All couples will have their ups and downs, but long distance relationship fights can be particularly hard pills to swallow and can have a lasting impact.
While it might feel like no one else can relate to these struggles, it’s good to remember that you’re not alone. We’ve all gone through a fight or two in our long distance relationships.
What’s important is how we acknowledge them and work through them and the only way we can do this is by approaching it the right way.
The wrong way:
- View them negatively and trying to avoid them at all costs.
The right way:
- View them as opportunities to improve the relationship.
At their core, fights can help point out the problems in your relationship that still need to be worked on. When you solve them together, your bond becomes stronger, and there are fewer things to fight about.
But how can you handle fights so that they help you improve the relationship?
Glad you asked! 🙂
These 4 simple steps give you a way to approach fights that will create an outcome you can both learn from.
Finding the real cause
Negotiating a solution
Extracting the lessons
NOTE: Each step also includes a question to ask yourselves, which will help to resolve the issue.
Step 1: Becoming proactive
During a fight, we react to each other’s arguments, looking for the best answer or comeback. You react to what they said and they react to what you said and so on – going in circles and getting into the fighting trap.
As a result, two things usually happen:
- We amplify the fight and tend to become more aggressive.
- Move on from what started the fight to other issues.
The solution is to become proactive instead of reactive. When you realize you are fighting, ask one important question:
“What are we actually fighting about?”
This question will get you back to the main issue and put you on a path to solving it calmingly and together.
Step 2: Finding the real cause
It’s very common for fights to ignore the root of the problem and focus on smaller trivial issues.
This is because the roots are usually deeper issues and insecurities that we have but are too afraid to deal with.
Imagine the fight is a FIRE ALARM. The smoke (deeper problem) is what triggered the alarm, but opening a window (superficial issue) to let the smoke out won’t put out the fire that started it all.
But how do you find the real cause, you ask?
We need to get back to the smoke that started the alarm by asking ourselves:
“Why are we fighting about this issue?”
This might seem like an easy question to answer, but it can be quite challenging. You or your partner may not be eager to share the real reasons for fear of being judged or misunderstood.
Helping each other find the real cause
You may need to ask this question more than once to dig deeper, which makes it important to create a comfortable environment. One that is calm and free of anger where you can both discuss things openly.
By discussing possible issues openly and together, this creates a positive back and forth dialogue.
While this is a great path forward, it can be easy to venture off course. Some things to stay away from are:
- Try to ‘diagnose’ the problem on your own.
- Repeatedly asking the same questions and expecting different answers.
- Stay away from ‘close ended’ questions.
For help on asking ‘open ended’ questions (that can’t be answered with yes or no answers) check out How to Ask Open Ended Questions on wikiHow.com.
Step 3: Negotiating a common solution
Finding the deeper issue helps to acknowledge the different ways we have an impact on the problem. Knowing this allows us to ask ourselves:
“What can we do to fix it?”
There are two key parts to this question. The first being the goal of finding a solution. The second, and equally as important, being the word WE.
Fights in long distance relationships involve both partners, so it’s going to take both of you to find a common solution.
Sometimes it will be right in front of you, other times it will be something you have to work towards together.
What’s important is agreeing on a way forward. This allows you to figure out what you can do as a couple to work on the problem and as individuals to support each other along the way.
These three steps can have a huge impact on how you both react to LDR fights and arguments. Especially if you can extract the lessons learned and put them to use in the future.
Step 4: Extract the lessons
Here’s a questions for you: How do you feel about buying food, not eating it and having to throw it away? Does it feel like a waste of money?
When it comes to arguments or fights, should you forget about it once it’s over? Or should you try and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again?
Every fight in a long distance relationship will have at least one valuable lesson to takeaway. Not learning from these valuable lessons could be very costly in the short and long term. Leaving you to repeat them over and over again and suffering when you really don’t have to.
At this point, we need to ask ourselves:
“What can we learn from this?”
Take some time to think about what you can take away, what you need to change so this doesn’t happen again. Most importantly, express these takeaway’s to each other!
If you’ve recently had a fight or find yourselves having the same arguments it’s time to break the cycle.
Using the questions we’ve outlined above you can work on solving the problems at their core.
- What are we actually fighting about?
- Why are we fighting about this issue?
- What can we do to fix it?
- What can we learn from this?
Final Thoughts On Long Distance Relationship Fights
One thing to remember is that an argument or fight is not a war. You are not enemies but allies where the enemy is the problem you’re fighting about. You don’t want to find the best argument and win the war individually, you want to win it together by finding a solution.
Livius founded Long Distance Lover in 2012 to bring straightforward and actionable advice to couples looking to strengthen their long distance relationships. He now acts as an advisor to the LDL team.
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