Good Morning Friends,
I’m back with another installment in this 5-part communication series. Today I want to focus on 4 different ways to diffuse an argument. Why? Well, as someone who is polyamorous, I know a thing or two about having to communicate a lot and how to diffuse arguments too! Every relationship has arguments. Can you imagine having two full time relationships that you have to juggle? That’s a lot of talking! 🙂 Hehe! But it’s very rewarding too. Knowing how to take an uncomfortable situation, or a heated discussion and gently simmering things down in a healthy way is vitally important. Are you ready to explore this topic with me? Then, let’s dive in! ❤
I. It’s Okay to Call “Time Out”:
I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve been arguing with my partner only to put up my hands into a “T” and say, “Wait a minute! Time out!!”. I needed a moment of pause. I needed to collect my thoughts before I said something that I would regret. We’ve all been there, and it’s important to know when you’re about to lose your cool. Give yourself permission to call a time out when things get heated. Sometimes taking a moment of silence to give space between the argument actually helps a great deal. You can calm down, and your partner can too. I should insert here that it’s critical that if you call a time out, that your partner can’t keep coming at you verbally. (I’ve had that happen too… it’s not pretty). There has to be enough respect that when one person says that they need a moment, that the other person is respectful in giving space.
II. Know When to Walk Away:
One of my early conversations with Daddy C involved us discussing at length how we deal with our own temperaments. That was when I discovered that his strategy is to take a small cooling off period and to go for a walk. By putting physical space between him and whomever he is upset with, (only for a brief period), he can calm down and collect his thoughts. I agree that this can work, but I’d like to expand upon it slightly. If you are in Little Space and you begin to feel angry at your dominant, there are certain ways to handle that which I’ve explained in depth here. Assuming that you are in your adult head space, I think it’s okay for one partner to walk away, however they need to state openly: “I’m going to take a few minutes to go cool down. Then I’ll be back and we can sort this out”. There are several reasons why it’s important that you verbally state when you’re returning and why you need space.
First off, there are many people (like myself) that have issues and fears of being abandoned. It’s a common but very real fear. By stating how long you will be gone, why you’re leaving, and what’s going to happen upon your return, you are giving comfort to your partner while still taking space to cool off. Secondly, by stating how long you will be gone you aren’t dragging out the argument. You don’t want to just leave and then send your partner into a panic wondering if/when you will return. Especially during an argument people are likely to assume the worst. Lastly, when your partner takes a few minutes to go cool off, do not follow them!! Respect their need for a few minutes of alone time to calm down and regroup. Then you can reconnect once you’re back together.
III. Know How to Use Phrases to Minimize Anger:
There are certain phrases that work in arguments and certain phrases that fuel the fire, so to speak. It’s important that when you’re trying to diffuse a heated conversation that you be mindful of what (and how) you say things. As you’re actively listening, (you are listening to your partner, aren’t you? 😉 ) try using phrases such as:
- I can see that from your point of view.
- I understand how you feel.
- Thank you for telling me your thoughts and feelings.
- I appreciate you opening up to me like this.
- Thank you for making yourself vulnerable to me.
- While I may not agree completely with your perspective, I can understand where you’re coming from and why.
You don’t have to agree with your partner on every single thing. The beauty of relationships is coming together as two unique individuals. But you do need to have respect and love for one another. The statements above all demonstrate a level of respect, compassion, and understanding for your partners feelings. You want your partner to feel validated and heard even in the moments where tension runs high. I’ve found that when one of my partners is feeling agitated, I go very quiet. I listen closely and zero in on what it is that’s really bothering them. I’ve said things that has accidentally hurt their feelings and then they will come back explaining how my statement caused offense. I’ve had other times where someone else has upset them and they are just utterly pissed off!! Those moments are critical for me to remain quiet, let them explain themselves fully, reassure them that I have heard their thoughts and feelings, and then insert my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard training yourself to do this and even still I’m a work in progress! 🙂 But the point is that we keep working on it. We keep trying and training ourselves to be better partners because we know that our relationship is completely worth it.
IV. Focus on the Problem, Not the Person:
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you if you take away nothing else from this post, is to focus on the problem and not the person when you’re having a disagreement. I know that your partner can make you angry. It happens to every couple. How you navigate those moments of conflict is what will determine the overall health of your relationship. Don’t throw “low blows”. Don’t make comments that cut down your partner in the moment just because you’re angry. Don’t blow a problem out of proportion. Focus on the issue at hand. What is the real root issue? How are you going to address it with each other? And what kind of resolution is satisfying for you both? Those are the questions that you will need to ask yourself the next time you’re having a disagreement. Daddy C and my husband have two very different temperaments, and as such, I have learned to switch gears in how I communicate with both of my partners. But despite their different personalities, I always try to focus on the root issue when we are having a disagreement.
I’m notorious for saying: “okay hold up! What’s the real problem here?” mostly because I like to cut through the B.S. and just get down to business. I don’t like feeling upset…. at all! I despise being upset with my partner because my baseline is a pretty happy person. Therefore, I don’t want to waste any more time than necessary being upset with one another. Let’s focus on the issue, talk about our feelings, find a resolution that makes us both happy, learn from our mistake, and move on. That’s how I roll. ❤
Alright my friends, that’s it from me for this post. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you did, hit that like button and let me know. Smash that follow button if you’re new around here. And I will see you back here for the next topic!