Every couple bickers from time to time, and even though it’s never nice, it’s normal!
However, if your relationship has become defined by conflict, you could be trapped in a cycle of arguments that’s difficult to break. So, how to stop fighting in a relationship? Or, if you enter this kind of relationship pattern, is there any hope for the future?
Before you hit the self-destruct button on your relationship, or allow things to escalate any further, it’s important to take a step back and cool down. With the right communication skills and a positive attitude, it’s possible to stop fighting in a relationship and get things back on track.
“You are two or more people with different realities working together to create one world; you will have opposing views, which is normal in relationships,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.
“Knowing how to work through those moments of conflict and feel stronger on the other side is a key element in a healthy relationship.”
If you’re constantly fighting about the same things or rehashing the same arguments, you could be stuck in a cycle of fighting that’s hard to escape.
Argument cycles are common in relationships, where a lack of conflict resolution means you keep returning to the same fights. With this kind of cycle, the tiniest trigger can set you both off again, preventing any real productive conversations.
If your relationship becomes defined by conflict or bickering, it’s impossible to maintain a healthy dynamic, with toxic behaviors slowly creeping in. When you’re stuck in this rough patch, arguments can quickly escalate and both partners can find themselves saying hurtful things that they don’t really mean in the heat of the moment.
Unless you break these negative communication patterns and work on your conflict resolution skills, it’s difficult to redefine a healthy relationship dynamic.
Couples fight all the time, and it isn’t a crime to admit it!
Whether it’s over not taking out the bins, or working late, every couple has little triggers that could set off an argument. Surveys actually show that arguing can be healthy, with couples who argue effectively 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who sweep difficult issues under the carpet.
However, if couples are allowing their arguments to lapse into name-calling or petty jibes, it’s less likely that a productive resolution can be reached. Without communication skills, it’s very difficult to see your partner’s point of view, contributing to a greater cycle of arguments in the future.
While bickering is normal in any relationship, with the stresses of life acting as a natural agitator in couples' lives, there is a limit to how frequent arguments should be. For example, if you’re fighting constantly with no resolution, it could mean that you need a time-out from your relationship to find common ground. Or that you may need to seek relationship advice from a professional to get you back on track.
The greatest cause of constant fighting is avoidance. To avoid conflict, a lot of people tend to bite their tongue to avoid an argument.
While this may seem like the best tactic at the time, letting all of this annoyance and anger build up means that it’s likely to come out at the wrong moment — with your point getting lost along the way.
If you continue this kind of pattern, even the smallest arguments can blow up into huge conflicts, where everything you have been holding in suddenly comes out!
So why do couples fight? Trigger points for conflict vary from couple to couple, depending on their situation or the stage of their relationship. Usually, it's the little things that actually cause the spark for an argument, before it erupts into something more — with resentment brewing beneath the surface.
For example, you might bicker about household chores, and money, or find yourself taking out your work stress on your partner.
Some couples might argue out of jealousy or unhappiness with their situation or relationship. For example, your partner is flirting with other people and it’s really starting to bother you, with your arguments going round in round as the core issue fails to change.
Other couples might find themselves stuck in constant arguments over their future plans or bigger life decisions, like whether they want to have kids or not. Or, could they last in a long-distance relationship if one partner had to move for work commitments?
Every couple argues over different things, from the big issues to the small things. If you’re erupting over your partner not putting away the laundry, it’s probably wise to ask yourself why you’re angry in the first place and what’s the real problem you’re reacting to. Are there other relationship issues that are lurking under the surface?
Getting to the bottom of why you’re fighting with your partner can help you tackle difficult conversations in a more healthy way.
Intimate relationships shouldn’t be defined by constant conflict. It may seem like a huge task to break the conflict cycle, but it’s important to do so for the sake of your relationship and for your mental health.
To stop fighting with your partner, it’s important to tackle your relationship problems head-on rather than shying away from a difficult conversation.
“The key to interrupting a pattern of fighting is understanding what is happening underneath the fight you are having,” says Seeger DeGeare.
“Fights are rarely about the content you're fighting about; deeper, meaningful motivators are driving this fight forward for you both. Such as feeling like you are not a priority your opinion does not matter, or perhaps you are feeling unloved.”
If you keep lapsing into unproductive arguments, take a deep breath, and try and stay on track with our tips.