Why you fight with your partner... and how to stop it (2023)

Why you fight with your partner... and how to stop

Why you fight with your partner... and how to stop it (1)

communication between couples,couple problems,Relations ForLisa Firestone, Ph.D.

Why you fight with your partner... and how to stop it (2)"I love you, so why do we fight so much?"This dilemma is one most couples face, causing them to question everything from their reality to their relationship to the rationality of love itself. After all, isn't a certain amount of arguing normal? 1recent researchfound that couples argue on average about seven times a day. However, just because fighting is common doesn't mean it's inevitable. Having repeated hostile interactions with the person we supposedly love creates anguish and emotional distress for both partners. There is much we can learn that explains why we fall into an unnecessary cycle of struggle and that will help us break this destructive cycle.

We can start by having a little self-pity. Many of us are more open and vulnerable with our partner than almost anyone else, so it makes sense that we would be more reactive with her and more affected by her responses. However,Thanwhat we react to is often deeper than what happens on the surface. We all have shocking experiences and unique attachment histories that shape our behavior as well as our expectations of how relationships work. Because of this, we don't exactly come to our adult relationships from scratch. In fact, studies have shown that when we are teased by a romantic partner, the same neurochemicals are released as when we were kids and our parents teased us. We rarely realize it, but often we react to our partner based on emotions triggered in our past.

Much of our anger comes from our past.

As children, we form defenses and adaptations to cope with our environment. The problem is that we carry these patterns with us into situations and relationships where they no longer serve us. Closing off and being alone may have been a good way to survive in our family, but it can cause problems when we are trying to communicate openly with our partner. Being stubborn and standing up for ourselves may have been a necessary defense against an angry or punishing parent, but this response may be inappropriate for a partner who is simply offering feedback.

We all have a “critical inner voice” formed from negative attitudes and interactions in our development. This "voice" is like a cruel inner coach that interprets the world around us and can become much stronger when we are emotionally aroused. He is also particularly active when it comes to our closest relationships. It can exacerbate and exaggerate situations, which intensifies our responses and leads to more conflict. For example, a small comment from our partner can translate into a harsh criticism when heard through our inner critic (i.e., "That's the second time you reminded me of our plans on Friday night. Do you think I'm an idiot? ?"). A small action can be seen as a grand gesture (ie, "He didn't invite me to that work party. He's embarrassed for me").

(Video) Esther Perel explains why couples fight | SVT/TV 2/Skavlan

Take action to end your fights.

It is possible to stop the pattern of fighting that many couples fall into. The actions below will help you and your partner bond in a respectful, sensitive, and compassionate way, while also addressing the difficult issues that will inevitably arise between you.

Concentrate-be not positive:As human beings, we are designed to look for danger. As a result, when we experience breakups in our first relationships, we are on high alert for other negative behaviors. Our critical inner voice keeps us alert, warning us that our partner is going to hurt or disappoint us again.

We can combat our negative expectations and fears about intimacy by shifting our focus from what our partner does wrong to what they do right. We can accomplish this by noticing what we are grateful for in our partner and then expressing our gratitude to them. It may seem hard to let things slide, but you can ignore the “voices” that are pointing out “but he said this” and “but she did that”. Reject the negative view of your partner that presents your critical inner voice.

Relate to your partner in the present:Since our closest relationships trigger emotions from our past, we are very likely to project these emotions onto our partner. For example, we can easily feel criticized or controlled because that's how we were related to when we were children. A small comment can make us feel attacked, because it appeals to old attacks on ourselves, so we respond in a much more defensive or combative way than we would otherwise.

When we recognize this dynamic, we can challenge the distortions of our past and connect with our partner in our lives today. We may know familiar images from our history or ways in which we have been seen. We can question the “voices” that keep warning us (ie, “Look, this is what happens every time you get close!”, “You were always nasty”). We can be open to the idea that we may not be seeing our partner accurately and approach them with curiosity and renewed interest. We can try to see things from our partner's point of view and understand how they feel.

One woman gave the example that when her husband offered to babysit so she could exercise, she was told, “You don't look well. Youwe mustexercise.” She mockingly responded by saying, “Oh, is that a clue?” In turn, her husband heard his own critical inner voice say, “See? You can't even do a good thing without your throat popping out." "She's so self-absorbed." Before they knew it, they were arguing over what could have been a simple and pleasant interaction.

When they talked about it later, the woman acknowledged how overly sensitive she was to any comments about her body, as she grew up being criticized for her appearance. Her husband was particularly sensitive to being misunderstood because of his own history of having a mother who often felt easily criticized. In this case, understanding her unique stories helped both partners separate them from their real-time experience. This led them to a deeper understanding that went beyond their little interaction.

Pause instead of react:As I mentioned, our interpretation of our interaction with our partner is often based on old attitudes or feelings, but before we can question or understand the intensity of our reaction, we are running and fighting. Couples can resolve conflict if they can take the time to examine what is really going on. Often couples react with instinctive emotions that trigger the other person. If we can pause and reflect, we can avoid much of the nastiness that comes out of a fight. Instead of being reactive, we can be curious. What triggered us? Is our anger similar to the anger we felt when we were children? What are the “voices” that are training us and fueling our anger? Why is our partner reacting the way he does? What is going on with them?

(Video) Why Do Loved Ones Fight With Each Other?

Invite open and honest communication:We can make an effort to keep the channels of communication open, resisting the knee-jerk reaction to defend ourselves when we feel attacked. We can intimidate or silence our partner by becoming defensive when our goal should be to ask for feedback. Our defensive reactions are driven by the "voices" that lead us to misinterpret or misinterpret our partner due to our own embodied ideas and heightened sensitivity (i.e., "He says you're stupid." "She thinks you're a jerk." . loser.")

We can ignore these "voices" and remain helpless and engaged while talking to and listening to our partner. When we are open, we can learn real ways to hurt and affect each other, and we get to know the other person better. This doesn't mean we should always agree with our partner, but being open to and with them invites a level of vulnerability that allows us to feel for each other and grow closer.

Talk about your feelings:When we resist admitting how we feel or asking for what we want, those feelings build up. We can keep quiet about these things, but expect our partner to intuitively know what we need, which leaves us feeling victimized and chronically disappointed. When we confront our partner, it can come from an irrational place that they have a hard time understanding. We can challenge the "voices" that advise us to keep our feelings to ourselves (ie, "Don't bother anyone with what you want." "No one cares how you feel!") Instead of shutting down or exploding, we can seek maintain a constant stream of honest and vulnerable communication about how we feel and what we want. This type of communication often softens our partner and keeps us on the same page.

Both the way we perceive our partner and the way we react to it are often filtered by expectations and experiences from our past. Unfortunately, the more agitated we are on a primary level, the more reactive we tend to be in the moment. That is why, when it comes to fighting with our partner, it is so valuable to understand our triggers and separate what is happening from what is happening within us. When we pause and question our reaction, we can find out what we really think, feel, and want, instead of blindly diving into an argument that could harm our relationship.

By challenging our tendencies toward more fighting and less closeness, we can change the dynamics of our relationship. We can take an honest look at our patterns and understand their roots, which will help us begin to break free of the cycle and stop struggling in our romantic relationship. It can be challenging to change the fundamental defenses that once protected us, but when we value and love our partner, creating a kind and compassionate relationship is worth fighting for.

About the Author

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.Dr. Lisa Firestone is director of research and education atGlendon Association🇧🇷 A gifted and much sought after speaker, Dr. Firestone speaks at national and international conferences in the areas of marital relationships, parenting, and suicide and violence prevention. Firestone Physician has published several professional articles and most recently co-authoredSex and love in intimate relationships(APA Books, 2006),Conquer your critical inner voice(New herald, 2002),Creating a life of meaning and compassion: the wisdom of psychotherapy (APA Books, 2003) andThe me under siege(Routledge, 2012). Siga o Dr. Firestone emGoreoGoogle.

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Why do I fight with my partner for no reason? ›

Pointless fighting often signals an underlying issue within a relationship that neither partner wants to talk about. Richardson says this can be about all sorts of things: a desire for attention, jealousy or trust issues, feeling lonely, or not feeling understood.

Is it normal to fight with your partner everyday? ›

It's not normal to fight daily over every little thing.

This often happens when there's an underlying problem that is going unaddressed. Take a step back and sit down with your partner. Try to have a calm, respectful conversation about what's really going on here. If that doesn't work, see a couple's counselor.

What causes too much fighting in a relationship? ›

Across several studies, trust-jealousy, partner personality habits, and sex were top conflict triggers. Sources of relationship friction are consistent across cultures. All couples fight about the same things. Relationship quality is more about how you deal with conflict than what you fight about.

Do couples that fight stay together? ›

It's not a message likely to be found on many Valentine's cards but research has found that couples who argue together, stay together. Couples who argue effectively are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who sweep difficult issues under the carpet, according to a survey of almost 1,000 adults.

How do I get back to normal after a fight? ›

7 Tips For Repairing Your Relationship After A Fight
  1. Give Each Other Time And Space. After an argument with your partner, it's important to give each other time and space. ...
  2. Feel Your Feelings. ...
  3. Use I Statements. ...
  4. Actively Listen. ...
  5. Take A Break If Needed. ...
  6. Apologize And Reconnect. ...
  7. Make A Plan For The Future.

When should you stop fighting to save a relationship? ›

If neither of you feels like discussing your problems and trying to fix things — like, ever — then that's a big red flag your relationship is about to end. It means you've both given up and just can't be bothered doing what it takes to save your love from ruin.

How many times is it normal to fight in a relationship? ›

There is a great deal of variation in terms of how often people in serious relationships say they get into arguments or disagreements. Roughly an equal share say they argue once a week or more (30%), once a month or multiple times a month (28%), and once or multiple times per year (32%). Only 3% say they never argue.

How do you know whether you should break up? ›

Here, experts explain some of the signs that indicate it may be time to let go:
  1. Your needs aren't being met.
  2. You're seeking those needs from others.
  3. You're scared to ask for more from your partner.
  4. Your friends and family don't support your relationship.
  5. You feel obligated to stay with your partner.
Aug 27, 2018

When should you end a relationship? ›

There's No Emotional Connection

One of the key signs your relationship is ending is that you are no longer vulnerable and open with your partner. A cornerstone of happy, healthy ​relationships is that both partners feel comfortable being truly open to sharing thoughts and opinions with one another.

Should we break up if we argue all the time? ›

Repeating the same argument means the demise of the relationship. Arguing frequently about the same issues over and over for long periods means there are going to be no changes and it is time to get out. Your partner is caught in a spiral of needing drama and hurting you."

Can a relationship survive fighting? ›

Fighting strengthens the relationship

If it strengthens the bond, then yes. One of the reasons to fight in relationships is because it strengthens the bond between the couples. Healthy and constructive fighting allows each person to air their views and express themselves without abuse or violence.

What determines a toxic relationship? ›

A toxic relationship is one that makes you feel unsupported, misunderstood, demeaned, or attacked. A relationship is toxic when your well-being is threatened in some way—emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.

Does fighting increase love? ›

Fights only make you stronger and increase your level of patience, care and love for your partner. Some times you even adapt yourself to the other person's faults. “However, make sure that the argument doesn't happen too often because that will create trouble in your paradise,” says Dr Sethi.

Who is more likely to end a relationship? ›

While it is established that about half of all marriages end in divorce, it is commonly assumed that the breakups are initiated by both genders equally. In fact, it is surprising to most people that women are actually more likely to end their marriages than men.

Does arguing mean love? ›

If you argue, it means you know your lover well enough and are brave to voice your opinions. It shows the understanding between you two. Psychologists have carried out tests and have concluded that couples which argue, have a stronger relationship than others. Relationships usually begin with hearts and butterflies.

Can a relationship work after a fight? ›

Healing your relationship following an argument can take time, persistence, and patience. By communicating and problem-solving together, it's possible to work through the pain and hurt. You can understand one another better, strengthen your relationship, and discover a solution that can work for both of you.

How do you break the cycle of fighting? ›

How to Stop Fighting in A Relationship
  1. Dodge the Defensive. ...
  2. Step Away From the Situation to Cool Down. ...
  3. Always Fight or Argue Face to Face. ...
  4. Create Boundaries for A Fight. ...
  5. Remember Why You're in The Relationship. ...
  6. Take Care of The Conflict as Soon as Possible. ...
  7. Consider Therapy. ...
  8. Take Some Time Apart.
Feb 4, 2019

How do you fix a relationship after constant fighting? ›

7 Tips For Repairing Your Relationship After A Fight
  1. Give Each Other Time And Space. After an argument with your partner, it's important to give each other time and space. ...
  2. Feel Your Feelings. ...
  3. Use I Statements. ...
  4. Actively Listen. ...
  5. Take A Break If Needed. ...
  6. Apologize And Reconnect. ...
  7. Make A Plan For The Future.

How many times is it healthy to fight in a relationship? ›

There is no set number for how often you should have disagreements with your partner. And having arguments can be a healthy part of any relationship. "Disagreements happen and when they do, they are an opportunity for greater self-awareness, and relationship expansion," Brown says.


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