Are you constantly arguing or bickering with your partner?

By: Susan Blackburn, MA, May 01, 2014
  Question
Arguing & Bickering | Susan Blackburn Counselling & Psychotherapy, Toronto, ON

My relationship is filled with nothing but fighting, what should I do?

Is it driving you nuts?

An effective strategy to minimize arguing is to implement a ‘no fighting’ guideline between the two of you. Instead, if you have an issue to discuss, make an appointment to talk about it with your partner.

This eliminates emotional conversations in the heat of the moment. By the time the appointment time arrives, it’s likely you’ve cooled off and no longer feel the need to talk about it. If you still feel it warrants a conversation at least you’ll be less emotional and able to speak to your partner in a way that he can hear you.

In order to make this work effectively, you must bite your tongue and simply ask for an appointment instead of ‘letting him have it’. You don’t get a say as to when your partner is available or not. Allow him to let you know when he’s free.

To be fair, it should be within a few days of the request and should not be during quality time (an evening out, over a meal, or in bed).

Most women say that by the time the appointment time comes around they either forgot what they wanted to bring up or they’ve realized it’s not really a big deal.

Making appointments enables you to see that the things you’re bickering about aren’t always important, even though they appear to be in the heat of the moment. Once your temper cools off and you’ve had a chance to gain a little perspective, you will often feel differently.

This is partly because fighting rarely addresses the real problem. Half the time you may not even be aware of what the root concern truly is! All you know is that you’re really irritated with your partner and he’s getting on your nerves. Something, but you’re not sure ‘what’ has triggered an unconscious response within you.

Ideally, you want to be conscious and aware when connecting with your partner. Making appointments to discuss your concerns offers you this possibility and allows for more love and harmony between the two of you.

Susan Blackburn, M.A. is an Individual, Couples and Family Counsellor.

She is a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP) and has a Masters degree in Counselling from the Adler School in Chicago, a B.A. (Honours) from York University and a B.Sc. in Business from the University of Phoenix.

Credentials include being a published author and several guest appearances on television and radio as an expert therapist including That Channel’s ‘Extraordinary Women TV’, the W Network’s ‘Style by Jury’ and Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s (of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part) show, ‘Princess’. http://www.susanblackburn.com/