5 Ways to Solve Any Relationship Problem

  • Every time you or your partner call each other "stupid" or an "idiot" or an even nastier slur, a little bit of your relationship gets destroyed in the process. On top of that, your original problem will get lost in a barrage of obscenities, and nothing gets solved. So if you're being insulted, the right move is to say, as calmly as you can, "I can't continue to talk to you right now if you're going to use that language," and then offer to pick up the conversation later when your partner has calmed down. If they continue to aggressively come at you, then you need to question whether you'll be able to stay in a relationship with someone who's that emotionally and verbally abusive.
  • Saying "or else!" A lot of people I know love to tack this little threat at the end of a command -- for example, "You better do things my way, or else!" Apparently they feel as if their need will get met more quickly if there's a hint of some consequence. But the real question should be: "Or else what?" What will you really do if your partner ignores your request? How will you retaliate? The problem with this choice of words is that very few people respond favorably to a threat and will actually do the opposite just to show that they won't be coerced into a specific action. Your bluff may be called, and then what will you be prepared to do? If you back down, then your threat is meaningless.

    Instead, think through your response very carefully and tell your partner, "Here's what I'm going to do if you don't respond to me." It's certainly okay to provide a consequence if your partner fails to correct a problem in the relationship, but that consequence needs to be well defined.

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