Do you find yourself constantly head-to-head with your partner? Did your past relationships end due to explosive rows? If this sounds familiar, it's time to start understanding and analysing your partner's argument style.
First thing's first: whether you admit it or not, we all argue. Whether it's a tussle over the duvet or a more serious debate about how to raise our children, arguments are part and parcel of any relationship. But experts claims it's the way in which we argue is important to analyse if we want to make sense of our relationships. Understanding your partner's argument style - and learning how to react to it - could dramatically improve your relationship.
As Ieva Kubiliute, Psychologist and Relationship Coach, explains: “We must acknowledge that everyone has a unique way of expressing disagreement or dissatisfaction. The patterns in which we argue often stem from our upbringing, past relationships, and even our inherent personality traits."
Here are the common argument styles and strategies to engage with your partner constructively:
If your partner tends to sidestep or evade arguments, they might be an ‘Avoidant.’ They may fear conflict, associate it with past hurt, or perceive it as counterproductive. The best approach is to ensure they feel safe and understand that arguments are a normal part of any relationship. Encourage open discussions rather than heated debates, providing reassurances that their feelings and perspectives matter.
This individual perceives arguments as battles to be won. They often have a strong need to be 'right,' and can become defensive if challenged. Empathy is key when dealing with a competitor. Acknowledge their viewpoint and show appreciation for their passion, but also invite them to consider your perspective. Remember, it's about finding a solution together, not about winning or losing.
These partners are usually willing to give and take, finding middle ground during disagreements. They thrive on balance and mutual respect. Encourage this behaviour by showing appreciation for their willingness to find a compromise. Keep the conversation fair and balanced.
They often concede to avoid conflict, potentially neglecting their own needs. Encourage the Accommodator to voice their needs and feelings. Make it clear that their opinions are valued, and it's okay to disagree sometimes.
“Understanding your partner's argument style isn't just about knowing how to respond effectively; it's about acknowledging their emotions, experiences, and perspectives,” adds Ieva. "Always approach conflicts with patience, empathy, and a willingness to understand. Maintain open and respectful communication. Remember that the goal is to grow together, not apart, in the face of disagreement.
"Also, it's important to note that people may exhibit different argument styles depending on the situation, so be aware that these styles are not rigid categories but rather guides to understanding.
“Remember, it's perfectly okay to seek help. As a relationship coach and psychologist, I can tell you that seeking professional guidance is sometimes the best step toward nurturing a happier, healthier relationship.”
Now you've identified your partner's argument style, Nia Williams, a Therapist at Miss Date Doctor, has shared some general advice for understanding - and responding to - your partner's argument style:
Active Listening: Practice active listening to understand your partner's perspective during arguments. Give them your full attention, show empathy, and validate their feelings, even if you disagree with their viewpoint.
Communication Patterns: Recognise that individuals develop unique communication patterns influenced by their upbringing and past experiences. Respect these differences and aim for constructive dialogue rather than trying to prove who is right or wrong.
Emotional Triggers: Understand the emotional triggers that lead to your partner's specific argument style. By identifying and addressing these triggers, you can approach discussions with sensitivity and reduce the likelihood of heated conflicts.
Seek Common Ground: Focus on finding common ground and reaching compromises that address both partners' needs. Approach arguments as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship rather than trying to win at the expense of your partner.
It seems that understanding your partner's argument style is essential for fostering a happy and fulfilling relationship - and who doesn't want that? “By recognising different communication approaches and empathetically engaging in conflicts, couples can navigate disagreements with greater understanding, respect, and effective problem-solving,” adds Nia. “Remember, open and constructive communication, coupled with a willingness to understand and adapt, is key to building a strong and harmonious partnership.”
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.