In any relationship, conflict is bound to happen. In fact, experts believe it is a normal component of a healthy relationship. However, it is how we react/behave after the conflict that determines the longevity and direction the relationship takes afterwards.
Here are a few tips for repairing your relationship after conflict, restoring your bond and intimacy:
1.Take time to reflect on behaviors that were harsh, passive or defensive.
This includes being critical, using insults or speaking in an unfriendly/harsh tone, shutting down during a fight with your significant other, turning the focus on yourself or acting like you are completely innocent.
2.Take responsibility for the hurtful behavior you engaged in.
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean we are admitting being at fault and absolving our partner of any wrong doing. Taking responsibility here means we realized how our behavior was hurtful to our partner and we are capable of admitting our parts in the conflict.
3.Express remorse for how that behavior impacted your partner
After you realize your part in the conflict and take responsibility for it, embrace the fact that your partner’s reality is valid alongside yours. Then try to infuse some emotional attunement in your apology. You can express some guilt and sadness for hurting your partner, many times, people go into shame instead of guilt here. The key is to make the emotional expression about your partner and not about yourself.
4.Allow your partner to have their own experience, even though this is hard.
Its important to keep in mind that even after you do all the above, your partner may still need time to process. This may be especially hard after you pour out your heart to them and be vulnerable. You can take this time to self-sooth but this doesn’t mean you let your partner maltreat you or shut you out.