If your relationship is on the explosive side, you may be worried that all the bickering is harming your health and happiness – even if the make-up sex is great. Rest assured, it’s not, as long as you’re satisfied overall. Baylor University research finds that contented pairs are able to come to agreeable solutions and return to their happy status quo no matter how fiery their fight. Conversely, unsatisfied couples can’t spring back from squabbles, even when they try to handle conflict politely.
Make it work: follow the rules
To have the most productive, least hurtful disagreement, set some HR-inspired ground rules during a moment of peace, and agree to stick to them the next time tempers flare. First, don’t fight when you’re tired. “I hate the advice, ‘never go to sleep mad,’ because no one wants to hash it out when they’re grumpy and exhausted,” says Walsh.“Instead, make a pact to revisit the issues at the breakfast table.”
During mediations, HR managers also rely on frequent breaks to keep tempers in check. “If your guy is about to punch a wall, he should be able to leave for 15 minutes to cool down without you feeling abandoned,” says Walsh. Other signs it’s time to press pause: you start to use sweeping generalizations (‘you’re always late’) or shut down and invoke the silent treatment.