| June 19, 2013

All couples argue.

While some may consider it a "bad" thing, fighting can be an important part of understanding each others' perspective.

But if you feel like you and your partner are just going around in circles, constantly arguing about the same thing, you're probably not getting to the root of the problem.

READ: How to Fight Right — And Win!

"Many times people are too afraid they're going to jeopardize their relationship if they openly discuss their differences and conflicts," says psychologist Karen Sherman. But holding anger in isn't going to do you any favors.

According to Sherman, women are more likely to keep quiet, which can have negative consquences. "Eventually, they can't hold it in anymore, the tension builds, and they explode," she says.

Men, meanwhile, are usually afraid they're going to say something "wrong," so they say nothing at all, which isn't always a good idea either. Sherman advises admitting that you aren't sure what to say instead of keeping quiet. 

"When a man is silent to a woman, it feels like he's not really involved at all," she explains.

In the middle of an argument, emotions can run high. In these cases, Sherman advises waiting until you've calmed down before trying to resolve the issue.  "People are more willing to talk when they don't feel like they're being attacked," she says.

Relationship therapist Rachel Sussman agrees that the right tone can make all the difference when it comes to having a productive argument.  If you or your partner is worked-up, being super critical, or losing their temper, she recommends calling a time-out. "Give yourselves time to compose yourself and talk about it at a later time," she says.

She also says that "humor is a great buffer for a dispute and can really go a long way."

A good night's sleep can also do wonders for your mentality so don't be afraid to go to bed angry.

"When you're exhausted, you're not going to resolve anything," Sherman explains. "Go to sleep and agree to come back to it."

But if you find yourself repeatedly unable to negotiate or work through a problem, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.

Sherman likens such a situation to an overgrown garden: "You cut the weeds down and it looks OK, but they just grow back because you're not getting to the roots.