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Today's relationship researchers have applied scientific methods to the study of how couples interact. The results have provided some clues into having productive discussions instead of toxic fights.
One technique that has been found effective, particularly for women, is the "soft start." If you're angry, it may be tempting to begin a discussion with sarcastic, bitter, or belittling words. Confronting your partner with a belligerent beginning can mean your message never gets heard.
A "soft start" doesn't mean downplaying genuine concerns. Rather, it establishes a space in which your partner can feel safe discussing serious issues with you. "You cheating scum!" drives your partner away, but you may be able to draw closer with "Because our relationship is so important to me, I've been concerned about the time you're spending away from home. Would you be willing to talk with me about ways we can have more time together?"