No two people, no matter how compatible they may be, will ever share the same opinion about everything all the time. Would you really want to? The relationship would get dull if you never had a difference of opinion to share with one another. All couples, whether lesbian, gay or straight, need to figure out the most effective way to negotiate their differences if they want the relationship to be fulfilling and long-lasting. In many cases, this negotiation of differences involves an argument.
There are ways to express contrary opinions without causing irreparable damage to the relationship. In other words, there are ways to argue with your partner that won’t end in a breakup. Arguments can actually be productive and help your relationship grow, as long as you both agree to stick to a few ground rules.
The ground rules for productive arguing include:
- Tackle the issue, not your partner. There is no room in a productive argument for name-calling, personal attacks or hateful words.
- Use specifics, not generalizations. Making statements that include words like “always” or “never” is neither accurate nor productive. Instead of saying your partner “never” cleans up after herself, provide specific instances when this happened.
- Stick to the issue at hand. Do not bring up other complaints during the argument if they don’t relate to the issue. Otherwise, you’ll get mired in old grievances and never resolve the original issue that caused the argument.
- Keep the volume down. The louder you get, the less you are heard. Yelling during an argument rarely helps solve the problem. Once you start raising your voice, you will find the focus will quickly turn from the issue to the noise.
The Silent Treatment
Giving your partner the silent treatment is just another form of non-productive arguing. No one likes to be shut out, so clamming up will only add fuel to your partner’s frustration and anger. Don’t sulk in the corner if you really aren’t ready to have this argument. Instead, let your partner know you can’t discuss it at that moment, but you are willing to continue the discussion at a later time.
Arguing often gets a bad rap, but if it’s done in a productive way that causes neither disrespect nor under-valuing, it can bring you even closer together.