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Stay Focused

So, the fight has lurched way off-topic, like back to the beginning of time. Re-focus on the immediate infraction or conflict at hand. To avoid getting drawn into a lengthy discussion of every crappy thing either of you has ever done, try the simple, “We’re getting off the subject.”

If your partner starts listing items from your rap sheet, Lerner suggests letting him know that you’d be glad to address his concerns in a separate discussion but, at the moment, you would like to focus on this issue...

“Focus on the one crime -- the one that touched off the argument -- and shift the tense to the future. That’s the tense where you can make choices,” Heinrichs says. You can say, “Here’s what I’m hoping we can agree on,” or “Let’s talk about what we can do going forward.”

(CREDIT: j. sale/flickr/getty images)
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