What's Your Fighting Style?

Almost all couples fight. Indeed, arguments can be very productive for relationships—they often resolve issues, solve problems, and bring simmering irritants to the surface so they can be dealt with. So whether it’s the occasional bickering or a full-out scream fest, knowing your and your partner’s fighting style is the first step to finding better ways to get along, the key is knowing how to fight. Read on to identify your own and your partner’s fighting styles, and learn what it will take to improve your relationship.

Bottlers

Fighting type: Bottler

People who have a tendency to hold it all in usually fear conflict, and don’t know how to handle difficult conversations. But “Bottlers” don’t have less of a problem with anger, and their stonewalling tendencies can be destructive in their personal relationships. “Often these people don’t want to hurt the person they love, so instead they choose to say nothing,” says Tobi Klein, a Montreal-based psychotherapist and sex therapist. “And they can really find it difficult to know what words to use to describe how they’re feeling.”

That’s my partner

If you’re frustrated by a “Bottler,” set aside time when you’re both willing and able to have a meaningful conversation. This type needs to feel that it’s safe to talk things out, so timing is important when it comes to raising issues—avoid pressing them in the heat of an argument. Make that talk possible by reassuring your partner that your intention is for both of you to feel better about the relationship.

That's Me

You tend to shut down and find it impossible to share your feelings when conflict arises. So tune in to the potential damage that you are doing to your relationship by letting issues accumulate. Then let your partner know what’s on your mind in a non-accusatory way.

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