Lover’s Quarrel? Try this “Eject Button” to End Arguments Fast

how to end relationship fights“You said that just to hurt me!”

It hurts (a lot) when someone you care for doubts your motives.

It’s one of the most upsetting things in the world. It’s a recipe for an epic fight.

When you’re upset, point out the actions that make you feel hurt. Don’t accuse your partner of intending to hurt you.

Why? Because if you’ve experienced this yourself, you know it leaves you feeling misunderstood to the point that you actually feel lonely.

“If he doesn’t know my character well enough to know I would not intentionally hurt him like that then he must not know me at all.”

So what should you do when you feel hurt?

For starters, don’t ignore it or avoid it. I’m not suggesting that you say nothing. That’s a bad call. If you’re hurt and uncomfortable, you need to communicate that. Stuffing your feelings will only lead to resentment. That’s toxic in any relationship. It will end up pushing the two of you apart in the long run.

You can and should tell him when you feel hurt. Tell him he was insensitive. Tell him he’s ignoring an emotional need you have.

Just don’t tell him he meant to hurt you. You see the distinction, right?

Letting him know he let you down is one thing. Accusing him of intentionally hurting you is something else entirely.

When you make that leap, he’ll hear it as an attack on his character. And really, it is. He will get defensive in a heartbeat, and I know that’s not what you want.

Sure, there will be times when you genuinely feel like he hurt you on purpose. But a lot of that suspicion is tied to your feelings of disappointment. And guess what? Those feelings will pass. When they do, you’ll remember that you’re with this guy because you trust each other. You don’t want to undermine that foundation of mutual trust in the heat of the moment.

The key is to focus on his actions, not his intentions.

Instead of questioning his motives, stick to the facts. Tell him that what he said or did left you feeling hurt. Even if the situation is something you’ve addressed before, steer clear of implying his actions signify a lack of concern or investment. Most likely, he really didn’t mean to hurt you.

how to end relationship fightsAfter all, he’s human. Even the best guy in the world is going to screw up from time to time. In giving him the benefit of the doubt, you’re paving the way to resolution without a knock-down-drag-out fight.

And if you really want a solid relationship, share this tip with him. Make it a rule about how you handle conflict as a couple. Agree that both of you will always be honest about how you feel when you’re hurt, but you’ll never question each other’s good intentions.

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16 thoughts on “Lover’s Quarrel? Try this “Eject Button” to End Arguments Fast

  1. Maureen said:

    I reconnected with my high school boyfriend (we dated for 4 yrs) and broke up over a disagreement. We are both going thru a divorce. He wants me to live with him, but says he never wants a relationship only a friendship and yet says we can sleep in the same bed and vacation together. Everything he says is “us” or “ours” but yet he will not hold my hand or kiss me. He says he loves me but because of his bad marriage he is scarred and does not want another wife to answer to. But isn’t living with someone a relationship? He talks about all the things he wants us to do together and yet puts up roadblocks and then lashes out at me for the dumbest thing and says the cruelest things to me. I find myself crying a lot because I know I am in a no win situation. I love him and it’s hard to walk away because we do have chemistry and a great connection where we enjoy the same things and can talk for hours. Should I just leave or wait it out and see if he comes around? We were supposed to get married when we were younger and he stills says he wished we did. What should I do? We are both 64 yrs old. He bought us a house and is renovating it and says he wants me to move in soon. His temper scares me. And I am afraid one day he will say GET OUT. which he says he will never do. Do I move in or just walk away?

    • Tracey said:

      Hi Maureen,

      This sounds like a very tricky situation. We have a private forum where you can ask personal questions and get feedback from our relationship coaches. I’d like to recommend that you check it out here: private forum.

      Within this private community you can ask questions and share experiences with like-minded women and our most advanced members. This way you can get extra real-time feedback and support for your unique situation.

      I hope you find the right path for your future.

      Wishing you love and happiness,


  2. Mary said:

    Hi James
    I completely agree with you. However in my case the shoe is on the other foot. My partner constantly misunderstands me and accuses me of talking down to him and intentionally hurting him. I can tell you unequivocally that is not the case. He doesn’t seem to be able to cope if my opinion different to his and I always express that in a calm and considered way. I’m at my wits end and I feel I need to walk on egg shells around him at times and I can’t be me. I have tried to communicate how this makes me feel and that my intention is not to hurt, but that I simply do not feel the same way about a certain issue. He then shuts down and it takes me hours to bring him about again. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Mary. It sounds like your man is prone to “flooding,” which is an interesting phenomenon. It’s something researchers have seen primarily in men. Basically, during arguments, men experience elevated heart rate and a sensation of emotional overwhelm that leads to anger or withdrawal.

      It’s not what you would expect given the tough exterior we guys often show. When we feel emotionally overwhelmed, we don’t cry. We flee (what relationship therapists call “stonewalling.”

      Ironically, this means a man of that type needs even more sensitivity and an even more gentle approach. It also means he’s likely to benefit from relationship counseling where the counselor helps him to verbalize his feelings instead of shutting down. He would also benefit from reading a book or two about communication between couples.

      If you haven’t gone through my course on communication, that’s a great place to start. Just email my support team if you’d like to purchase a copy:

      Wishing you courage and compassion,


  3. Anna said:

    Thank you for all your help James:) i think alot of us have grown up to think that expressing our true feelings just makes us look pathetic. So we hide our feelings and attack the other persons intentions instead. Which is disastrous.
    I really love your aricles. I learn more everytime!

  4. Maggie said:

    Wiw, this just happened to me a week ago, where my intentions were questioned about one word I said, and he was so hurt.
    I felt i had to be respinsible, apologized, because he was so hurt, and I knew I did not do that intentionally, but wow…. we finally got throught ,thankfully.but it was hurtful, that he would even think that of me.
    Thanks for this article

  5. Lisa said:

    Hi James,
    I too am in the process of starting over with my ex-husband. I looked at more than a couple of online programs and didn’t feel like any of them were right for me until I found yours. It has really helped me to see things differently. My question is, my ex sometimes DID say things just to hurt me, and I know he didn’t really mean it, was just lashing out in anger. So far it hasn’t happened this time around (8 weeks in) but what if he does it again? How should I approach it if I know it IS intentional?
    Thank so much for everything!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lisa. You might like our new forum where we can discuss situations like this in more depth (over time).

      You said your ex sometimes tried to hurt you with negative comments in a moment of anger. And you said you know he didn’t mean it. But the fact that you are bringing this up now (many weeks later) tells me this is something that really hurts you. So you should not ignore it. Or else it might destroy a relationship that is otherwise good.

      What if you ask him to talk strategy with you now (when he’s not angry). Do you think he could admit to the problem and openly discuss potential solutions?


      • Lisa said:

        We have been divorced for a year and it always did hurt me when it happened back then, even though I was aware of previous bad relationships that he had, and I knew the reason why he was lashing out the way he was. When I tried to tell him that he hurt me, he would just admit he didn’t mean it and try to ignore it.I would like to discuss strategy with him but I’m not sure what the strategy would be because he tends to get defensive just like you said.

  6. Rhonda said:

    Hello James,

    So I am trying to get back with my ex but he only seems to want me to help with his computer or have sex. He only reaches out for those things. I told him it was hurtful after I asked him to meet me for coffee and he said he wasn’t too much on that. I think he was mad about me not having sex with him. He said it was just a schedule thing and then did meet me for coffee a few days later and said he didn’t care about computer or sex. But when we were thru having coffee he asked me if I wanted to come over which I did but told him I was not comfortable having sex with him once I got there. Then he asked me to come over again to help with his computer. I responded that he could have me as his dedicated loyal tech support if he could afford me but we could discuss it if he was interested. He replied “discuss”. The conversation started playful and he even said I guess you are worth it after I told him that I wanted more – to be able to talk to him and see him. But then he started asking how much talking and started getting defensive. It did not end well with me saying that he could not do what he was uncomfortable doing and I couldn’t either. He seemed to change after I expressed my feelings regarding having sex. He said I was wanting a commitment or promise and in a round about way explained he couldn’t do that. I said I would consider what he said but the tone of the call had changed. So that is how it ended. So should I respond back that his actions are hurtful again or just leave it at this? Did I push too much? I thought about responding back (it’s been almost a week) that it got too serious and that I just want to keep things light but that I will not (restating) help him or have sex.

    Thanks so much.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Rhonda. It seems his actions have made it fairly clear that he would like the benefits you provide but not a true relationship. For that reason, I advise you to find someone who is excited by the very idea of spending time with you.

      If you do decide to pursue things with your ex, realize it requires a certain degree of “starting over” in terms of the mentality you bring to the relationship. He has to see it as a courtship beginning almost from scratch, which does not begin with sex.

      • Rhonda said:

        Hello James,

        Thanks for you response. I believe you are right. I know saying it and doing it are very different. I don’t understand how he can say this isn’t how he is when it is exactly how he is. I kinda think he can’t even admit it in his own mind. It’s hard for someone to hide though when you tell them what actions hurt you. I’m glad I did point it out and revealed his true intentions. Thanks so much for the help.

  7. Anette said:

    There’s nothing worse than questioning – and being questioned in return – on your intentions. It hurt so much and it undermines the trust and respect in the relationship.
    I’ve started to learn to not be so openly doubtful about my boyfriend’s intentions but sometimes it’s really hard.
    I’ve been a child in a family with heavy alcohol abuse and later in a very heavy relationship where the other part abused me sexually – and so it can be very hard not to question your partners intentions when the hurt flares up because of these experiences. But I’m trying and every day and for every fight I take a small step toward more trust in my partner. As a result our relationship has become better and stronger because of it.

    This is serious business, James and I’m sure a lot of couples can use this. Keep up the great work and your inspiring articles 🙂

  8. Bernadette said:

    James, I often take your advice and it has made a difference in my latest relationship. Thanks for the better approach to conflict. opening the lines of communication does lead to an open, peaceful conversation. Thanks again.

    • James Bauer said:

      You’re welcome, Bernadette. It’s encouraging to know my work has made a difference for you.


  9. Favour Sunday said:

    This is very good and helpful.

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