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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shira Olsen

Top 7 Reasons You’re Fighting with Your Partner and What to Do About It

If you are currently in a romantic relationship, chances are you and your partner have disagreements which can escalate to arguments. Experiencing conflict in a relationship is typically not enjoyable because we like to get along with others in order to feel secure and connected. We also tend to resolve arguments poorly if healthy conflict resolution was never modeled for us while growing up. If you have learned ineffective ways to handle conflict from past relationships, you will likely carry those same methods into future relationships. Arguments can also feel uncomfortable and emotionally unsafe, so some couples may avoid them altogether, which can create relational dissatisfaction in the long-term. Discussing relationship conflicts as they arise is generally encouraged by therapists and can have the added benefit of fostering a deeper connection with your partner. Without an appreciation for healthy disagreements and the skills necessary to work through conflict, couples can get stuck in a negative cycle that fuels misunderstandings, blame, and resentment between them.


The specific reasons couples fight can vary from one relationship to another. There does however appear to be consistent themes couples report that contribute to greater conflict in relationships. What this suggests is that most couples are having arguments about the same topics. With this insight, couples can more easily identify and label their relational problems instead of staying stuck and frustrated in gridlock. Once couples can better pinpoint their struggles, they can get to understanding the root cause more efficiently and then successfully intervene.


Here are the top 7 reasons couples fight:


Communication breakdowns: Different communication styles and misunderstandings can lead to arguments. This becomes especially apparent when one partner is more vocal in the relationship.


Money: Differences in financial priorities and disagreements over spending habits can cause conflict.


Household chores and responsibilities: Disagreements over the division of household tasks and responsibilities can lead to arguments and make one partner (or both) feel underappreciated.


Differences in values and priorities: When couples have differing views on important issues, such as parenting, lifestyle, and career goals, it can lead to conflict.


Intimacy: Fluctuating desire for sexual intimacy can be a source of conflict for couples. Lack of emotional intimacy can also create problems.


Broken Trust: Infidelity or other violations of trust can cause significant pain and distress in a relationship until trust is repaired.


Stress and outside factors: External stressors, such as work or family pressures (e.g., birth of a child), can exhaust one’s emotional resources and contribute to arguments in a relationship.


If any of the above themes sound familiar to you, know that there are helpful ways you can begin to address conflict. Here are several strategies you can begin to implement in your relationship today.


Practice active listening: When your partner is speaking, try to listen attentively and understand their perspective. Avoid interrupting or getting defensive.


Communicate effectively: Share your feelings and thoughts with your partner in a calm and respectful manner. Use "I" statements to express your feelings and needs and avoid blaming or attacking them. Seek to understand each other's point of view.


Find common ground: Look for areas where you both agree and focus on finding solutions that benefit both of you.


Take a break: If a fight is getting heated, it may be helpful to take a break and cool down before continuing the conversation.


Make time for each other: Spending quality time together and engaging in activities that you both enjoy can help to strengthen your relationship and prevent future conflicts.


Practice empathy: Try to see things from your partner's perspective and show empathy towards their feelings and needs.


Seek professional help: If conflicts in your relationship persist and become difficult to resolve on your own, consider seeking the help of a couples therapist.


Practice gratitude and focus on the positive: Remember the things you love about your partner and appreciate the good times you have together.


It's important to approach conflicts in a relationship with patience, empathy, and a willingness to work together towards a resolution. Remember, arguing is a natural part of any relationship, but how you handle conflicts can make a big difference in the health and happiness of your relationship.


If you are struggling with resolving conflict in your relationship, reach out to us today and let one of our couples therapists support you.

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