If you are in a relationship and find yourself fighting with your partner, you may be wondering whether it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with the relationship, with you, or your partner. After all, nobody enjoys fighting!
Isn’t it supposed to be pure bliss once you find the one you want to be with? Shouldn’t you be getting along if you both love each other? A relationship is never as easy or as blissful as you may hope it would be. It’s not a romantic movie; it’s hard work!
Is it normal to fight in a relationship?
Experts say that there is a huge different between healthy and toxic fights. Most people (and relationship experts) would tell you that fighting in a healthy way can even strengthen a relationship.
Fighting can reveal a lot about you and your partner. You may learn a lot of new skills, including:
- How to be patient
- How to see the world from another point of view
- How to better understand your partner
- What you need to do to truly listen
- How to give and receive feedback
A healthy fight can help shed light on issues that you would otherwise keep to yourself. It can really be therapeutic, if done correctly, and can resolve problems before they become long-term issues that ruin a relationship.
Why do you think couples end up in therapy when they have some issues? Couples therapy can do a lot for partners who can’t seem to find a mutual language or who disagree on a lot of things.
You should actually worry if you never fight with your partner, as that can be a sign of passive aggressiveness, neglect and resentment. Couples who fight do it because they care, and have enough passion to express their feelings and thoughts openly – and that’s healthy.
It’s totally normal to disagree with your partner; you are two different human beings who share a life, but not a mind, together. It’s important to recognize that you can’t be on the same page about everything, so you may end up fighting along the way. Keep reading to find out more.
When do couples start to fight?
Most couples don’t have time or the desire to fight during the honeymoon phase of the relationship. When they are both head over heels with one another, all they see is perfection; little flaws and oddities don’t matter, and may in fact be seen as adorable. All it matters is that they are together and nothing can come between them.
Once the initial infatuation starts to wear off, anger often rears its ugly face and is often followed by insecurities, jealousy, unresolved issues, trying to change one another, and trying to decide whether the relationship is worth fighting for.
Disagreements seem appear out of thin air, and loving words and glances may be replaced by some harsh words and glares.
What do you fight about?
Of course, you want to share positive experiences with your partner, but life is life – and fighting is a natural part of it. It’s important to pay attention to what the two of you fight about. Is it usually silly, little things that trigger you or the bigger ticket items that come between you?
Do you feel that you can’t let go of the small things without picking up a fight? Or do you disagree on fundamental levels, have different viewpoints, different perceptions of the world, conflicting attitudes, and polar opposite personalities?
They say opposites attract, and that’s usually the case. But while you may have a lot of fun and passion, you will also have disagreements and fights. What you love about the other person can also be what you find utterly infuriating at times. Their unique qualities could be triggering to you because they are so different to what you feel is right, deep down.
What’s the fight like?
One way to tell that your fights are still healthy is to watch who stops fighting first, and how. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who tends to be the bigger person/the one who doesn’t slam doors and sulk for days?
- Do you both say sorry after a fight?
- Do you kiss and make up, or do you go to bed angry?
- Can you admit you are wrong during fight and apologize before saying something hurtful?
- Can you put the fight behind you for the good of the relationship or do you need to win the argument?
- Do you somehow let your emotions get the best of you?
Why do couples fight?
The number one thing couples fight about is actually nothing. Yes, you read that right! Most couples can’t recall their latest fight, and if they do, they can barely say what it was actually about. That’s a sure sign that the fight was about something so little that their brain didn’t deem it important enough to remember.
It does sound scary, doesn’t it? Especially, when you can remember feeling so upset about it that the fight ruined a perfectly good day. Fights about little things are never really about that little thing. There’s usually something else going on behind the scenes, like stress, neglect, insecurity, jealousy, past trauma, etc.
All it takes is one wrong sentence for one partner to lose their cool over (seemingly) the smallest thing.
Most fights happen because of miscommunication and misunderstandings. If one partner overcomplicates things in their head, reads too much into things, or makes a big deal out of nothing, then a fight is inevitable.
What do couples fight about?
In a healthy relationship, couples tend to fight about money and their future. It’s totally normal, but still stressful. Money can be a draining subject for a variety of reasons. While it might not bring happiness or secure a loving partner, it’s definitely an aid for a more secure and calmer life.
Having healthy conversations is critical in a long-lasting relationship. If you want to avoid fights later on, sit down and discuss the following topics as early as you feel comfortable in your relationship:
- How much you both get paid
- What you like to spend your money on
- Money issues and worries
- Where you would go on holiday if you have quite opposite tastes
- Who should change the toilet paper
And then later on, as the relationship matures, you may need to also tackle the topics of:
- How big your wedding should be
- Which family to spend Christmas with
- How to raise the children
- What counts as cheating
- Saving money
- Investment plans
- Shared budget and bank account
- Investment commitment and plans
The sooner you are fully open and on the same page about these things, the less they will be topics worth fighting over.
How long do your fights last?
Disagreement is unavoidable in a healthy relationship. But, if you let a fight take over a perfectly nice day and let it drag, then you may be headed for trouble. Experts advise not to fight for longer than 15 minutes; make sure to pause, reflect, and revisit the conversation later.
Incessant fighting and winding each other up won’t help you come to an agreement. Discuss the argument after you’ve let off some steam, and try to resolve the source of the issues. Don’t let resentment build up, because it can ruin your relationship in the long term.
When should you be concerned?
If you seem to be fighting more than making love, then you need to stop and seriously look at what’s going on in the relationship. Is it miscommunication? Is it a lack of intimacy that’s triggering you? Or do you have totally opposite perspectives in life?
When you fight is it getting ugly? Does one of you always end up in tears? Is there a level of contempt after each fight, one partner dismissing the other’s feelings?
Sometimes therapy may help resolve some of the issues that are going on in the relationship. It doesn’t mean that it’s over, just that you need to work harder at it.
You need to remind one another how to have a deeply loving relationship that’s built on regular communication, trust, respect and kindness. If you’ve got that basis, you won’t have fight for long. It just won’t happen!
When the relationship is literally your number one priority you will do your best not to jeopardize it, especially with silly fights that can be avoided. To have healthy arguments and protect the relationship, make sure to:
- Remain respectful during a fight. Don’t use it as an opportunity to cast blame, point fingers, call them names, etc.
- Be fully present during a fight. Listen to your partner, don’t just storm off to avoid talking at all, and definitely don’t go on your phone midway.
- Use fights as an opportunity to grow. Make sure you review what was said and why, what can be improved, and how fights can be avoided altogether.
- Don’t nag your partner after. Once a fight has passed and all has been said and done, don’t remind them of what they said or did, or of how they were wrong.
Fights are important in any relationship, but the right kinds of fights help both partners grow and learn – and don’t harm the love, respect, and strength of the relationship.