R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Trying to keep fights from escalating

Many arguments start as nothing more than verbal disagreements. That's normal and natural; it happens to all couples at some point. The key is to work through it and find a solution.

One potential problem is when the verbal argument escalates. You want to prevent this if possible, but how can you do it?

One tactic is to switch to humor. Try to take the edge off. Say something funny about the situation. Consider making fun of yourself -- rather than focusing on your significant other -- to get a laugh. Sometimes, all you need is that one little break in the serious tone of the argument to defuse the whole situation.

Another key is to focus on listening. Arguments often escalate -- and sometimes turn physical -- when both people are just trying to say what they want to say without actually listening to the other person at all. If you slow down and listen, it can help calm the situation and give you a chance to work toward a solution.

Sometimes, it's also a good idea to disengage. Know when you just need to walk away. Give each other some space. Often, in the heat of the moment, you'll say or do things that you regret. If you both take time to cool off and come back with a more rational outlook, you may be able to start the conversation over.

The reality, though, is that some arguments do escalate and go farther than anyone planned. Those facing domestic violence allegations need to make sure they know their legal defense options.

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