It’s a scary place to be–emotionally distant from the one you love, regret from words you’ve said, and pain from what you’re feeling.
Anger, frustration, and sadness surround you and you think to yourself
how can we come back from this?
Recovering from a bad fight has two sides to it.
The first being the personal healing that requires an introspective approach to your own thoughts and feelings.
The other being what is brought to the table by both parties hoping to make peace.
In the moments, hours, and days following a traumatic fight, here are the things you can do to help heal your relationship.
1: Reflect on the Anatomy of Your Fight
In a heated moment, your mind goes into fight or flight mode.
This usually results in words and actions done almost incoherently.
A fight is often considered traumatic for both parties as both are victims.
Unless the fight has become physical, to which you must leave the relationship entirely and immediately.
In most cases, a bad fight with your partner may become abusive even if it’s not intentional or physical.
Emotional abuse hurts just as much and causes an equal amount of damage.
Identify the root cause
The longer a traumatic fight drags on, the source of it becomes harder to recognize.
In the initial cool off period, it’s important to retrace your steps to identify what the initial point of each part was.
This part of your initial reflection will be vital to making amends (as you will see in the steps to come).
2: Give each other space
You’ve likely already had each other’s opinions all in your face.
For now, separate yourselves.
If you live together, try your best to remain in different rooms but not to sleep elsewhere unless you feel it necessary.
Leaving the house you share could add a layer of abandonment to the damage already done.
If your partner is the one to initiate the need for space do not cling to them.
Respect their decision (it’s the right one) and take some time to yourself.
Whoever decides to walk away first is likely the first one to notice the fight is going nowhere and in order to avoid hurting each other further.
Walking away at the right time can mean the difference between walking away forever or not.
Ultimately, the distance and length of time you choose to stay away from your partner is up to you.
The following steps would be of no use until you are truly ready to take the next steps toward healing.
3: Time to talk (and listen!)
Once you’ve given each other enough time and space to reflect on the situation, the time comes to reunite. Take it slow, and offer up your greatest ability to remain and calm and patient.
Remember, both of you are hurting.
Communicating after a traumatic fight really is all about timing.
If you’re not ready to listen when your partner is expressing themselves and their feelings, things could go from bad to worse.
A good rule of thumb is to start your phrases “I feel [blank] when you [blank]” this leaves out the chance of false accusations and misunderstandings.
Avoid a rematch
The point of talking is to find resolution not to go for a round two.
Keeping your own emotions in check will be the key to mending the relationship post-fight.
When it comes time to hear your partner out, how you behave during and after their expression can make a world a difference.
When it’s their turn, sit your own feelings (and need to express them) aside.
Your turn will be soon. And just as you want them to listen, do the same.
Listen to understand not to respond.
Don’t hold anything back
Respecting your own feelings is equally important. Don’t hold your thoughts and your hurt, back.
Suppressing feelings just to end the issue is like sticking a tiny band-aid on a gaping wound.
If you’re serious about healing the relationship you must remain vulnerable.
On the other, it will also be your job to make sure you create an environment free of hostility thus encouraging them to open up.
Own up to your mistakes
An apology can only go so far.
What’s more important is expressing to your partner that you understand exactly what you’ve done or said that hurt them.
Then commit to never doing it again.
Obviously, you have to mean it and actively work to not repeat your mistakes.
4: Reaffirm your positive feelings for one another
Though it’s not healthy, it is common to say things you don’t mean in the midst of a traumatic fight.
From name-calling or even shouting “I hate you” there is usually something you regret.
Now, it’s time to help heal your partner’s feelings and express how you truly feel.
Don’t plan an extravagant getaway—it’s too soon.
But a handwritten card, flowers sent to their office, or binge-watching their favorite show, do some of the things you did long ago to win their love.
A few heartfelt gestures may heal what’s broken and rekindle the flame.
Most importantly, it allows you to express how you really feel.
5: Forgive and forget but also learn
The last stage of healing your relationship after a traumatic fight it leaving it in the past.
Again, timing is everything.
Never day you forgive them if you feel you haven’t let go of the fight entirely.
You’ll only end up bringing it up in the modist of another argument allowing neither of you to move on from it.
Let the past remain in the past in order to give your relationship the chance of a happy future.