You forgot to call. You could have called, probably should have called, but you forgot. It was just that everything happened so quickly: Just as you were about to leave the office, your pals from work invited you out for a pint. One pint became two, and two pints became four hours, and you forgot to call.
Now you’re home and she’s fuming. She made dinner, planned a surprise. She’s yelling, calling your friends idiots; you retaliate with a snarky comment about the dimwits she hangs out with — and now it’s on.
When you’re in a relationship, fights can happen suddenly and without warning; both partners say things they shouldn’t, and suddenly the two of you are throwing down like Godzilla and Rodan. Some fights last five minutes and others last five days. We call these periods of conflict “the tough times,” and if you’re going to be in a relationship you need to learn how to handle them.
This "AM Rule Refresher" is all about weathering storms and maintaining your relationship when things get rough. We’ve chosen a few tips from The Guy’s Guide to Romance to help you navigate the rockiest of relationship waters.
You can’t prevent every fight, and since some arguing is inevitable, the best way to handle the tough times is to fight fairly. Fighting fairly means staying on topic and keeping the argument in perspective.
Don’t allow a fight over something disrespectful she said about your friends turn into a wide-ranging bitch-fest about every little problem you have with her — from the amount of time she spends on the phone to her table manners. The most efficient way to defuse the situation is to focus on solving the problem at hand.
Also, don’t take cheap shots, and don’t try to win the argument by hurting her feelings or making her cry. Name-calling is obviously out of bounds. You wouldn’t stand by while another man called your significant other names, so why would it be OK for you to do it?
Don’t act on jealousy
Shakespeare called jealousy “the green-eyed monster,” and monstrous are its consequences; that is, if you let it get out of control.
There’s a difference between healthy and unhealthy jealousy, and you need to be aware of the distinction if you hope to handle the tough times. In any relationship, both partners are going to periodically struggle with jealousy. If you’re the jealous one, make sure to act only on facts and not on suspicion. Just because you don’t know where she was last night, doesn’t necessarily mean she was cheating. Be rational. If she’s never given you a reason to suspect her of cheating, don’t treat her like a felon. If she’s the jealous party, try reasoning with her. If that doesn’t work, get a third party to act as referee. A mutual friend will be able to tell the two of you whether her jealousy is warranted or not.
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Avoid dangerous argument topics
Occasionally, to handle the tough times, you need to take some preventative measures. One way to keep your relationship out of trouble is to avoid certain arguments. Some topics are just too hot to handle, like her sense of style, for example. You might think she’d benefit from hearing your opinion on her wardrobe choices, but you would be very, very wrong. Stay away from radioactive topics such as her weight and her clothes and you’ll be a lot happier in the long run.
Sometimes the best way to handle the tough times is to just admit that you were wrong. Every good general knows when to retreat. On occasion, it’s best to give a little ground and live to fight another day. In other words, a sincere apology can save a relationship. If you’ve hit a rough patch in your relationship, and you’re partly to blame, man up and admit your mistake. Be sincere in your apology and make sure — whatever you do — you don’t commit the same crime again. The fight will be twice as bad next time. Saying “I’m sorry” is a sign of maturity, and if you start admitting your mistakes, she’ll be more likely to admit hers.
TOUGH TIME TIPS
Of course, in some situations the only solution to the problem, the only way to handle the tough times, is to take a break and put some space between you and your significant other. When taking a break it’s essential that you establish some ground rules before you part ways. Can you see other people? How often are you going to call each other? For advice on those issues, and more ways to handle the tough times, check out The Guy’s Guide to Romance.