No matter how much we love our partners, there are times when fighting and disagreements are simply impossible to avoid. It doesn't if you've been together for a month, a year, or four years (like my boyfriend and I). Here are a few things to help keep your fights short and civil.

1. Be forthcoming.

If you're experiencing problems then you and your partner need to understand the importance of being honest with each other, even if it means admitting to a lie or a minimized issue that was presumed to be buried in the past. When your relationship encounters a make-or-break hardship it is quintessential that you fully disclose your feelings with your partner. To do anything else or to keep things secret for simplicity's sake will not fix any underlying problems your relationship may have. If anything, the longer you allow growing issues to fester, the more problematic they'll grow to be.

2. Don't be afraid to consider breaking up. 

I know, these words are practically blasphemy, but it's emotionally draining to see friends stay in relationships that aren't good for either participant. Breaking up, especially when it is a one-sided desire, is a terrifying prospect, but it isn't always a bad thing. By all means, work through what you can, compromise, and only come to this once you've exhausted all of your alternative options, but don't disregard it as an impossibility.

(Certainly don't use this as an ultimatum to reach a "compromise" either.)

Behaving as though the relationship you're in will be the only one you'll ever be in is sweet, but it's also idealistic, sometimes there is no working things out and THAT IS OK.

3. Do not go on a break.

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If you're willing to go on a break, why not just break up? All a break does is give you and your partner the safety net of getting back together and the luxury of checking out the dating scene too. Between muddled rules and secret rules you or your partner may have in regard to going on a break, there are just too many things that can go wrong. You're better off spending a couple days apart to think things over, not weeks. Now, this isn't to say that breaks don't work for some people or some relationships. You know your relationship better than I ever will, I've merely reached this conclusion through lived and shared experiences and stories. There are exceptions to the rules and outliers in everything.

4. Don't be intentionally hurtful. 

It is understandable to get a little defensive when people criticize or argue with you, even if they're your partner. What's important is to be mindful of what you're saying. Obviously, try not to swear at your partner (as it never de-escalates fights), don't try to redirect the blame onto them, and don't try to get the advantage of the fight by dredging up moments from the past or rumors. It is one thing to speak your mind and make issues you may have been hiding known, but it is completely different for you to try and use those feelings or previously settled disputes as ammunition against your partner.

5. Apologize when appropriate. 

"I'm sorry" is a phrase that is thrown around left and right. It is one of those sayings that I think is slowly using value, day-to-day, and the easiest way to help it retain its worth is to only say it when it is necessary and when you truly mean it. I've discovered that people, myself included, apologize in lieu of wanting to fully deal with confrontation or conflict. The issue with this is that it tends to leave problems unsolved and can make you angry at your partner. It may hurt your partner to know that you aren't sorry for saying something or doing something, but to some extent, it is better to stand by your actions, especially if what you said or did are perfectly aligned with who you are as a person.

6. Don't instigate more drama. 

It's bizarre, but I've known so many people who feel the need to start or cause drama in their relationships when things get "boring," or feel the need to constantly fight with their partner. It's not fair to your partner to always feel like they're being attacked or forced to always watch their backs out of fear that you might start hassling them. If you're not happy with your relationship sailing smoothing, then odds are you're not happy in that relationship. All behavior like this does is add an immense amount of conflict, loss of trust, and general turbulence that lead to problematic relationships.