Relationships: Preventing Intensification of Arguments

By Zuzanna Myszko

It is not unusual to enter into arguments with one’s partner. In fact, even the most satisfied couples have an “unsolvable” problem and more than one “solvable” issue. In order to prevent arguments about these problems from escalating, the members of the couple must communicate effectively. Effective communication skills are especially important for people in romantic relationships because emotional escalation happens more rapidly in those relationships than in others. Also, once escalation begins, it is extremely difficult to regain control over one’s emotions.

Two skills that are worthwhile to develop in terms of relationship conflicts are:

  1. Use empathic responses.
  2. Use self-calming techniques.

Practicing empathic responses keeps heated emotions from intensifying. Empathic responses are important because they force the members of the couple to see the situation from the other’s perspective. This allows for more feelings of understanding and less defensive statements that might further hurt the other person.

Additionally, the development of self-calming skills allows for de-escalation. Self-calming techniques include taking time away from the discussion, “conscious breathing, positive self-talk, and self-compassion.” When one is able to keep anger at bay, he or she can approach the situation rationally. This results in the couple being able to focus on working toward a solution to the problem, rather than becoming defensive and angry.

In the end, when approaching an issue with a partner, it is important to remember that all people share the same emotional needs in romantic partnerships.

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship troubles speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit




One thought on “Relationships: Preventing Intensification of Arguments

  1. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people don’t speak about these issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


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