All couples will argue at some point in their relationship. Some couples argue infrequently, some all the time. There are many books, articles and websites that give great advice for couples who struggle with arguing, but for those of us in long distance relationships, we have some pretty particular issues when it comes to all types of communication, especially arguments. So, what special advice is needed?

1. Never ever argue over text, email or instant message.

Always call or leave it until you can call. This may be incredibly difficult, but it is very important. Often, how we say things mean just as much, if not more, as what we say. Tone makes all the difference. If you argue over text, by the time you call you may realize it was a misunderstanding and you had wasted all that time being angry over nothing. Plus, if you agree to wait until you can call to continue your discussion, you give yourself time to cool down and think over the source of your argument.

2. Recognize when you are being hurtful.

If you feel tempted to say something just because you know it will hurt, it is time to step away and cool down. This goes both ways; if you feel that your partner is being cruel for the sake of being cruel, disengage until they’re ready to talk without getting mean. Arguments can be part of a healthy relationship, but emotional abuse never is.

3. Give each other space.

This can be hard since we spend so much time and energy finding ways to be constantly connected. But if you need some quiet time, don’t feel guilty. Sometimes a pint of ice cream or a bath is what we need to feel right enough to tackle the issue again  If your partner says they want some time to themselves, respect their space. They are doing it because they don’t want to be hurtful and they want to resolve this in the best way possible, it isn’t because they want to avoid you.

4. Learn what is really important to you, and what you’re willing to compromise.

Some things are so important to you that you need to stick to your guns. Other times, you realize that you can easily let something go. If you always compromise on everything, you may lose out on things that make you happy and feel like a pushover, you may even start to feel resentful. If you refuse to ever compromise,your partner is the one who is always making sacrifices, which again may lead to resentment. Your volunteer work may be very important to you even if your partner feels like it keeps you away from the phone too often. But maybe it isn’t worth making a fuss when your partner eats while on the phone with you.

5. Remember, it is an argument, not a competition.

There isn’t a winner or loser, or rather, you should both come out winners because you’re overcoming an obstacle together.  Feeling bullied into a compromise isn’t a win at all, nor is it a real resolution.  The best thing about arguments is that you have a disagreement, you challenge each other, and you take the issue and make your relationship better and stronger.  In a LDR, communication is everything and you need to make sure you are communicating effectively and productively.  Learn to do that, and you can handle any argument that arises.