If you’re feeling down after getting into it with your boyfriend, don’t worry; conflict is a normal, healthy, and even necessary part of being in, well, any relationship. But for the more conflict-averse among us, a fight can feel like the calamitous end of the road, triggering anxiety, dread, and even nausea in more extreme cases.
The good news is a single fight is hardly a reason to call it quits. All you have to do is know how to navigate the rupture in order to get your dynamic back on track. The key here is observing and expressing what you’re feeling “on your side of the street” without blaming either yourself or your boyfriend.
This opens up a space for constructive dialogue that can help bring the both of you to a better and clearer mutual understanding.
- Can You Really Make Up Through Text?
- Tips for Texting During Conflict
- 3 Texting Approaches for Making Up With Your Boyfriend
- Final Thoughts on Fixing Things With Your Man
Can You Really Make Up Through Text?
Most people will reasonably argue that these conversations are better had face to face, and for good reason: texting and other text-based forms of communication all lack the nuances that non-verbal cues, tone of voice, and body language convey in normal conversation. When you miss out on all of that, you miss a lot.
But to say that texting is totally off the table when it comes to broaching a difficult subject would be premature, as evidenced by one 2019 study that shows how texting can actually lead to a more personal and empathetic exchange.
Because we believe in the power of open communication (and love), we’ve gathered a few of our favorite texting approaches that’ll help broach this rather sticky subject. First, though, it’s important to keep in mind a few universal rules for handling conflict.
Tips for Texting During Conflict
No matter what kind of conflict you’re experiencing in your relationship, keep these important guidelines in mind.
Use “I Feel…” to Express Your Emotions
This is a good phrase to use instead of the much more accusatory, “You do X…Y…Z…” This removes any blame and allows you to take responsibility for the way you feel, instead of putting the responsibility for your negative feelings on your boyfriend.
Avoid Absolutist Words Like “Always” and “Never”
If there’s something you can always be sure of, it’s that one partner is never the only one at fault. It takes two to tango, folks!
Regulate Your Breathing and Other Bodily Functions
You’ll want to do this before initiating the exchange. Difficult conversations (regardless of whether they happen over text or in person) can trigger our fight-or-flight response, which in turn activates our stress response and throws our bodies and emotions out of whack.
Frame the Conversation From a Place of Love and Teamwork
Be sure to do this instead of framing things from a place of “you vs. me.” Exercise patience and empathy, and be clear about both you and your boyfriend’s emotional needs, so that you’re both getting what you need to feel heard, understood, and validated.
Open With a Soft Introduction
This can be something along the lines of, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about our fight…” or something of the like. Try to avoid ominous phrases like, “We need to talk,” as these can be pretty overwhelming (and even jarring) to read over text.
Apologize in the First Line or Two
You’ll want to say something like, “I apologize for not communicating my point in a healthier way,” or, “I’m sorry I didn’t practice better listening skills during our disagreement.”
Now that we have some basic things to keep in mind when crafting your conciliatory message, let’s move onto the approaches themselves.
3 Texting Approaches for Making Up With Your Boyfriend
We hope these three texting templates help you navigate the rocky emotional terrain of reaching out after a fight. Additionally, we’ve included the “wrong” versions of these templates, so that you can explicitly see which language to avoid (and which to use instead).
We’d also like to remind you that the sooner you initiate this conversation, the better–waiting too long to fix things will only make things worse in the long run, so don’t hesitate to write that apology.
1. Inspire Empathy, Not Shame
Like we mentioned above, using “you do X…” type of language sends the message to your boyfriend that they’re the one at fault, and therefore, the person to blame. It also sends a message that something is wrong with your boyfriend, which will only leave him feeling angry, defensive, and unheard.
Instead, try framing your message in a way that inspires empathy in your man, rather than lambasting him for his apparent wrongdoings.
And with that being said, here’s what not say:
NO: “We need to talk about what happened the other night. You never stop complaining, and it just drives me up the wall!”
First, we use absolutist language with the word ‘never,’ which ironically, never brings about anything helpful in resolving an argument. We also see blaming, accusatory language by putting the brunt of the blame on the other person.
But how can we relay this message in a healthy way that’ll bring you closer to your boyfriend?
YES: “Hey, I’ve been thinking a lot about our argument, and I just wanted to apologize for not getting my emotions across more effectively. It feels very discouraging to think I can’t get stuff right for you. Can we talk about it so that we can both feel understood?”
Here, you’re sending a message of openness, as well as one that says, “Hey, I feel bad when I don’t feel close to you, and I want to fix this, but I need your help.”
This vulnerability will disarm your boyfriend and likely inspire empathy in him, which will go far in helping to fix the problem.
2. “When You Do X, I Feel Y…”
This technique is great for taking responsibility for how you feel and addressing the fight in a healthy way. It’s also useful for explaining your attachment style to your partner, the knowledge of which will ultimately bring you both closer.
If you struggle with expressing intense negative emotions in a way that frees others from blame, then this will be good for you. However, there’s a right and wrong way to go about this, which we’ll explore now.
NO: “I hate it when you leave your dirty dishes in the sink! It makes me so angry. Why do you do that?”
True, you’re using “I” instead of “you” (for the most part) and are expressing how you feel, but it’s in a way that’s pretty defensive and unlikely to inspire any empathy or openness.
Try to avoid using language like “you make me…this makes me…” to convey the emotions certain actions or events inspire in you. Again, it signals to the other person that the way you feel is their responsibility, which is, of course, never really the case.
What’s more, the question, “Why do you do that?” is full of judgment, and therefore likely to make your boyfriend dig his heels in rather than want to reach across the aisle. Now let’s take a look at a more constructive way to word this sentiment.
YES: “When you leave your dirty dishes in the sink after I ask you to put them away, I feel frustrated and unheard and like my feelings don’t matter to you. This hurts a lot. I’m sharing this because our relationship matters to me, and I want you to know how I feel so that we both can be on the same page.”
This is a much healthier way to word this message. You take ownership of your feelings with the “When you do X, I feel Y” approach, and you aren’t placing blame on anyone for the way you feel.
Another good thing here is reiterating your intentions for expressing your concerns: to promote transparency in the relationship and keep your dynamic strong. You do a good thing by letting your boyfriend know that your relationship matters to you, which also helps ground the conversation in a place of mutual love and teamwork, and not combativeness.
3. Bury the Hatchet With Something Tasty
But let’s say your boyfriend isn’t the texting type and that neither of the above approaches will do any good to get your message across. If that’s the case, then you might feel like you’re out of luck.
However, there’s still hope for having that conversation; you just have to craft your text with a different goal in mind.
Here, you can write a message that will lead to this conversation–in person, though. A good method is to pick up something you know your boyfriend loves, whether it’s food or a drink, and then let him know you’d like to bring it over to him and chat. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and we bet this applies in times of conflict, too.
There’s really no wrong way to go about this, so we’ll explore a few potential winners and why they work:
“Hey, I’m picking up (your boyfriend’s favorite food) for (lunch/dinner). I’d love for you to come over later and have some with me. We can also talk about what happened the other day–I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I don’t feel so good about it.”
“Are you free this evening? I was hoping we could get some (coffee/ice cream/other delicious treat) and pick up where we left off the other day. I don’t think I got my message across the way I wanted to, and I’m hoping I can clear the air.”
“Hey, you/ I hope you’re having a good day. I’m making your favorite (dish you cook that he loves) for dinner, and I would love for you to have some with me tonight. I love cooking for you, and lately, I feel like I haven’t expressed my appreciation for you as much as I’d like.”
All of these are great, open-ended invitations to your boyfriend to come patch things up. You also address the way you feel about your fight, as well as the admittance that you didn’t handle things the way you wanted and the desire to fix things.
Vulnerability coupled with the promise of something delicious is a potent combination when it comes to making up with your significant other.
Final Thoughts on Fixing Things With Your Man
Arguments are bound to happen from time to time when you’re in a relationship. But fortunately, the right approach to fixing things won’t leave you high and dry in the love department.
All you have to do is come from a place of vulnerability and authenticity–especially when trying to relay the right tone over text. Thanks for reading, and we hope our advice will help get you and your boo back on track.