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Falling in love deactivates parts of your brain
01:57 - Source: CNN

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Forget the adage “all’s fair in love and war” when it comes to verbal sparring with a loved one. Low blows are definitely out, experts say, and sticking to loving, honest and open communication should be a priority.

Fighting can be healthy for a relationship if done the right way, experts say.

“One of the most important things we’ve seen in our research is that people benefit most from being direct,” said Jim McNulty, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, who has studied newlyweds and close relationships over time. “Beating around the bush, implying things, insinuating things, being sarcastic doesn’t work.

“When people have different perspectives – and we all do – it’s important to voice them,” McNulty said, “but they have to do so in a clear way that is as constructive as possible.”

QUIZ: Are you a fair or dirty fighter when it comes to love? Take our quiz to find out.

It’s healthy to fight – lovingly that is

If tussling with a loved one is so hard, why do it at all? Many people pride themselves on never entering battle with their partners, McNulty said. That’s a serious mistake, he said.

“When people avoid ‘fighting,’ they avoid talking,” McNulty said. “I’m constantly telling my partner, ‘If something’s bothering you. I’d rather know it than not know it so that I can maybe do something about it.’ If I don’t know, I can’t do anything.”

A 2008 study that followed almost 200 couple