Fighting in a relationship is never pleasant, but there is no denying the fact that fights happen in every relationship. Even the happiest couples fight because every relationship has its ups and downs, and each person is unique and has their own likes and dislikes.
Is fighting in a relationship normal? And why do couples in a relationship fight? In this post, MomJunction gives you the answers to these common questions and tells you why having a healthy fight can make your relationship stronger and how to stop constant fighting in a relationship.
Is It Normal To Fight In A Relationship?
Fighting in a relationship is completely normal. Every relationship is bound to go through rough patches, and it is normal to have arguments with your partner occasionally, provided you follow some guidelines.
Remember that it is not about how often you fight, but how you fight:
- Constantly arguing or bickering over minor things and holding a grudge against your partner may not be normal.
- Having arguments while still having positive feelings for each other can be termed normal.
Have healthy fights, ensure you hear each other out, and do not hold grudges. In fact, you should be worried if you and your partner aren’t having occasional fights, as it shows that both of you aren’t keeping your lines of communication open. One of the worst things that you could do in a relationship is to ignore your partner or walk away in the middle of a conversation or scuffle.
Why Do You Pick Fights With Your Partner In A Relationship?
Constant scuffles and bickerings by a couple could be triggered by problems revolving around chores, disciplining kids, TV shows, irritating habits like snoring, laziness, swearing, getting home late, pets, not taking life, career, or health seriously, and more.
In more severe cases, relationship problems or fights could be caused by factors such as finances, jealousy or lack of trust, physical and emotional abuse, infidelity, and power struggle.
Is Fighting Healthy Or Unhealthy For A Relationship?
This entirely depends on the intention of the partners.
A fight can be considered healthy if you and your partner engage in it to:
- be heard or to maintain intimacy.
- understand each other’s feelings.
- find some common grounds or solutions.
On the other hand, a fight can be considered unhealthy when:
- you try to put each other down.
- fight for the sake of fighting.
- it turns personal.
- it involves abuse.
Reasons Why Fighting Is Good For Your Relationship
We often associate fighting with negative things. However, this isn’t always the case. Fighting in a relationship can bring about positive results when couples know how to go about resolving conflicts and disagreements amicably. Here are a few reasons why fighting could be good for your relationship.
- Healthy fighting can help develop intimacy between you and your partner by giving you a chance to know more about their feelings and likes and dislikes. It can help you both to understand each other better and deepen your relationship.
- Fighting in a relationship could be a clear indication that you and your partner are mature. You are ready to share your feelings, and you do not shy away from your problems.
- Expressing your pent-up anger, feelings, worries, or fears in a healthy way could help defuse tension and stress and make you feel better.
- It can help you realize that your partner is a separate individual and that you don’t need to be perfect to be in a healthy relationship.
- A fair fight can help build trust between you and your partner. It allows you to express yourself emotionally and get through tough times together.
When Are Fightings A Problem In A Relationship?
Fightings can become problematic in a relationship when either of you crosses a certain line, and it becomes hurtful. Despite your best efforts and intentions, if the following signs continue to show in your relationship, you may have to take a call that is in your best interest.
- Your partner shows non-verbal signs that indicate your opinion doesn’t matter to them —this could be anything, such as rolling of eyes or crossing of arms during an argument.
- Your partner shows a couldn’t-care-less attitude when you open up to them.
- Your partner doesn’t open up to you.
- Your arguments and bickering always blow out of proportion and don’t reach a fruitful conclusion.
- Your partner brings up the past constantly to shame you or put you down.
- Your fights turn abusive—this could include physical, mental, verbal, or emotional abuse.
- Your fights are always one-sided.
- Your partner refuses to get help.
Unhealthy fighting has various repercussions and could severely affect not only your emotional wellbeing but also physical health.
- According to a study conducted by the University of California – Irvine, arguing with your partner could increase your blood pressure and later health problems (1).
- Another study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that couples who indulge in bitter fights are prone to suffer from leaky gut, a condition in which gaps in the intestinal wall unleash bacteria into the blood and can drive up disease-causing inflammation (2).
- Also, frequent conflicts in any type of social relationship were associated with two to three times increased mortality risk (3).
How To Stop Fighting In A Relationship?
Here are a few things that you could do to stop those dreaded fights, resolve problems, or fight fairly in a relationship:
- Do not fight to win an argument but look for a solution. Your aim should be to empower each other. Try not to yell, call each other names, or use sarcasm when fighting with your partner. Tackle the issue and not each other.
- Understand your partner’s perspective. Listen empathetically, and do not cut your partner short during a fight or heated conversation. If possible, take turns in expressing your views, and learn to present your argument with respect.
- Make time for meaningful conversations. You could set aside a particular hour or evening every week to resolve your problems. This can help both of you to hold each other’s undivided attention during each session and have more meaningful conversations.
- Get to the root of the problem and identify the real emotion that is triggering the anger in your partner. It could be sadness, hurt, insecurity, etc.
- Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Remind each other that your relationship is based on trust and that you are a team.
- Never bring up the past while fighting, and always deal with one issue at a time.
- Do not involve others in your fight. You could make your partner feel isolated and disrespected if you bring in other people’s views or opinions on the matter.
- You cannot always have it your way. If you have incompatible goals or dreams, try to have more open communications with each other and find the middle ground.
- Apologize when you are wrong. This is one of the most important gestures but is overlooked.
- Do not generalize. Avoid using the “You always…” and “You never…” statements during an argument as these will only heighten tensions.
Disagreements and conflicts are natural in a relationship. The bickering and arguments that you have can only make your relationship stronger if done with the right intentions and a level of respect. Remember to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy fights and fight fairly. And yes, sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might think that nothing seems to work for you and your partner. In such a situation, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You may consider couples therapy because every relationship is worth fighting for.
2. How ugly marital spats might open the door to disease; The Ohio State University
3. Rikke Lund, et al.; Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study; Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (2014).