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How to Fight With Your Girlfriend 2.0

Sharing your feelings is helpful—but choose your words carefully.

It’s third and goal. She takes the remote and switches to Real Housewives. You’re pissed. What to do? 

Let it out: Sharing your feelings is helpful, says The Mathematics of Love author Hannah Fry, Ph.D. But, seriously: Watch what you say.

When Fry, a University College London math professor, statistically analyzed a noted couples study, the data showed that sharing is healthy—but word choice is paramount.

Says Fry, “Not all communication is equal. In the study, couples in strong relationships held deep-seated positive views of each another, and dismissed bad behavior as out of the ordinary, saying things like, ‘You’re just tired.’ But troubled couples used bad acts to reinforce negative beliefs, saying things like, ‘You’re always selfish.’” 

Lesson: Resolve issues asap, but if you find yourself using mean or button-pushing words (“always,” “never”) , try looking deeper into the relationship.

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