During the beginning stages of your relationship, everything your new Boo does is cute. You love spending every waking moment together, and, when you’re apart, you FaceTime just to say good night.
And then, out of the blue, you have your first fight. Maybe it’s over something stupid, like which radio station you should listen to while you’re driving home from your date.
You’re definitely feeling some kind of way, and the next thing you know, you’re arguing with each other.
Or, it could be something he said over dinner that made you feel some kind of way. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a major blowout and you haven’t talked to each other in days.
Whatever the issue is, your first fight as a couple can make or break your new relationship if you don’t know how to handle it properly. I want to help you with these 5 tips to help you survive your first fight with your new boo.
1. Upgrade Your Listening Skills
Communication isn’t just about talking. It’s about learning how to listen well. For example, let’s say you’re in your new boyfriend’s car and the song “Watch Me” comes on. You start doing the Whip and the Nae Nae and then suddenly he turns off the song and says, “That song is STUPID! I’m sick of hearing it!”
You’re definitely feeling some kind of way, and the next thing you know, you’re arguing with each other. Want to know why this simple misunderstanding escalated to a fight?
Because you made up a story in your head about what he meant. Instead of hearing that he hated the song, you assumed he was talking about how you were stupid for listening to the song.
This led you to jump to conclusions (Oh, no, he’s not gonna talk to me like that!) and your ego stepped in to protect your hurt feelings.
Change the way you listen so you don’t take everything so personally. Check in with your Boo to make sure you heard what you think you heard and then use the next tip.
2. Fight The Problem Not The Person
The next step is to focus on the problem and not on the person. If you judge your new boyfriend as controlling, insensitive or angry because he turned off your favorite song, then you’re going to end up directing all your . at him. Instead, you need to figure out what the real problem is, and tackle it together.
For example, the problem is the way he talked to you. It hurt your feelings and it doesn’t make you feel respected or loved. That’s what you need to talk about! You’ll know how to do this if you use the following tip.
3. Use T.A.C.T.
TACT stands for Tell the Absolute and Complete Truth. To squash an argument, you want to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is all about emotional honesty. It takes courage to tell someone how you really feel.
For example, if you were angry about what your boyfriend did, you need to understand that anger is really a secondary emotion. It’s a sign that you either feel unsafe, violated, or sad about something. So dig beneath the anger (or whatever emotions come up) and share them with your partner.
4. Know Your Conflict Style
Some people tend to avoid conflict at all costs and will just cave in to the what the other person wants while burying feelings of anger and resentment.
.: 7 Realistic Ways to Manage Conflict Before Things Get Too Heated
Others will be very confrontational and aggressively try to win the argument. If you know yourself, you’ll be better prepared to get to the place where you can respond instead of react to your partner.
5. Respond, Don’t React
Reacting to your new Boo over the radio situation may look like shutting down and refusing to talk to him the rest of the drive home, or you may overreact and tell him off!
Responding is a better option and sounds something like this:
“I have a problem, Rick. You know, you really hurt my feelings when you just turned off the radio like that. I understand you don’t like the song, but you made me feel like I was stupid for liking it. I also felt like you were angry and that doesn’t make me feel like being close to you.”
Now you sit back and see how your partner responds. If he apologizes, graciously accept it. If he rejects your feelings, then you have some data on whether or not this person is a good partner for you!
Conflict in a new relationship is actually a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re being authentic and that you know that you and your partner will have some differences. Avoiding conflict isn’t the solution. Knowing how to handle it is!