If It's Over a Week Old, Let it Go!
Have you ever found yourself in argument with your partner? You're shouting, upset about the fact that they were late again! Before you know it, you're reminding them about that time three years ago when they were so late, you missed the movie. And that's not all, you go on to remind them of every other transgression of which you can think. It doesn't matter that they happened years ago.
The argument then starts growing branches; branching out in every direction imaginable. This will not go well. It never does.
When you're arguing, which is quite normal between couples, it's important to stick to the subject at hand, not what happened years ago at the camping trip. Stick to what's happening now, present day!
Bringing up the past consistently is unhealthy for your relationship, and it serves no purpose; bringing up old issues only serves to stoke the fire until it gets too hot to handle. Rarely, if ever, does anything ever get resolved.
Why do people bring up past issues? Some reasons include:
1) To make a comparison. "You're so late! Just like you were that time when we were supposed to go to the movies! You're ALWAYS late!"
2) To divert attention. You may not like the direction in which the argument is going, so you try to distract your partner by talking about what happened some other time.
3) To Punish. You want to make sure they know how bad they are! After all, they're always pissing you off—doing the same thing over and over again.
Again, none of these strategies help your relationship. In fact, these non-effective techniques only work to injure your partner, not to solve the problem. So ask yourself, "What do I want to do? Do I want to hurt my partner, or to resolve the problem?" Be honest, now.
You CAN stop this destructive behavior. Here are some ways for you to consider:
1. Resolve your issues as they happen. Don't store them away until you have plenty to get mad about—the socks on the floor, the dishes in the sink, or the forgotten anniversary—then bring it up.
2. If it's over a week old, don't bring it up. There is absolutely no point if what you really want to do is fix the problem. Do you want to fix it or time travel to the dark side?
3. Remind each other of what's important. Create a signal. If one of you reverts back to the old ways, just say, "Time to reset."
Ideally, the goal is to find the solution together to the current problem. Then MOVE forward.
Another important thing I want to stress is that if your partner is vulnerable and reveals something to you, please don't later on use it as a weapon. That's just right down cruel.
Remember, once you say something, you cannot take it back.
Avoid using ALWAYS/NEVER! That is rarely the case, anyhow. And look to yourself first before you accuse someone else of "always or never" doing something!
When the past keeps getting brought up, there are never any winners. Unless, it's a beautiful memory you want to revisit. Then go right ahead.
From here on in, remember: Fight the ISSUE, not your partner!
For more ideas on how to fight the right way, watch this video: