How To Stop Constant Fighting In A Relationship – 21 Expert Strategies (2021)

11 min read

“If we love each other, why can’t we stop fighting?”

This is a question I hear a lot in my coaching practice when working with couples who are struggling to overcome their differences.

When you’re stuck in a cycle of constant fighting, it can feel like there’s no way out. 

But it is possible to stop constant fighting in a relationship — and today I’m going to show you how with these 21 expert strategies.

So let’s dive right in.

7 Strategies to Prevent Fights

They say prevention is better than the cure — and that’s certainly true when it comes to fighting in relationships. 

Use these seven strategies to reduce your reactivity and prevent unnecessary fights.

1. Find the Root Cause of Your Arguments

The heat of the moment is the worst time to try and resolve ongoing underlying issues in your relationship. 

Your judgment is clouded by your emotions and you’re in reactive mode. You’re probably subconsciously reacting to past pains without even realizing it. And your partner is doing the same.

If you find yourself constantly fighting with your partner, take some time to reflect on the issues that could be causing it. 

Are either of you holding onto past resentment that’s affecting your current relationship? Perhaps one or both of you have unhealed trauma from your childhood or past that you’re projecting onto each other.

Explore possible causes separately and then find an appropriate time to approach your partner to talk about them. 

Make sure you both are calm and have time to dedicate to the conversation. Keep the tone neutral and avoid accusations and blame. Instead, look for possible solutions.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Daily mindfulness practices such as meditation can make you more aware of your triggers and blind spots. 

It can help you realize whether you’re reacting to the situation in front of you or some past trauma or pain. It can also give you more control over your reactions. 

It can help you detach from your negative thoughts and beliefs, which are conditioned by your past experience, and see the situation for what it really is.

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3. Daily Check-In

Sometimes resentment and tension build up between a couple when communication isn’t running smoothly. 

If you feel unseen, unheard, misunderstood, ignored, you are more likely to feel resentment toward your partner.

A daily check-in can help you understand each other better and support one another through your challenges.

Take five minutes each morning to take turns talking and listening to one another. Don’t interrupt your partner, just listen. When they’ve finished, thank them. Don’t interject or give them your opinion unless they ask for it.

4. Do Your Inner Work

Working on yourself through journaling, coaching, therapy, meditation, yoga, or any other healing modality can help you become more aware of your own stories, trauma, and conditioning.

Our parents, family, and primary caregivers are the first ones to teach us about the world, relationships, and life. We carry any traumatic experiences that happen during that time with us throughout our whole lives.

Unless we do the work to uncover them, they remain buried in our subconscious and we project them onto our partners. 

Doing the inner work can help you become aware of when you’re reacting to something from the past rather than the present moment.

5. Spend Quality Time Together

Sometimes relationships can get stuck in a rut. Routines and habits creep in, while fun and spontaneity gradually slip away. 

If this happens, it can cause the couple to drift apart and create boredom and resentment, which can lead to frequent fighting. 

Making the effort to intentionally spend time together can help bring back the spark by reminding you why you’re together in the first place. It can also make you feel closer and reduce resentment.

6. Deal With Your Stress

When we’re stressed, it can be all too easy to take it out on those nearest and dearest to us — especially our partners. 

Find healthy outlets for your stress: vent your frustrations to a friend, go for a run, take a kickboxing class, meditate, or do yoga.

Movement is particularly helpful for dealing with stress, since it puts your body into fight or flight mode. Taking a brisk walk can help you burn off that stressed energy and calm your nervous system before going home to your partner.

7. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a fundamental role in how you show up in every aspect of your life — including your relationship.

If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, you’re probably irritable, moody, and not much fun to be around. If your partner is sleep deprived, too, it’s a recipe for a fight.

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7 Strategies to Stop a Fight

Sometimes when a fight starts, it’s like a ball of yarn unravelling. It becomes chaotic, long, and no one knows exactly why it began or where it will end.

But you can stop a fight before it unravels completely by following these seven steps.

1. Pause

When you experience an intense emotional trigger, it’s usually a clue that something deeper is going on. 

Perhaps what you’re really reacting to is not what your partner just said, but your childhood abandonment wound.

That’s why we often regret flying off the handle. In the heat of the moment, we’re so sure of ourselves in our righteous anger. But soon after, we may regret our rash words and actions.

Ask your partner to give you five minutes before continuing. Take some deep breaths or a short walk.

2. Use Mindfulness to Identify Your Feelings

Ask your partner for five minutes to cool off. If you can, sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Get in touch with your inner world. What’s coming up for you?

You might notice you’re projecting your feelings toward a parent or past partner onto your current partner.

Or you might see how their words brought up a different, unresolved issue that you reacted to instead. 

If you struggle to calm yourself down, try going out for a walk or run to clear your head first.

3. Don’t Listen to Negative Thoughts

When you start judging your partner’s character by their actions, you’re projecting your negative beliefs onto them.

For example, if you have an argument because your partner didn’t do the washing up, focusing on their behavior would be saying “You didn’t do the washing up.” 

If, instead, you tell them they’re a lazy slob, you’re judging them as a person rather than their actions. If that happens, they will feel attacked and get defensive, adding fuel to the fire of your fight.

4. Try to Understand Their Point of View

Once you’ve calmed yourself down and identified any negative stories you might be telling yourself, you’ll be able to approach your partner from a place of openness and compassion.

To get to the root of the conflict, you will need to be able to see it from their perspective as well as your own. 

If you are focused on defending your position and proving why you’re right, you won’t be open to listening to your partner’s point of view.

Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

5. Drop Your Side of It

When communication breaks down, sometimes the best strategy is to let go of your side of the argument. 

Try saying something like: “I want to stop fighting with you more than I want to win this fight.”

This will make your partner let their guard down, inviting a space for more open communication. 

It will also help you both focus on the present moment and the issue at hand, rather than dragging up old grievances that are not related.

6. Express Your Emotions

Dropping your side of the argument doesn’t mean neglecting yourself or your emotions. 

Emotions are clues that point to the real trigger. So, rather than focusing on blaming the other person, shift your focus to your feelings. 

Discussing feelings with your partner can help you sort through them and understand yourself and your partner better. Using “I” statements is a less confrontational way to talk about the issue than finger-pointing.

7. Reconnect Through Physical Touch

Physical touch can help diffuse tension during arguments. It reminds you and your partner that you are both on the same team.

It’s also important to reconnect through touch once the fight is over. Hugging produces oxytocin, the “love hormone” that strengthens bonds between humans.

Learn more about how to fight the right way in this video from School of Life:

7 Strategies to Recover from Fights

Conflict hurts any relationship, and if you don’t take the necessary steps to repair your relationship afterward, over time it can slowly break down.

Follow these steps to recover from a fight.

1. Take Responsibility for Your Part of It

As my mother used to say, “It’s always six of one and half a dozen of the other” — meaning fights are never the sole responsibility of just one partner.

We are all flawed, imperfect humans, and nowhere do our flaws and imperfections show up more than in our romantic relationships.

It’s essential to recognize your role in any conflict in order to recover from it. This will also make your partner feel less defensive, opening them up to more constructive communication.

2. Apologize

We all say and do things during fights that we later wish we hadn’t. When you apologize to your partner, you let them know that you regret your behavior, are aware of why it was hurtful, and will avoid repeating it in the future.

It can help your partner feel safe with you again and create a more loving and open space in which to talk. It can diffuse tension and help you feel comfortable with each other again.

When you admit to your mistake by apologising, your partner will feel better as you will shift the blame from them back to yourself. 

It can feel hard to apologize after an argument. We tend to see it as an admission of guilt or responsibility, or that we are somehow inadequate, rather than just having made a mistake. 

But an apology, if sincere, is never received that way. In fact, it’s much more likely that the other person will also apologize if you can be brave enough to make the first move.

3. Forgive

Holding onto grudges is a surefire way to keep fighting with your partner. That’s why forgiveness is a pillar of any successful relationship.

You have to be willing to recognize that your partner is human and makes mistakes, just like you do. And your willingness to forgive them reassures them that you love them — flaws and all.

It’s also important to be able to forgive yourself. Beating yourself up and dwelling on past mistakes or regrettable behavior leaves you more anxious and insecure, and leads to more fights. 

The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them in the future. 

Constantly striving to show up as the best possible version of yourself for your partner can make it easier to forgive yourself when you mess up.

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4. Listen to Your Partner

Listening is a core communication skill that most of us never learned from our family or education. Yet it’s fundamental for repairing your relationship after a fight. 

Use active listening and take it in turns to listen to one another. Listen to your partner without judgment or interruption. 

Focus not only on their words, but also on their body language. Read between the lines and analyze what they don’t say.

When they’ve finished speaking, reflect back to them to make sure you understood correctly. 

5. Let It Go

When you learn to fight right, you get closure on your arguments. This means you can let it go instead of holding onto resentment.

This is why effective communication is key to recovering from a fight. When both partners feel seen, heard, and understood and they’ve said everything they need to say, it’s much easier to let go of any residual anger.

Holding onto resentment toward your partner is like saving up ammunition for your next fight. It will simmer under the surface and come bursting out as soon as tensions rise again.

6. Focus On Yourself

Observe yourself in fights and learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future. Reflect on and analyze your thoughts, emotional reactions, and subsequent reactions. 

Work with a coach or therapist, or write in your journal to uncover subconscious patterns that continuously show up in your relationship.

Look for primary and secondary emotions. Sometimes, when your partner triggers an emotional reaction in you, the primary emotion might be sadness or shame at feeling rejected or misunderstood. 

But because of your triggers, you might experience these as secondary emotions such as anger or embarrassment, and react to your partner accordingly. 

Doing the inner work will help you identify the primary, root emotions. Then, you can express them vulnerably to your partner. 

Although this can feel scary, it will actually help your partner get to know you better and develop more compassion toward you. 

7. Consider Getting Professional Help

Sometimes it can be helpful to get an outsider’s professional perspective on the situation. 

A neutral third party can also help you and your partner understand one another better, particularly in situations with a lot of anger and resentment. 

A couples’ coach or relationship therapist can help you accept one another’s differences and set clear and realistic expectations for your relationship that can help you find greater alignment with your partner.

Working with a professional can also help you both to grow and develop while improving your communication style and getting to know one another better — which can lead to fewer fights in the future.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Arguing Mean in a Relationship?

Arguing in a relationship is normal, so if you argue with your partner occasionally, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. 

The important thing, then, is not to try not to fight (that would be impossible), but to learn to fight the right way.

However, if you find yourselves having the same conflict over and over but never coming to a solution, it might be the sign of an underlying issue. If that’s the case, consider working with a therapist or coach.

In other cases, it can mean that you and your partner have irreconcilable differences. It’s important to know when to fight for a relationship, but it’s also essential to know when to lovingly let go.

If you’ve tried everything to find a solution and it’s still not working, it might be time to walk away

However, only you and your partner can know what the real problem is and whether your relationship can be saved.

Is It Normal to Fight All the Time in a Relationship?

You already know that it’s normal to fight at least some of the time in all relationships. But if you’re fighting all the time, it might be a sign that something is wrong. 

What Does Constant Arguing Mean in a Relationship?

Constant fighting in a relationship may mean a lot of different things. 

No two couples are the same, and neither are their problems, which it’s so important that you both do the work to get to the root of the problem and remove it from your relationship.

Perhaps one of you has resentment toward the other for something in the past that hurt their feelings. 

It could be that one partner is unhappy in the relationship and doesn’t know how to tell the other.

Or it might simply be a problem of communication that could be resolved by learning new communication skills.

Constant fighting can also be caused by a mental health issue in one or both partners, which is when working with a professional can be especially helpful.

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How Do I Stop Constant Fighting in a Relationship?

Follow the 21 strategies outlined above to prevent, stop, and recover from constant fighting in a relationship.

If they don’t work, seek the help of a professional before making any decisions about your relationship.

3 Exercises to Help Couples Stop Fighting

1. Soul Gazing

Soul gazing is a great way to deepen the connection and strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

To do this exercise, sit facing your partner in a comfortable position, set a timer for 5 minutes and stare into each other’s eyes. 

You might feel a little uncomfortable, and that’s normal, but resist the temptation to look away. When time’s up, notice how much more connected you feel.

2. Extended Cuddle Time

As I mentioned before, hugging and cuddling releases oxytocin and other hormones that make us feel good and fall in love.

Not only do they help you and your partner feel a deeper connection to each other, they can also improve your mood and even your sleep — leading to fewer fights.

3. The Weekly CEO Meeting

A good way to stop fighting is to head off fights before they even start. You can do this by holding a weekly CEO meeting with your beloved.

Every week, set aside a non-negotiable block of time — at least 30 minutes — when you can be together free of distractions. 

Use this time to talk about how you are both doing, as individuals and as part of the couple. This is an opportunity to voice any needs that aren’t being met and resolve any issues before they get blown out of proportion.

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

I hope these 21 strategies and 3 exercises will help you stop constant fighting in your relationship. 

You and your partner both deserve the love, peace, and joy that come with being in a happy, balanced, satisfying relationship.

But if you still can’t find a way to stop fighting, it might be time to let go. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

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