Fights are considered to be part and parcel of any relationship. But is it possible for you to have a long-distance relationship without unproductive fighting that causes nothing but struggle and pain?
Many long-distance couples argue about similar issues. From sexual frustration built up from the lack of physical intimacy to a loss of emotional connection because of poor communication. While it’s normal and expected that couples fight, it’s the unproductive fighting that leads to a toxic relationship. With the help of effective communication, partners can express themselves, hear each other out and appreciate everyone’s point of view.
How you handle disagreements will set the tone for the future of your relationship.
In this article, you will learn how disagreements can escalate to conflicts, arguments and finally fights. We’ll explore each of these to show how you a more loving and healthier way to handle disagreements, resolve conflicts, deal with arguments and avoid fights.
These simple strategies can teach you to enjoy each other and your long-distance relationship instead of fighting all the time.
How to Handle Disagreements in a Long-Distance Relationship
How you handle disagreements, will influence the quality of your relationships, from your family to your long-distance partner.
In long-distance relationships, disagreements can occur when partners have different opinions, preferences, or expectations related to various aspects of the relationship. For example, it could be about
When people try to co-exist (i.e. have a relationship) they may have different opinions about the same topic and different preferences for having things done a certain way. Disagreements are part of life, and that includes a romantic relationship.
Naturally, every person has different opinions and preferences and sharing them in a healthy way is essential for successful relationships. When one partner always agrees just to please the other person, it’s a red flag.
It’s normal and healthy to disagree on things. It’s the way you handle these disagreements that can make or break your relationship. You should feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions freely with your long-distance partner. The way you handle your first disagreement will set the tone for the rest of your relationship, so here are some tips:
Choose the right time and place
Virtual communication can lack the nuances of face-to-face interactions. Choose an appropriate time and a comfortable medium for discussions.
Make sure you create the right environment where your partner is ready and willing to listen. If they are tired, it could be best to leave it for now and agree on the time that works for both of you.
Use video calls when possible
Whenever possible, opt for a video call over text messages or phone calls during conflicts. Unlike talking on the phone, a video call allows for a more nuanced understanding of each other’s emotions, facial expressions and body language, reducing the chances of miscommunication. That said, you can also talk on the phone, provided you are able to understand each other.
Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their feelings and perspective. Showing empathy creates a sense of connection and allows for a deeper understanding of each other’s emotions.
Identify the topic in question
Many disagreements in long-distance relationships come up as a combination of various issues that accumulate and mix over time. Identify a specific area of your relationship that you’d like to discuss and avoid switching the topics as it will just complicate things.
Express yourself clearly
Share what’s on your mind and in your heart and don’t forget to explain your point of view. Check-in with your partner to make sure they heard and understood you correctly.
When one partner isn’t clear, it’s easy for the other partner to misinterpret the message, which can create confusion and misunderstanding. If you don’t learn how to express yourself clearly, a lack of understanding can lead to false assumptions, and can then escalate to fights.
You should feel comfortable expressing yourself without fears and reservations. If you are not comfortable doing so, address that, before discussing anything. Sometimes you may struggle to find the right words because you are emotionally or physically tired, so take time to rest and compose yourself.
Don’t suppress your thoughts and emotions, let them out
You might be tempted to suppress your self-expression to avoid a conflict. This is unhealthy because suppression will foster negative feelings and eat away at your life and relationship.
At the same time, if you don’t express yourself in the right way, your long-distance partner can misinterpret what you are saying and become defensive.
So, it’s good to share what’s on your mind, but you’ve got to do it the right way.
Listen to your partner’s point of view
Encourage your partner to share their feelings and concerns. Be open to hearing them out without judgment or seeing like they’ve done something wrong. Active listening and empathy will help you understand your partner’s point of view. Avoid making conclusions or looking for solutions before they feel heard and understood.
Discuss your views objectively
Once each of you feels heard and understood, you are in a good place to discuss any topic while feeling calm and comfortable.
Learn and grow together
Use disagreements as a chance to understand each other better and strengthen your communication skills.
Ideally, you’d be able to talk about your differences in a calm, loving and respectful way. Though at times, especially when it comes to more sensitive topics, it’s hard to remain emotionally neutral. What separates a healthy relationship from a toxic one is the couple’s ability to bring up their preferences, talk things through and find a way to meet everyone’s needs.
So, here’s how you can handle disagreements in long-distance relationships. But, once you learn to appreciate the differences in your opinions and preferences, you may start seeing disagreements as something to embrace rather than “handle”.
How to Resolve Conflicts in a Long-Distance Relationship?
A conflict in a long-distance relationship may arise when unresolved issues, misunderstandings, or emotional distance lead to tensions and emotional strain between partners.
The distance may exacerbate feelings of loneliness or insecurity, contributing to the conflict. Resolving conflicts in a long-distance relationship often requires greater effort in understanding each other’s emotions and perspectives because of the physical separation.
If your disagreement has escalated to a conflict, your priority is to resolve this conflict in a healthy and constructive manner, so you can avoid arguing.
Resolving conflicts involves all the same steps as handling disagreements, only now you also have to consider and manage the emotions.
Avoid harmful communication behaviours like stonewalling and blaming
Resolving conflict in a long-distance relationship requires steering clear of harmful communication behaviours.
Avoid stonewalling, which involves withdrawing from discussions or refusing to engage, as it hinders open dialogue and understanding.
Likewise, blaming or attacking each other only intensifies conflicts and erodes trust. Aim for a more empathetic and non-confrontational approach and stay focused on the topic rather than the person.
Address the issue, not the person
Keep the focus on the current issue, rather than attacking your partner’s character. Separating the problem from the person helps prevent unnecessary emotional harm.
Shift the focus from assigning blame to finding solutions. Get rid of the notion of wrongdoing. Work as a team to identify the root cause and address the issue, so you can create actionable steps to prevent similar conflicts from happening again.
Find common ground
Look for areas of agreement and common ground. Identifying shared interests can lead to productive discussions and pave the way for finding solutions together.
To resolve conflicts in a loving way, discuss your individual preferences and take the time to understand each other’s points of view. Don’t forget to focus on the important things, be open to negotiation and actively seek solutions that meet both perspectives.
Look for solutions
The key to resolving the differences in opinions and preferences isn’t a compromise or a sacrifice.
It’s taking time to understand both points of view, identify a real problem and come up with a solution that works for everyone. For example, if something is more important for one partner, you can agree to do that first and then fulfil the needs of the other partner at a later time.
Conflict resolution in long-distance relationships often involves finding solutions that meet the needs of both individuals. Willingness to meet in the middle fosters a sense of teamwork and strengthens the relationship.
How to Deal with Arguments in a Long-Distance Relationship
In a long-distance relationship, arguments can occur when emotions run high and communication becomes confrontational. The lack of physical presence may make it difficult to gauge each other’s emotions accurately, potentially leading to misunderstandings.
Arguments in a long-distance relationship are easy to have but had to be dealt with. So, when you have something on your mind that’s bothering you, express it right away. When your long-distance partner knows what is going on inside you, they can find a way to help you.
Take responsibility for your feelings and actions
The first step for long-distance couples to resolve conflicts begins with each partner taking responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions, instead of blaming each other.
This alone has the power to completely change the dynamic in your relationship and help you move from conflicts and arguments to understanding and harmony.
For example, say “I feel sad when…” instead of “You always…” or “You make me feel … This helps prevent defensiveness and encourages a more empathetic response.
Another example is when you are about to say “I feel hurt”, your partner may hear “You hurt me”. This can be perceived as you blaming them for how you feel, so they again can become defensive.
In the heat of an argument as tensions escalate, make it a priority to take a time out to cool off. Collect your thoughts before re-engaging in a more composed manner.
Feeling calm allows you to communicate more objectively. It can be easy enough to do with some topics, but it’s way harder when talking about something more sensitive.
Talking about sensitive topics via online means can be quite challenging. Without your partner’s body language, it’s hard to tell how they respond to what you’re saying. Also, when you are emotional, your focus is more on yourself and less on your partner. So, the calmer you feel, the more observant you can be of your partner’s behaviour and tone of voice.
Empathy first, solutions later
Arguing can be an emotionally exhausting experience. When you start feeling emotionally unbalanced, stop your discussion and take five. Find a happy place before continuing to talk about the issue at hand.
If you disagree on something with your long-distance partner, try to separate your emotions from the topic of discussion.
In other words, if you are feeling sad or frustrated, ask your partner to talk about your feelings before delving into the nitty gritty of your situation.
Take time for reflection
When a discussion becomes emotional, consider taking a break to cool off and gain perspective. This can help prevent reactive responses and pave the way for a more rational discussion later on. If you are tired, it might be better to rest and get back to figuring out the real problem at a later time.
Avoid using hurtful language or resorting to personal attacks. Instead, focus on expressing your concerns in a respectful manner. Explain the way you see things from your perspective. Practice active listening and be open to hearing your partner’s perspective. Maintaining harmony is more important than “winning” an argument.
Address issues promptly
Avoid letting conflicts linger. Address issues as they arise to prevent unresolved resentments from building up. Tackling problems early on allows for more effective resolution and prevents conflicts from escalating. Once you are in a good head space, you can get back to addressing the real problem.
Focus on important things
During a heated argument, rationality may be overshadowed by intense feelings. On such occasions, it’s easy to lose track of what truly matters and veer off course into unhealthy behaviours. Don’t let yourself get distracted. Leave whatever happened in the past and focus on what you can do right now.
If you are not equipped to handle arguments in a healthy way, you are likely to have many fights.
To improve your communication and pick up tips on how to express yourself and listen to your partner, check out our step-by-step communication guide.
Fights in a Long-Distance Relationship
Long-distance relationship fights involve intense emotional exchanges and may occur when unresolved conflicts or constant arguing heighten tensions between partners.
Virtual communication may exacerbate feelings of distance during a fight, making it vital to reestablish a sense of connection and empathy to find a resolution.
It’s easier to identify the real problem after you de-escalate the emotional tension.
Is it Normal for Long-Distance Couples to Fight?
There’s this popular notion that all couples fight and that it’s normal. When something is considered normal, all it means is that most people do it. But just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s healthy or inevitable.
You are bound to have a disagreement every now and then, that’s just part of life. It becomes a problem when you are constantly arguing, especially when it’s about the same things. When arguing turns into fighting, that’s when you should take a step back and reassess your relationship.
The moment you start fighting over your disagreements with your long-distance partner, you will end up fighting every time you have different opinions.
With constant fighting, you will start seeing your partner as an enemy. And, if it comes to that, ask yourself, why are you in a relationship with someone who you believe to be your enemy?
Why Do Long-Distance Couples Fight?
In any relationship, individuals hold unique opinions and preferences. When two people come together to coexist, they may encounter differing viewpoints on the same topic and preferences for handling various matters.
In a healthy relationship, partners take time to understand each other’s preferences and respect each other’s opinions without judgment or preconceptions. The ability to respectfully disagree in a loving manner allows partners to feel heard and understood, allowing them to find a resolution for any issues that arise.
However, without this understanding and appreciation, disagreements escalate into conflicts.
When strong emotions get out of control, a conflict can escalate into an argument. If partners lack the skills to handle arguments effectively, they get into a fight, creating further strain on the relationship.
Resolving conflict through healthy communication can help you navigate disagreements, avoid long-distance relationship fights and maintain a harmonious connection.
How to Avoid Fights in a Long-Distance Relationship
It’s better to avoid long-distance relationship fights than to constantly deal with all the negativity. However, if you can’t avoid a fight, at least have a strategy to handle it in the right way. Here’re some tips to help you out:
- Maintain open communication, empathy, and understanding
- Set clear expectations
- Practice active listening
- Talk things through
- Choose words wisely
- Focus on positivity and appreciation
- Balance independence and togetherness
- Address the real problem
- Avoiding assumptions.
Celebrating milestones and special days together can foster a strong emotional bond, while patience and a commitment to the relationship’s bigger picture help prevent conflicts from escalating.
How to Handle Fights in a Long-Distance Relationship?
Fighting is the last stage of disagreeing. Fights take place after disagreements are not handled properly, conflicts are not managed and arguing gets out of control.
Fights differ from disagreements in two ways. With fights, you see each other as enemies and in the end, there will be a winner and a loser.
In a healthy relationship, when you are together, you should be on the same team, and this team has to be stronger together.
Here’re a few tips to help you out:
Apply the 3-day rule and cooling-off periods
The 3-day rule in long-distance relationships refers to the practice of taking a three-day break from communication following a heated argument. During this period, both partners refrain from contacting each other, allowing emotions to settle and giving each individual time to process their thoughts and feelings independently.
The goal of the 3-day rule is to avoid escalating conflicts further and promote a more rational and productive discussion when the time comes to address the issue.
Long-distance relationship fights are tough to handle, so your priority during a fight is to walk away and allow some space for both of you to take a breather and regain balance. Take some time to reflect on the situation as objectively as you can.
Once you feel safe and composed and the tension has subsided, approach your long-distance partner with a quick text or a phone call to see if they are ready to continue the conversation.
Learn effective communication
Constant fighting can bring a lot of sadness and struggle into your life. So, if one partner isn’t willing to make an effort to improve communication, this can be a sign of a toxic relationship and you may consider ending it.
If you are always fighting with your long-distance partner, take a break from talking about sensitive topics until you learn to discuss your disagreements peacefully and lovingly. If you don’t know where to begin and would like someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to send us a message or book a coaching session.
How Do You Fix a Long-Distance Relationship After a Fight?
The key to fixing a long-distance relationship after a fight is to understand what caused it in the first place. Once you know the reason for fighting, you can get to the core issue and address it appropriately.
When you are ready to reconnect with each other, you can have a calm discussion, and discuss things you disagree on. This time try to better handle the disagreement.
Most of the time, it’s pointless to apologise and move on. It doesn’t contribute to your relationship because it doesn’t help you understand the behaviour that resulted in a fight in the first place.
How Do You Break the Silence in a Long-Distance Relationship?
Breaking the silence in a long-distance relationship can be essential to reconnect and address any issues that may have led to the communication gap. Here’re some practical tips:
- Initiate contact
- Express how you feel
- Acknowledge the silence
- Apologise if necessary
- Be patient
- Ask open-ended questions
- Focus on listening
- Find common ground
- Show appreciation
Breaking the silence in a long-distance relationship requires vulnerability, empathy, and a genuine desire to reconnect.
Silence isn’t something you can afford in a long-distance relationship. When you live with your partner, you may not talk for a while, but you still see each other and engage in different aspects of life.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are not talking to your long-distance partner for some time, take this opportunity to reflect on your relationship.
Seek Professional Help if Necessary
If conflicts persist or become increasingly challenging to resolve, seeking professional help can be a valuable step. Relationship coaching can provide a neutral and supportive environment for partners to address deeper issues and gain insights into their dynamics.
A long-distance relationship expert can offer guidance on effective communication strategies, conflict resolution techniques, and ways to strengthen the relationship despite the distance.
While long-distance relationships can work very well for short periods, maintaining a romantic relationship with someone who is far away is infinitely more complicated and isn’t something most people can handle for long periods.
A lack of physical intimacy can often lead to sexual frustration and is one of the reasons for fights among long-distance couples. A lack of clear and open communication is another reason why couples fight in long-distance relationships.
In regular relationships, when you talk to someone next to you, you can observe their body language and facial expressions. When you are apart, and your only way of communication is via online means, it’s much harder to get the message across in the right way, even with a video call.
Healthy communication is essential to handle disagreements and solve problems. The moment you and your long-distance partner are not on the same page, fights become almost inevitable.
The skill to disagree in a healthy way allows one to solve the issue and leave every partner feeling heard and understood.
In any relationship, it’s normal to have different opinions and different preferences. In long-distance relationships, physical separation adds another level of complexity and tension.
Disagreements are an opportunity to talk about potential issues before they become problems. But, it’s only possible if you know how to handle them in the right way. Handling disagreements the wrong way will leave you arguing.
Without this knowledge and appreciation, disagreement quickly turns into an argument. Most people don’t know how to handle arguments, so they end up fighting. When emotions get out of control, disagreements escalate to fights. And, once they take over, people may behave in ways they may later regret.
Once you know how to manage disagreements in your long-distance relationship, you’ll be able to work out your problems calmly and lovingly, avoiding unnecessary fights.
Many couples turn to coaching as it can help them find solutions in a couple of sessions. So, if you are struggling to connect with your partner in a meaningful way, get in touch, we are always here and happy to help.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arguments and Fights in a Long-Distance Relationship
How to deal with long-distance relationship fights?
To deal with a long-distance relationship fight, try to understand the source of your disagreement. Once you know what’s bothering you, talk about it lovingly. When you fight, you see your partner as an enemy. Take the time to remind yourself that you are in this relationship together, on the same team, with the same goals. That said, if you discover that you have different plans or want other things that can’t happen at the same time, maybe it’s time to break up.
Is it normal to fight a lot in a long-distance relationship?
While some conflicts are common in long-distance relationships, excessive fighting may signal underlying issues that need addressing. Open communication and finding healthy ways to resolve conflicts can lead to a stronger bond.
How do you deal with conflict in a long-distance relationship?
Dealing with conflict in a long-distance relationship requires active listening, empathy, and addressing issues honestly.
What is the 3-day rule after an argument?
The 3-day rule refers to taking a few days to cool off after an argument before attempting to resolve the issue. It allows both partners to gain perspective and approach the conversation more calmly.
When should you call it quits in a long-distance relationship?
Considering ending a long-distance relationship is a personal decision. If the challenges of distance outweigh the benefits and efforts to maintain the connection, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship’s future.
How do you know if long distance isn’t working?
Signs that long distance isn’t working may include constant fighting, lack of communication, and feelings of isolation. If efforts to resolve these issues prove futile, it might be time to reassess the relationship.
How to calm down an angry boyfriend in a long-distance relationship?
Calming down an angry boyfriend in a long-distance relationship involves active listening, validating their feelings, and offering support.
Why do me and my boyfriend argue when we’re apart?
Arguments in long-distance relationships can be caused by miscommunication, lack of physical presence, or unmet emotional needs. Addressing these issues with open dialogue is crucial for resolving conflicts.
What are 3 things not to do in an argument?
In an argument, avoid personal attacks, stonewalling (withdrawing and refusing to communicate), and using past conflicts as ammunition. Instead, focus on respectful communication and active listening.
What is stonewalling in a relationship?
Stonewalling is a harmful communication behaviour where one partner withdraws and refuses to engage in a discussion or express their feelings, leading to unresolved conflicts.
How long should I give my boyfriend space after a fight?
The duration of space after a fight varies for each person. Allow your boyfriend enough time to cool off and regain perspective before reaching out to discuss the issue calmly.
Does no contact work long-distance?
No contact can be helpful for personal reflection and space, even in long-distance relationships. However, complete avoidance may not be practical. Effective communication is essential for addressing concerns and finding resolutions.