'll come off sounding like a 10-year-old who has been denied an iPhone.
Sure, it sounds crazy, but maybe you really are wrong. Maybe you're just overheated, overworked, and pulled one too many weeds in the backyard this afternoon. "Be accountable. Ask yourself if you may be culpable as well," says Hannon. Nobody is right all of the time. If you just can't handle taking all the blame, you don't have to be the bigger person, just call a truce. "Honey, let's just agree to disagree and we'll collect your belongings off the front lawn together."
What your grandmother advised still holds true today. When things heat up, insist on a cooling-off period, even if it's brief. Go for a walk (simple deep-breathing exercises will get more oxygen to your brain, so you can think reasonably and put the cutlery away). Check your e-mail (maybe a friend sent you a joke that's actually funny). If the argument takes a truly nasty turn, it's always better to sleep on it before saying something you can't take back.
Originally published on LHJ.com, August 2009.