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How can I express my differences productively to my partner?

Lisa Oz
Health Education

You should always learn to fight right. Since dealing with conflict is a big part of any close, long-term relationship, it is essential to know how to air your differences productively. Try to remember what your actual goal is. Too often, the whole argument becomes about nothing more than being right. Being right is overrated-especially when it comes at the price of damaging your most intimate relationship. Your spouse is not your adversary. You do not really want to "beat" your partner, because he or she is on your team. Realize that anything you do or say to hurt your lover will end up hurting you too.

Remember that being mad is no excuse for being unkind. It is horrifying to see how quickly a loving relationship can deteriorate into an all-out verbal brawl, complete with threats, insults, and name-calling. You can have a disagreement and still treat your partner with civility and respect.

Be up-front with your expectations and requests. Do not assume your lover will be able to read your mind-especially in a fight. You are probably not going to like this suggestion, but it is generally a good idea to be the first to say you are sorry.

Sometimes, It is better just to avoid the fight altogether. You need to practice restraint. You need to let the little things slide and figure out when it is better not to say anything. Constant agitation over small things creates a pervasive feeling of negativity in a relationship and undermines genuine affection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.