dating

"The one piece of dating advice that saved my relationship."

Legend has it that somewhere out there in the world are people who don’t argue with those they’re dating. Not about money, the laundry, or the future of their relationship, or who should order the bloody Uber because you’ve ordered the last five, damn it.

Sadly, I’ve never been one of those people.

I argue about dishes. About bills and social engagements. About where my car keys are and if I have to be the one to go to the supermarket on a Sunday. About my boyfriend not sharing my enthusiasm for the single greatest culmination that is two beings: Kimye.

best dating advice
It starts with moving boxes and ends with a fight. Source: iStock.

And as it happens, my boyfriend is also an arguer.

When we first got together, things were disgustingly peachy. We would cook each other dinner and read the papers sitting side by side on the weekend. We'd try out new brunch spots and spend hours watching our favourite movies. We never argued. But then we moved in together. And Oh. My. God.

We fought about who carried the packing boxes upstairs. About what takeaway to order. About how many times he cooked dinner each week. About how I washed the dishes. About how he didn't make the bed. And sure, they were trivial things, but in the confines of a small apartment, it didn't take long for them to end in tears (mine) or the deafening silence of frustration (his).

After 18 months together we went through a particularly rough patch that saw us come closer to breaking up than ever before or since. And it was then that a friend offered me up the most sage dating advice I've ever heard in my life.

And that was this: If you feel a fight coming on or need to discuss serious things that are likely to lead to one or both of you getting frustrated and upset, leave the house.

Go to a cafe. Or a bar. Or a park. Wherever it is, just get out and get out quick.

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The reason behind this theory is simple: people are far less likely to lose their cool in public than they are in the privacy of their own home. Meaning that you're far more likely to have a constructive conversation - or at the very least speak calmly and rationally to one another - when you're surrounded by others. Because really, no one wants to be the jerk making their partner cry in public. And no one wants to be the partner crying in public.

The presence of other people basically enforces you to be respectful of one another and interact like adults. (That is unless you're in the five per cent of people who have no qualms about feuding in public, in which case, this story is not for you, sorry.) It doesn't stop the hard conversations from happening, but rather makes getting down to the nitty-gritty of them a little bit easier.

Having followed my friend's advice, my boyfriend and I took our arguments out in public about half a dozen times during that period. And embarrassingly for me, once it did end in tears, but mostly we were able to talk things through and actually get to the bottom of what was going on rather than sling words at one another until someone cracked and stormed off.

best relationship advice
Making room for each other takes time. Image: iStock.

And eventually, it that simple piece of advice worked.

We got better at nipping our grievances in the bud and now just pull each other up at the time rather than letting things fester. We get to the point rather than dancing around it. And more importantly, we don't have to leave the house to have tough conversations anymore because they rarely reach that kind of breaking point anymore.

Now we're back at that peachy loved-up stage, despite the fact we've been together five years. So to all the cafes I ever teared up in, this one's for you.

What's the best relationship advice you've ever received? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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