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How To Resolve Circular Arguments In A Relationship: 11 Effective Tips

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Do you ever feel yourself going over and over the same old argument you had with your partner?

Your otherwise harmonious life together is put under strain by an argument you can never seem to solve, and neither you nor your partner can ever quite let it go.

Circular arguments can weaken a relationship, pitting you against your partner over and over again as you struggle to move past them and find a resolution.

It’s not always as easy as agreeing with each other or saying sorry. When you both feel strongly about opposing views, you’re not going to want to give up on them, and nor should you have to.

But circular arguments can drive you apart and make you question whether this sticking point is something you’ll ever learn to get past.

Resolving arguments, compromising, and seeing each other’s perspectives are key elements of a successful relationship, but they aren’t always easy to do. It takes patience and perseverance to navigate a way through your differences and make the best of them.

Learning how to resolve circular arguments comes with time, but there are some tips you can try if it’s something you’re struggling with in your relationship.

If you need help avoiding the same argument again—and want to put it to bed and move on to happier days ahead—keep reading for some effective tips.

Get expert help bringing a circular argument to an end. You may want to speak to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. Find the root cause of the issue.

A lot of the time, circular arguments keep recurring because you and your partner only patch over your disagreement to try to move on quickly, without ever actually addressing the real cause of it.

If there’s an underlying issue that remains unresolved, then it will keep being triggered by different scenarios and will continue to lead you back to the same argument.

Perhaps your main problem is that you’re insecure about your partner going out and cheating on you when they’re with their friends. So, whenever they come home, you can’t help but pick a fight with them if you don’t feel as though they’ve been in contact with you enough or if they’ve gotten too drunk.

The issue isn’t really that they didn’t text you or that they’ve been drinking; the issue is that you’ve been sitting at home imagining them finding someone else. It doesn’t matter what starts the argument, it will always bring you back to the unresolved problem, which is the lack of trust between you.

The cause of a circular argument might not always be so clear, especially if one or both of you keep your real emotions close to your chest and struggle to talk about them. But generally, if an argument keeps coming up, it means there’s a hidden reason that still hasn’t been brought to light.

If you keep getting caught up in arguing about surface-level problems without trying to find what’s really going on between you, you’ll never be able to get out of this rut.

Next time the same argument comes around, see if you can both have a conversation about where these feelings stem from and how you can combat them.

By working together to heal the root cause of your problems, you’ll not only be able to understand one another better, but you’ll hopefully be able to bring an end to the circular argument you’ve been caught in for so long.

2. Decide on some actionable changes.

If you find yourself always stuck in a pattern when it comes to these circular arguments, and both you and your partner want to make a change, try setting up some positive habits to help stop things from progressing into an argument in the first place.

When you’ve had the same fight a number of times before, you should have an idea about what sets you both off. It could be a particular word or something your partner does that immediately irritates you. By understanding this and taking action, you can stop the problem where it starts.

If you are both starting to get frustrated, you can take ten minutes away from each other to calm down. Then you will be better able to come back together and speak rationally.

It might be that you decide on a structure for your arguments, making sure you allow the other person to speak after a certain amount of time rather than yelling over each other and making everything worse.

Being mindful of the issues you have is the first step toward addressing and hopefully fixing them. You might not be able to solve the argument straight away, but you can work together to stop it getting worse and aim toward a resolution.

3. Learn each other’s triggers.

To try to stop an argument before it’s begun, you need to be certain of each other’s triggers in your relationship. Knowing what irritates your partner is as important as being self-aware about what annoys you.

You might know that they hate it if you never tell them when you’re coming home late or always forget that one chore around the house that they’ve asked you to do multiple times. It could even be as simple as calling them a name they can’t stand and have told you not to use.

Knowing what each other’s boundaries are will give you an indication of when you cross them. You can be more prepared for the inevitable argument that’s coming, and instead of rising to it and becoming defensive, you can give them the explanation and apology they need right at the start.

By doing this, the both of you can continue to try to stop the arguments before they escalate, eventually working toward a time when they will no longer be a factor in your relationship.

4. Learn when to let it go.

Even when your partner irritates you or tries to start an argument, sometimes the best thing to do is just let it go.

It’s especially true when you’ve already had the same argument before. You’ve said all you need to say already, you don’t need to get involved in it again this time even if your partner is goading you to.

Ending a circular argument doesn’t always mean you’re going to agree or come to the same conclusion. If your partner isn’t able to drop the argument, but you value the relationship you share with them, you might need to be the bigger person and let it go on behalf of the both of you.

The next time a subject comes up and you know that you’re headed toward an argument, try not to react. Don’t be drawn into the drama. Give your side of the argument, agree to disagree, and walk away. This could mean physically removing yourself from the situation or just not rising to the argument and changing the subject instead.

Your partner might be thrown off at first and increase their efforts to try to get you to join in, and it could take a few times of you holding back before you finally start seeing a positive effect on them. It takes two people to argue in a relationship, and if one of them is refusing to, the argument will never go anywhere. If you want to stop circular arguments from happening, simply stop joining in when they start to come around.

5. Take time to cool down.

We all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry or upset.

If a circular argument has come up again, then tensions could be even higher than normal because you know how much you and your partner disagree on the subject and are already anticipating each other’s defense.

If you want to try to stop or resolve an argument at that moment, one of the best things you can do is to take some space from the situation when you feel your emotions getting out of control.

Take a walk or go to another room. Try just asking your partner for some time to gather your thoughts and calm down.

When you’re calmer and ready to return to the argument, you can think more rationally and hopefully prevent the disagreement from turning ugly.

Taking some time to gather your thoughts and allow yourself to become less emotional about the situation can help you make better decisions. Rather than getting caught up again in the same fight, you can remind yourself that it would be better to avoid talking about it so neither of you gets upset.

Having some space and cooling off emotionally can help stop the argument from getting out of hand and hopefully stop the exchange of hurtful words you don’t really mean. To make sure your partner knows you aren’t just abandoning the argument, be honest with them about needing to process your thoughts and control your emotions. Then schedule a time to discuss things later.

Don’t skip out on the argument, just enter into it in a more controlled fashion so you can make better choices with the words and emotions you exchange.

6. Don’t let little issues build up.

When you’re annoyed with your partner about something, just tell them. Don’t expect them to figure out why you’re annoyed on their own or try to hide it from them and then expect them to change. If you don’t tell them what’s wrong, they won’t know.

The problem with not telling your partner when you’re annoyed about something is that the angst you feel doesn’t go away even if you’re trying to cover it up. It builds and builds over time, only being made worse as your partner continues to add to the list of things they do that annoy you.

Eventually you’ll snap. The buildup of all those irritations will come out unexpectedly, taking your partner by surprise. When the annoyance you’re feeling isn’t necessarily pinpointed on one specific issue, it’s easier to return to a well-worn argument to get out all of the frustration you feel.

Rather than letting things build up and then bringing up the past, talk about the little issues as they come up and you’ll stop yourself from reaching your boiling point. Not everything that your partner does that annoys you has to become an argument, and if you can talk about these things as they happen, then they can actually acknowledge and do something about them.

You can stop the resentment from building up and work on creating a more harmonious life together as you go rather than always forcing yourself to take a step back by returning to the same old arguments.

7. Focus on finding a solution, not winning.

There is never a winner in an argument. Sometimes when we get caught up in an argument, we become so focused on being heard and getting our point across that we lose sight of the fact that we’re driving each other apart.

Circular arguments can happen when you can’t let something go. You’re so intent on being “right” that you’re willing to damage your relationship for it. The more you argue, the more you weaken the trust and bond between you and your partner.

Learning to see the bigger picture and knowing when to let a disagreement pass is a vital part of getting yourself out of circular arguments. Is this argument and the pain it causes really worth upsetting each other over? Is the sadness this fight causes you and your partner worth having the satisfaction of feeling like you’re “right” and they’re wrong?

As a couple, you’re supposed to be a team. There may be disagreements along the way, but your main priority should be learning how to live in harmony together rather than returning to the same argument that pulls you apart. No argument should be worth each other’s unhappiness, and if you value feeling superior to your partner in some way, then you’re not seeing each other as equals in the relationship.

You should be concentrating on finding a solution to help you both feel better about whatever you’re fighting over, rather than causing your partner more pain so you can feel as though you were “right.” You might not both agree, but hopefully you can learn to agree to disagree and move on.

8. Know your limits.

Has it been a long day? Are you snappy when you’re hungry? If you know your triggers when it comes to starting a fight, then work with them.

Your coping mechanism for avoiding an argument might be as simple as not speaking to your partner first thing in the morning because you know you’re irritable until you’ve had a coffee.

If you get stressed from work, don’t comment on the untidiness of the house as soon as you walk through the door. If that’s always an issue between you and your partner, take some downtime first and then see how you feel when you’ve got some distance from your workday.

Know your limits when it comes to your stress levels. If you’re usually argumentative at certain times, then you know you’re more likely to get into an unnecessary argument with your partner.

You just need an outlet for how you’re feeling, but if you’re not mindful about it, the outlet will be the same circular arguments every time because that is what’s easiest to return to.

Don’t let your partner suffer because of your emotions. Be self-aware and take some time to decompress when you know you’re not in a good head space. If there is an issue you need to address with your partner, do it when you’re in a more rational state of mind.

9. Seek an outside perspective.

Getting an outside perspective on arguments that keep surfacing in your relationship can help you put them in their place.

When you’re the ones always caught in the argument, you can lose perspective and it can become a much larger issue than it really is. Talking to some trusted friends or family about their view on the situation might bring you back down to earth and help you realize that the thing you’ve been arguing about all this time really isn’t such a big deal.

You might begin to see that although the argument that you keep returning to feels like it’s an unsolvable problem, in the eyes of other people who have their own relationship experiences, it seems petty or out of proportion.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings with those you trust can not only lighten the worry or stress you have around your problems, it can be a chance to get some great advice from other people who may have had to deal with the same situation in their relationships before. Sharing your problems doesn’t mean your relationship is failing, it just means you’re a normal couple as every relationship has its ups and downs.

If you’re not comfortable talking to people you know about your relationship’s rough patches, then try seeking professional help from someone who can help you see the bigger, more positive picture of your relationship, rather than giving too much time to the negatives.

10. Get some help.

Some arguments are just too difficult to fix on your own.

When you feel as though you’ve had this argument a thousand times before and you’ve tried everything to come to a compromise but neither you nor your partner can find a resolution, then you need help.

Going to a relationship expert could be what you need to bring this circular argument to an end.

If you’re struggling to understand or appreciate your partner’s views, or just can’t accept them, then speaking to a neutral, third party about it could bring a sense of balance to the argument. You know that the therapist isn’t going to be biased and is there to help you better communicate and understand each other, which in turn will help you both appreciate each other’s side of the argument.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

It doesn’t just have to be a relationship expert you see either. Going to any type of therapist, as a couple or on your own, could help you better understand how you feel about the argument you’re having. This can help you to see where there could be compromise and where there’s not.

You don’t have to try and fix everything on your own, and sometimes you just can’t. When you and your partner both feel strongly about an opposing argument, then you need someone in the middle working to bring you closer again or at least help you to unpack your thoughts on the subject.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, especially if it will finally help you to move on from the argument that’s been holding your relationship back.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

11. Don’t focus on what’s wrong. Find out how to make it right.

Rather than continuously blaming each other in an argument, try shifting your perspective and work on finding out what you need from each other to make the situation right again.

An argument doesn’t just happen because of one person—both you and your partner have a part to play in how you keep getting to this point in a circular fight. When you’re caught up in a circular argument, there isn’t an end in sight; it’s a volley of accusations that just keep taking you round in the same circle. You’ll only find a resolution if you make an effort to find one and work together in doing that.

Instead of hurling insults at your partner, try asking them what they need from you to make the argument end. If your actions are upsetting them in some way, ask them what they need and expect from you to stop you from returning to this point again. Then encourage them to tell you the same.

Change your tactic from focusing on everything that’s negative about each other to finding out what positive steps you can take together to help make each other happier. The both of you need to work together if you’re going to stop yourselves from coming back to the same arguments, and you need to be a team with a common goal to do this.

Communication is key to any relationship, so use it to better understand how you can be there for each other in the ways that you both need to make your relationship stronger and happier overall.

In closing…

Listen, it is normal to argue in a relationship. And, unfortunately, circular arguments can be hard to avoid. If you’re trying to manage one, don’t feel as though you’re alone.

Every relationship, no matter how perfect they seem, will have those sensitive subjects that drive a wedge between the couple. Everyone gets irritated by their other half at some point because we are all human with our own individual needs and tolerance levels.

The first step is recognizing that you always seem to return to the same circular argument. Take the time together to acknowledge what it is, and make an agreement that you will do everything in your power to find a resolution.

Circular arguments won’t go away on their own, and you can’t fix a longstanding disagreement with just one half of the couple. The both of you need to be working together as a team if you really want to get out of this rut you find yourselves stuck in.

Acknowledging, taking action, and communicating are the key elements to solving a circular argument. Understand that you have a problem to fix, put in actionable steps to help prevent the both of you from descending into a fight, and communicate how you’re feeling about it all.

You don’t want to be having these same arguments for the rest of your life, so make it a priority for the both of you to work on actionable changes you can make.

Seeing a difference in each other and knowing that you’re both committed to positive change is ultimately what will make the biggest impact. Don’t expect these arguments to be solved after one conversation.

We can all slip back into bad habits when we’ve gotten used to them over time. But by persevering, especially with increasing the level of communication between you and your partner, you should start to see a difference in how often those unnecessary arguments surface.

Find whatever works for the both of you. Each relationship is unique and what works for one might not work for the other, but don’t just struggle in silence and give up. These circular arguments can be resolved; you and your partner just need to be committed to working together to move past them once and for all.