After an argument, most couples have some difficulty making up and getting back to normal (whatever that is). Both parties want to feel that things are resolved, but when hurt feelings have been bouncing around your hearts, it can be problematic.
Sometimes you don’t have to say much – just a soft smile or a simple “I love you” can be enough to end the tension – but other times it takes more. Experiencing an emotional wound can leave some residual angst. The trick here is to notice when it happens and then allow yourself to turn off the angst and return to your usual routines, especially the ones that make you feel closer to your mate.
Arguments make us feel different. Anger can sometimes take time to dissipate, but remembering that it will go away will help you let it go. Holding a grudge is not going to make your love life any better. In fact, it will make things worse, and you may blame your partner for what is actually under your control.
When couples fight, it usually doesn’t bring out the best in anyone. We show our darker side, say things we regret, and get defensive when the one we love tells us things we may not want to hear.
Sometimes arguments are one-sided and unfair. But in most cases, both of you are contributing to the discomfort and negativity, and that is not how you want to live your lives.
Making up is not only the right thing to do; it is also something that will make you both feel better. Make-up sex is a great way to reengage with your lover. So is going out and having dinner or simply sharing a glass of wine. It will give you a chance to softly hold hands, reconnect and remind yourselves why you are together.
If your partner has said something that hurt your feelings, let him or her know, but not in a defensive or nasty way. Simply say, “Honey, what you said hurt me.” That’s a pretty strong statement, and your other half needs to respond with a simple apology. Likewise, you need to be able to do this for your partner. Promising that it will never happen again will make your action even stronger.
Most people don’t enjoy fighting with their mates. Harsh words and silence cut equally deep. When you get the anger out, you may then realize that what you said was unfair or untrue. At that point, you have to let the one you love know that you misspoke and you want to take back the inappropriate words you used. Again, this is a powerful way of ending the discord and getting things back to what both of you want.
The ability to let go of an argument is something that most long-term couples develop over time. It does take a little while to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. So give yourselves a chance to kiss and make up, so you can enjoy being a couple again.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, is the author of “The Happy Couple – How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Email him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com. Follow his daily insights at www.twitter.com/BartonGoldsmith. A