This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

All Couples Argue. Here Are 9 Things To Avoid When It Happens

Don’t tell a woman to 'calm down'.
Late at night isn't the best time to start a discussion.
Jason Hetherington
Late at night isn't the best time to start a discussion.

There's always that couple in a friendship group who proudly claim "we never fight!"

Truth is they're either weird, or lying.

Fighting is a normal, necessary part of love and learning to settle your differences will ultimately make you stronger. But there are ways to fight right, and ways to start World War 3.

Here are some tips on how to argue the intelligent way.

Don't think of them as fights

"One of the first things is to try not to refer to them as fights," Dr Nikki Goldstein, Sexologist and Relationship expert told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Because in a fight there is always a winner and a loser, and in relationships it's not about winning or losing. It's about coming to a compromise together. I suggest couples call them call them 'heated discussions' instead."

Timing is everything

As with most things in life, it all comes down to timing.

"If you feel that you want to bring something up with your partner, if they have just come through the door from work and they are stressed and tired, it's probably not the best time to start a discussion that could potentially be heated," Goldstein said.

"Instead, try and pick a better time. That can be hard for some women as they are generally more emotionally reactive and we want to deal with concerns immediately, but try and calm yourself down first. Give your partner an hour two to settle in and then bring up what you need to discuss."

They're probably arguing over who chose the hideous decor.
Adrian Weinbrecht
They're probably arguing over who chose the hideous decor.

Don't bring up old issues

It's easy to hurl abuse when you're 'losing' an argument, and what better ammunition than old unresolved issues and insults. While it's tempting to bring up old stuff, it'll just add fuel to the fire.

"To be honest, if something is unresolved, there's your first issue. You should never leave things unresolved because we tend to bury them somewhere in our mind and then the next time there's an issue, that old issue will also pop up to the surface," Goldstein said.

"Often an unresolved issue will resurface as another issue. So you might get angry at your partner for not doing their share around the house, when really the underlying aggressor is what went unresolved. It's always the iceberg to any kind of argument -- ask yourself what's really under there, what the deeper issue is."

Don't go to bed angry

This age-old piece of advice isn't as romantic as you might assume. It's not in case your other half carks it in the middle of the night and you didn't say 'I love you', it's more because you actually won't be able to sleep.

"Personally, I can't go to bed angry. I don't know anyone who can, because when we get angry our heart races and our blood pressure goes up and that's not conducive to sleep. Which comes back to the timing point -- it's not a great idea to start a discussion if it's going to turn into an argument that will finish at 2am.

"If you're going to raise something, try and do it earlier so you have time to go through the stages of discussion, compromise and then happy time at the end," Goldstein said.

This is a better type of fight to have in bed.
AleksandarNakic via Getty Images
This is a better type of fight to have in bed.

Consciously change the mood afterwards

After you've stopped flogging the dead horse the mood can be a bit odd. Don't let it linger for the sake of your pride. Instead, consciously change it.

"At the end of a discussion when you've come to a compromise, go and do something nice together to change the tone and the mood. It might be to have a little cuddle, or go have a glass of wine and chat about a different topic to change the mood so you can go to bed clear minded," Goldstein said.

Work out if you really just need some love

Women, before you take this personally, keep in mind that this refers to some females, not all. It also applies to men, too.

"Some women in particular need to be aware of the possibility that they might start a heated discussion when in reality it's more about attention," Goldstein said.

"A way of making your partner focus on you is to start a heated discussion. It's similar to the iceberg -- take a look at why you're bringing up your issue and ask yourself if it's really because your partner has been working a lot lately, or out with the boys a lot lately."

"I pray that if I show her some love I can still go to the footy next week."
"I pray that if I show her some love I can still go to the footy next week."

Gather your thoughts first

"Try and calm yourself down and slow down your train of thought," Goldstein said.

"When you're angry and emotional, that's when you might say things that can feel like daggers and can have consequences. If you're going to bring something up, try and do some deep breathing or go for a walk first to calm our mind so you can gather your thoughts and actually plan what you're going to say first. Think first."

Own your emotions

Learn to accuse less and feel more.

"Instead of using language such as "you're in the wrong, you did this", flip it and use terms such as "you make me feel, when you do this it makes me feel", etc. Owning your emotions makes it easier to come to a compromise, as its less accusatory. Often they are not factual arguments, so there's no right or wrong. That's why the art of compromise is so important," Goldstein said.

Never tell someone to calm down

"Never, ever do this," Goldstein said.

"Instead of saying that, do something that will help them calm down. If you really want them to take a breather, actions speak louder than words. Give them a hug, run them a bath, hold them. Do something to reassure them. You can still be affectionate when you're pissed off at each other because at the end of the day you care for each other and will work it out. That security can help us come down."

Click below to follow HuffPost Australia on Snapchat!

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact