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What Fighting (Yes, Fighting!) Can Teach You About Your Relationship

Some fighting is good, some fighting is bad — but where's the line?

06/05/2017 14:01 EDT | Updated 06/05/2017 14:31 EDT

For BRIDES, by Jaimie Mackey.

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If you’re in a relationship, you will disagree (or even fight) at some point. Some fighting is good, some fighting is bad — but where’s the line? Which fights mean your marriage is working, and which are unhealthy? Our experts have a few relationship advice tips that will help you fight productively, strengthening your relationship instead of breaking it down.

“Arguing is a completely healthy and normal relationship behavior,” says dating strategist Jasmine Diaz, “but when an argument becomes less about being constructive and more about inflicting pain, it can lead to a wealth of problems within your relationship.”

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Every relationship has what Diaz calls red zones, or topics and subjects you don’t discuss or lines you do not cross for the sake of your partner’s well-being. “Violating a red zone can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and feelings of low self-worth,” Diaz describes. “This is toxic to any relationship because if you are unable to respect your partner’s boundaries, your relationship is simply unsustainable.” Fights surrounding these off-limit topics aren’t productive and don’t do anything positive for your relationship.

Fights surrounding these off-limit topics aren’t productive and don’t do anything positive for your relationship.

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If there is an issue you need to discuss, frame it as a conversation instead of an accusation, advises Diaz. She says, “Instead of saying, ‘You never spend time with me! All you do is hang out with your friends,’ try saying, ‘When we’re apart, it makes me feel lonely. Would you be open to doing date night once a week instead of once a month?’ This way, you’re being clear about the issue but also seeking a resolution. Having a goal-focused conversation leads to positive results.” If you can have a constructive fight (which, really, is an intense or emotional conversation more than a fight), you’ll continue to build a strong foundation that brings you closer instead of tearing you apart. By framing concerns as a conversation, you’re inviting your partner to participate and making sure you both are heard. Better communication means more success — and fewer fights too!

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