Arguments are common in all kinds of relationships. Some degree of conflict can even be healthy, as it means both people are expressing themselves, rather than keeping everything inside and letting emotions fester.
But if you’re arguing all the time, or simple disagreements end up in a hostile silence or screaming match, it can really start to take a toll on things – or even leave you wondering whether you’re all that compatible in the first place.
Learning ways to handle disagreements constructively is crucial in any relationship. We always say: conflict is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that counts.
Find out why you’re arguing
It can be useful to think of an argument like an onion. The outer layer is what you’re speaking about, while the deeper layers beneath represent the issues beneath this.
In other words, sometimes what we argue about is only a symptom of what’s going wrong, not the cause.
For example, Sam gets into an argument with his partner about whether they do their fair share of the household chores. On the surface, the argument may seem to be about something small, but it could also tap into wider feelings about how well supported Sam feels in the relationship generally.
It may also remind him of other situations when he has felt let down and unsupported by other people in his life. For Sam’s partner, the argument may tap into deeper worries about how controlling they feel Sam can be.
If you find you and your partner argue frequently, or about the same kinds of things a lot, it can be a good idea to think about what’s really causing the conflict. Are you arguing about what you think you’re arguing about – or are there other things going on the relationship that frustrate or worry you?