How to End an Argument Without Losing Self-Respect

couple arguingIt’s a stand-off.
You know those times when you and your love can’t seem to agree?  You’re stuck and it feels like the only way to resolve the conflict is for you to “give in” and let your partner have his or her way.

It can seem like your only “choice” is to compromise what’s most important to you for the sake of your relationship.

THAT scenario is a lose-lose situation.

Neither you nor your partner wins when you back down or say “yes” to what doesn’t feel good to you just to regain connection and peace. You’re less likely to follow through on promises and more likely to harbor resentment and to pull away from your partner when you do. That sends a confusing message to your partner who will wonder why you’re so hostile when, after all, you did agree!

When you start thinking that you’ll have to sacrifice self-respect to get past a disagreement, argument or to make a joint decision, stop and do these 3 things first…

Find out what it’s REALLY about.
You might think that you two are arguing about who will do the dishes tonight or where you should go on vacation this summer, but it’s likely there’s something deeper at issue. For every “little” difference of opinion, there’s usually a bigger question that heightens tension and causes you both to dig in your heels.

It could be the way you each handle money. It might be your beliefs about what’s morally right and wrong. It may be your opposing rules about how your relationship should be.

Take the time to look beneath the surface of what you think about this argument you’re having with your partner. Find out what it’s really about for you. As you uncover this, focus mainly on what’s most important to you and less on who is to blame or how stubborn your partner seems to be.

Get clear on your non-negotiables.
As you sift through your thoughts and the “he said-she said” recollections in your mind, hone in on what is a non-negotiable for you. This means, know what you’re genuinely willing and unwilling to be flexible about.

This requires honesty and setting aside pride. Keep returning to what feels ethical, respectful and in line with your priorities for your relationship and life.

If taking out a loan to buy a new car is out of the question because of your firm financial goals, how much would you be willing to invest in a well-running used car or a lease on a new car? If you absolutely cannot be in a relationship with a partner who watches porn, admit it.

Invite yourself to be open when you can maintain your self-respect and priorities but also acknowledge where there is no wiggle room on a particular issue.

Listen for the overlap. 
To end an argument while maintaining your self-respect, don’t just barge into the room laying down your “must haves.” This will only bring out defensiveness and more hostility in your partner.

Instead, ask him or her to go over what you each want again. Make an agreement to really listen to one another without interrupting. As your partner speaks, stay open. Consider the possible benefits of what your partner wants– this doesn’t mean you have to abandon your own preferences and needs.

When you listen with an intention to understand your partner’s point of view, you can more easily find areas of overlap in what your both want. That’s the place for solutions you both can be happy with. When it’s your turn, talk about what you want and include suggestions for alternatives that reflect the overlap.

This whole process can actually happen in a relatively short period of time. The sooner you find a solution that works for both of you, the sooner you can get back to enjoying being together!
Want to know how to talk about even the most difficult topics effectively and easily? Check out Stop Talking on Eggshells by relationship coaches and authors Susie and Otto Collins. Put an end to tension and conflict and reach solutions you both feel great about. Visit: today.