How Not to Get in a Fight With Your S.O. in the Car This 4th of July Weekend

Happy Fourth of July! Doing anything fun for the weekend? Like, for instance, getting into a car with your significant other tonight to drive somewhere with a beach or some beautiful nature...just like everybody else? And then you're idling on I-95 for hours, you're out of podcasts, and one of you is quietly seething that if you'd just taken 78 West you could have avoided most of this traffic, even though it looked longer on the map, and you always ruin things you never listen to me I hate you. We've all been there, and while getting into fights is something that happens to all couples, they're particularly annoying if you are stuck in a metal box in the middle of the highway with no bathrooms in sight. Traffic can't be avoided, but with some planning and emotional honesty, maybe your fight can be. Samantha Burns, a relationship counselor and dating coach, says it's no surprise fights happen in the car. "Traffic can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing situation, especially if you're the driver and splitting your mental attention between the road and your partner," she told Stress makes your brain go into fight-or-flight mode, and instead of being able to take a walk or do something else to calm yourself down, when you're stuck in a car "you're left with engaging in the argument or ignoring your partner, which can be just as damaging." The thing is, long car rides can also be wonderful times to reconnect, whether it's with deep conversations or listening to albums or podcasts you both enjoy. And ultimately, we never stop being children who need games and toys and songs to distract us from how little control we have over the world around us. Pick out books on tape to listen to in advance, bring a crossword puzzle and call out the questions, or play the same games you played as a kid. "It sounds silly, but can be a good distraction from the mundane scenery or tense conversations, and will get you into a playful state of mind," says Burns. "It's also important to pack plenty of snacks and water since hunger can get the best of you, and it's never fun to deal with a hangry partner."

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