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16th Feb 2017

How to stop arguing with your other half


Whether it’s finances, family or housework, the majority of arguments are repetitive. But how can we stop the cycle?

Some 69 percent of argument subjects are repetitive. The vast majority of things couples argue about keep coming up, with the top five things being housework, sex, money, balance of power (ie. who gets to make decisions), and friends/family.

How can couples break the cycle of repetitive arguments? The first step is recognising that there are areas that keep coming up and becoming sources of conflict. Some people find this reassuring, though many others find it disheartening and frustrating! The key is finding a way to manage these arguments. Here’s how…

Pick a good time

Choose a time to address the overall argument. Find a time where neither of you are stressed or tired, as that way you are more likely to be receptive to what the other person is saying without misinterpreting it. Make sure you are both free from distractions and feeling calm before you bring up the issue.

Explain how you feel

Begin by explaining how you feel without resorting to blame or criticism. This should be about you and how you are feeling. Don’t start sentences with “You” or “You always”, and don’t accuse your partner. Tell them what you are upset about and what you need to change this. Explain how you would like things to be.

Ask for their point of view and check their reaction

Give your partner time to respond. Ask them how they feel about what you said and what they think about it. Use open ended questions and don’t interrupt. Your partner is entitled to their reaction, and that reaction might not be what you wanted. If they are becoming defensive, reassure them that you’re not attacking them or heaping criticism on them. You are just raising an issue that you need to work on and want to change.


This can be the hardest part for some people! Listen, without interruption, to your partner’s response. Try to listen without judgement or reacting. Don’t think about how you’re going to respond or what you’re going to say next, because winning a fight is not what’s important here. Remain calm and repeat back to them what they have said in your own words, to ensure that you understood them.

Find the common ground

Are there any parts of the disagreement that you agree on? Perhaps you both agree that the situation needs to change, but disagree on how to change it. Start by talking about what you agree on and take it from there. When you get to what you don’t agree on, remember not to focus on being right or wrong. Try to work out a solution that you’re both happy with, and be prepared to compromise. Try to keep the conversation positive – don’t be afraid to use humour and affection.

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