No matter how much we try to avoid confrontation, at some point, all couples argue. It’s not fun, but there are ways to work through conflict without fighting dirty. Part of that comes from understanding that certain phrases and words can trigger conflict in relationships.
There’s one word that seems to really get people upset when it’s used during the heat of the moment: “should.” It’s a dig that stings when you hurl it at your partner, as in “you should have thought about that in the first place” or “you should know that already.”
Psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein explains that the “should” creates negative energy that can be toxic for a relationship over time. It can be a hard habit to break, so how do we stop “shoulding?” He suggests rephrasing and says, “Instead of ‘you should know how I feel,’ try saying ‘I would like you to hear me out on this please.’”
Sure, it sounds simple now, but when you’re about to flip out on your S.O. for something it may take some practice to reel in those “shoulds.” But taking the time to be mindful can help you catch your toxic thoughts and words and changing them can take your relationship to a more positive place.
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