How to Fix a Relationship After a Fight

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credit: Derek Clegg, “Hanging By a String”

How to Fix a Relationship After a Fight

How to fix your relationship after a bad fight. As a couples counselor and wife, I’m well aware that all couples fight, sometimes. This is not a bad thing: Conflict can lead to constructive conversations and deeper connection. And… some fights are just toxic and unproductive.

Here at Growing Self we offer relationship coaching and a lot of relationship advice geared towards helping you proactively solve problems and avoid conflict in your relationship. We even help you turn conflict into connection and use communication skills to have effective arguments. But sometimes, couples just have a terrible fight where they both say mean things to each other and feel like they damaged their relationship in the process.

Has this just happened in your relationship? Have you just had a nasty fight, and now you’re looking for help to get your relationship back on track? 

You’re in the right place: Real help for your relationship is here. Read on for actionable tips, PLUS a video, a quiz, and even a podcast — all here to help you mend your relationship. 

Fix Your Relationship After a Fight

First of all, if you’re actively looking for help to fix your relationship after a fight, that in itself is a great sign. It means that you care enough about your relationship to work on it, and to put your time, energy and effort into fixing your relationship after a fight.

As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I work with couples all the time who are concerned about the level of fighting in their relationship and want to heal their bond. Here are some of my top tips for how to not just fix your relationship after a fight — as in a “let’s slap a band-aid on this and forget it ever happened” — but really and truly, use the experience you both had to move forward and develop the amazing relationship you both want and deserve.

5 Tips to Mend Your Relationship After a Fight

Here’s some from-the-heart advice from a professional marriage counselor to help you fix your relationship after a fight, and use this as an opportunity to start a new chapter of growth and closeness in your relationship.

Tip #1 | Do Not Catastrophize

If you’ve just had a bad fight, you might be feeling worried about your relationship, wondering if you’re compatible, or even if this is the beginning of the end. Let’s stop: All couples fight. If you get too worried about the fight itself, it might lead you to withdraw emotionally and that’s never helpful. 

Here’s a reframe: Fighting is actually a good sign — it means that you both still care enough to tangle with each other, try to be understood, and attempt to create change in your relationship. When couples are really in trouble, like on the brink of divorce, fighting often stops. People have given up. (More on this here: “How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage.” But not you two! You are still fighting for your relationship.)

Tip #2 | Take a Break 

Do NOT try to fix your relationship after a fight in the heat of the moment. Really. Neither of you are thinking clearly and it’s best to let it go until you can both calm down. Leave it until the morning, or go take a walk, and don’t even try to repair your relationship until you’re really and truly feeling calm. 

How will you know that you’ve calmed down enough to mend things? When you can shift gears from your perspective to theirs. (Listen to the podcast below for a much more detailed explanation of this!)

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Tip #3 | Validate Your Partner

Remember, fighting happens because people are trying to be heard and understood… but feeling invalidated or ignored by their partner. The quickest and most effective way to repair your relationship after a fight is to — deep breath here — let go of your agenda for a little while, and put your energy into understanding your partner’s feelings, hopes, desires and perspective. Hard? Yes. Effective? Double-yes. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to agree with or acquiesce to their feelings (at the expense of yours), but when you listen with the intention of understanding it immediately calms conflict and starts rebuilding trust, empathy, and compassion.

Tip #4 | Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize 

It’s not unusual at all for people to say or do really regrettable things in the heat of the moment. Yelling, stomping, slamming doors, even name calling. When you get flooded with emotion it really does turn off the part of your brain that is thoughtful, articulate, and can anticipate cause-and-effect. 

Basically, when you get angry it unleashes your inner toddler who does a smash-and-grab job on the emotional safety of your relationship. (Or one who “punishes” by silence, rejection, or weird passive-aggressive things which is not cool either). 

We all have the potential to do this. It can be tempting to reach for blame in these moments (i.e., “Well I only burned the toast to teach him how it feels to be uncared for,” etc.) but that just perpetuates disconnection. Instead, try saying, “I didn’t behave well during our fight and I’m sorry for that. You deserve to be treated with respect no matter how upset I get and I’ll try better next time.”

[More on: How to Have Difficult Conversations with those you care about]

Tip #5 | Use this as an Opportunity to Learn and Grow

Fighting in a relationship can actually be extremely productive and helpful when it results in couples talking about important things they don’t usually talk about, learning new things about each other, and finding new solutions to old problems. 

Relationships stagnate when people walk around holding in their feelings, not wanting to rock the boat, or doing anything that will upset the other. While this sounds virtuous and noble, it’s actually a recipe for resentment and growing disconnection. 

Healthy, strong couples talk about things that bother them and work together to find solutions that feel better for both of them. Is having a drag-out fight the very best way to do this? Well, no, BUT even the worst fight can be the doorway to creating new understanding and solutions in your relationship IF you’re willing to listen to each other, acknowledge the validity of each other’s perspective, and agree that you both deserve to feel loved and respected in this relationship. You do!

[Here are 3 Steps to Effective Arguing that you and your partner can practice for better communication]

Relationship Resources to Help Recover a Relationship After a Fight

I hope that these tips help you fix your relationship after a fight. Ideally, if you take this relationship advice to heart you’ll not just repair your relationship after this one fight, but you’ll head off the next fight before it starts! Now, that said, sometimes couples can fall into negative cycles of interaction where fighting, negativity, resentment, and bad feelings have been growing for a while. If that is the case, you might find that it’s a lot harder to bounce back after an EPIC fight because of all the water under the bridge previously.

There is still hope, and there is still help. Consider enlisting the support of an expert marriage counselor or couples therapist to help you set aside your differences so that you can address the deeper issues in your relationship and reconnect with your compassion and love for each other. Having a great couples therapist or relationship coach can help you have constructive conflict that grows your relationship (rather than negative, unproductive conflict that destroys it).

If you’d like to get started with positive, effective, and evidence based couples therapy, marriage counseling or relationship coaching we invite you to schedule a free consultation with one of the amazing therapists and coaches on the team here at Growing Self.

Wishing all the best for you both,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. Because SO many couples start looking for resources, relationship advice, and ways to fix their relationship after a big fight – I have even MORE resources for you. Please check out the podcast  (and video) that I recorded on this topic, just to help you in this moment (both are available below). I know it feels like a crisis right now, but trust me — this can be the start of an amazing new chapter in your relationship. Your partner in growth, LMB

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Fix a Relationship After a Fight

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credit: Derek Clegg, “Hanging By a String”

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  1. Hi Dr. Lisa. Please, I need your help on my long distance relationship. I love him but we always argue and have a lots of misunderstandings. What can I do for this to stop? Please help me.

  2. Hi Gold, have you listened to “Solve the Biggest Problem in Your Relationship: Communication,” “How to Avoid Miscommunication in Relationships,” or “How to Make Long Distance Work?” You might find them helpful. I don’t have too much information on your relationship, and repeating relationship issues take a little more attention and time to resolve than I can offer here. Couples therapy is wonderful for giving you that space and time. Thank you so much for reaching out and being a part of the discussion! xoxo, Lisa

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