Let’s face it, if you’re in a serious relationship with someone, it’s likely you’ve had a big fight.
And once the fight is somewhat over and the embers are cooling off, reconnecting after a big fight has got to be on the top of the list so you don’t continue, well, hating each other.
These tips will take you through those initial moment after the fight is cooling off to the days and weeks ahead, as some of it is a short-term effort, and others are more long-term relationship tips to help you get back to where you were.
Let’s say that you’ve already apologized to each other, forgiven each other, and the fight is over enough that you’ve decided not to talk about it anymore and both parties are satisfied with the end of the fight.
What do you do next?
1. Do a Shared Activity You Both Like
Sometimes, you’re not quite ready to instantly be best friends again, but doing a shared activity together that you both enjoy like watching an episode of a show you like or going on a bike ride or cooking a meal together can give you that opportunity to reconnect in a more natural way than sitting across from each other and going “okay, let’s reconnect now.”
TV shows and movies are great because they’re more passive and a nice shared experience that still gives each other a little bit of space, while something like cooking a meal is probably best if you feel you’re truly over it and are both invested in reconnecting.
Another option is to actually try out a new activity that you have wanted to try, so if you have always been talking about going kayaking but haven’t yet, this is a great time to say, “you know what, I think we should take that kayaking trip we’ve always talked about. Want me to look into it?”
2. Tread Lightly with Other Things that Annoy You
After a big fight is never the time to bring up little things that annoy you.
If you finally resolved the big fight about finances, but come upstairs to find your wife’s shoes all of the floor, this is not the time to say anything about it or care.
Those little things that you nitpit about in daily life when you’re not trying to come together are off-limits for now, as you rebuild your foundation.
In the rest of this article, I talk about going back to “normal,” but if normal for you is telling your husband to stop leaving his sock on the bathroom floor, then do not go back to that normal.
You don’t need to be over-the-top accommodating, but you do need to let the little things slide.
3. Do Something Nice for Them without Them Asking
Do something nice for your partner without them asking, like doing a chore for them they’ve been putting off or making them a treat they like or anything else you can think that they would enjoy.
This is sort of an “olive branch,” a sign that things are returning to normal and that you care about them and love them.
What they might like completely depends on the person, so know your partner, but even if it’s a small gesture, taking something off their plate (or putting something on it that’s delicious that they didn’t expect) or ordering from their favorite take-out place can be a nice way of reconnecting.
4. Make a Normal In-Joke
We all have those in-jokes with our significant others that come up when we’re in “normal” mode or feeling good about our relationship.
When the time feels right, start making those normal in-jokes again as a signal that things are back to normal.
This could also be names that you call them or affectionate words you use.
If the fight is truly over, there is no need to withhold any of that and make sure to start getting back to your normal communication.
5. Look at Photos or Mementos from Great Moments
If it was a particularly intense fight, it can be nice to spend some time looking at photos from great moments in your relationship, like your wedding day or a special date or even recent photos from when you were having a great time.
Talk about these memories and share your favorite moments in your relationship in order to remind each other why you’re in the relationship in the first place.
This is a bit more of a forced one, which means you should really pull this one out where it has almost been a relationship-ending fight or something that is going to take more time to recover from and you need a little bit of help reconnecting.
6. Leave Them a Nice Note
Whether it’s a “you got this, babe” on the mirror in the morning or a “Have a great day” note that you slip in their briefcase, leaving someone a nice note is a gesture that is small enough that it still feels normal, but can create some fantastic positive feelings and help both of you feel more connected and like the other person cares about you.
7. If Necessary, Make an Appointment for Couple’s Counseling
Again, if you’ve had an almost relationship-ending big fight or you’re having frequent big fights, sometimes part of the reconnecting process is larger than the two of you can handle alone.
Couples counselors specialize in helping you get on the same page and reconnect, and they’re not just for people who have relationships that are in trouble.
You can have resolved your fight, and still feel like you want some guidance on how to reconnect and how to not have the same style of fights again.
There’s no shame in asking for a professional’s help in so many other areas, there doesn’t need to be a stigma around this one either.
In fact, some couples go to couple’s counseling regularly, as party of their everyday routine, to help keep their relationship healthy!