Fighting brings out the worst in everyone—and, at the end of the day, the only behavior you can really control is your own. But there are things you can do to turn a potentially destructive argument into a productive, healing meeting of the minds—and get to that make-up sex a whole lot quicker.
AVOID “I DIDN’T DO THAT”
If your girlfriend is saying something you don’t agree with, your first instinct may be to shoot down what she’s saying with an “I didn’t do that,” “That’s not what I meant,” or “That’s not what happened.”
The problem is, this will just keep you tied up in the minutiae of the fight. Understand that what’s important is that you both feel you’re being heard, not that you both agree on the particulars of what happened. Focusing on disputing each other’s details is a waste of time and will only annoy her more.
DON’T HEAR, LISTEN
This might sound obvious, but it’s actually the hardest thing to do. When you’re in an argument, check your mental process: I bet you’re spending 20% of your energy listening and 80% figuring out what to say in response.
But concentrating on listening to what she’s actually saying is the best way to defuse an argument, says Bonnie Jacobson, Ph.D., co-author of Choose to Be Happily Married. Though it may feel cheesy, the phrase, “What I’m hearing from you is...” is an absolutely essential thing to have in your arsenal.
TOUCH HER... CAREFULLY
“Physical contact is a great way to calm both of you down,” says Jacobson. But be warned, the last thing she wants is to feel you’re invading her space, telling her to chill out or diffusing the situation cheaply.
So touch with caution. Holding her hand or gently rubbing her shoulder are both safe options. Hugging her may be OK, too, but ask her permission before going full contact.
And whatever you do, don’t attempt anything that could be construed as coming on to her. The only thing a woman hates more than a guy she’s pissed at is a guy she’s pissed at who’s really just trying to get laid.
And Finally... The Make-up Sex
Don’t jump the gun here. Wait till you’ve both laughed about the fight and started talking about other things—a sign her mind is starting to get past the argument. Then kiss her to test the waters. If she kisses you back, it’s on.
Remember the key to great make-up sex: slow and passionate. If she still has some anger she wants to let out and starts to take it to a kinkier place, go with it. But let her be the one to direct it that way. And while it’s certainly easier said than done, try not to finish before she does.