5 Reasons Why You And Your Partner Can’t Stop Arguing
All we ever do is fight with each other.
This thought haunted me for months. It felt like every morning; we would wake up, have coffee, chat, then suddenly, we’re bickering over the smallest of things.
“Couples that are happy with one another shouldn’t fight,” I told myself. The other part reminded me that fighting is healthy; it means you care about the relationship.
I was self-aware enough to know that I’m not the easiest person to get along with; I never struggled to voice my opinion, even if it ended up hurting someone.
After basically being forced to spend every waking minute with one another, I decided to approach the situation with a fresh pair of eyes. I asked for advice, I researched, read, and while I’m not saying our relationship is perfect now, it’s definitely improved.
If you are like me, and you often find yourself in various conflicts with your partner, and you’re starting to feel hopeless, there are a few particular things you can start addressing.
You’re not listening to their intentions.
Picture this, you’re getting ready to go somewhere with your significant other, and you decide to stop at Starbucks on the way there. You get your coffee, get back in the car, and start having a casual conversation with each other.
Suddenly, your partner has responded with something so offensive that you can’t even see straight, let alone think straight.
I’ve been in this situation before. For example, a few days ago my partner and I were on our way to the gym. We stopped by for coffee, and I was telling him about a podcast I listen to and the major growth it had received over a short amount of time.
I was ecstatic, I typically get overly-excited when I talk about things that I love. I asked my partner a hypothetical question, something along the lines of if my growth could be as good as the person we were talking about, and he responded with a cold, and brutal answer.
I was hurt, flustered, and everything went downhill from there. My partner was shocked; he had no idea that his response would hurt me this much. In my mind, I thought he would be supportive, and while I knew what I had said wasn't necessarily realistic — I was being hypothetical.
At that moment all I wanted was to be supported, not smacked in the face with negativity.
I went on to give my partner the silent treatment; after all, he did offend me. When we revisited the conversation two hours later, my partner apologized, saying he didn’t mean what he had said, and I had misinterpreted it. His intention wasn’t to be negative, he just didn’t want me to get my hopes up for something unrealistic.
Maybe you’re like me, and you often jump to conclusions; I know I do it without thinking, but if you constantly find yourself bickering over small and minuscule things, taking a step back and reassessing the situation will help.
Miscommunication happens, and instead of going head-first into defense mode, take a breather and identify what your partner’s intentions are when they’re telling you something that you find hurtful.
You’re stressed about 10 other things that are going on in your life.
Who do you go to when you’re feeling frustrated?
Is it your therapist? Maybe your friends? Parents? If not any of those, then probably your partner. This is completely normal because you feel comfortable talking about the stress that occurs in your work or daily life with them.
You should turn to your partner in times of struggle. The problem is when you’re unable to cultivate that “us against the world” mentality. You end up being disrespectful, cold, and agitated around the one person who is actually on your side.
I get flustered very easily, especially when something isn’t working out for me the way I want it to. When my partner asks me what’s wrong, I’ll often respond with “nothing” and give him the cold shoulder. This usually results in him thinking he did something wrong, which makes him upset, which makes me even more irritable.
It wasn’t until I sat down with my partner, and we had a conversation that things started improving.
I explained to my partner that I had multiple projects on my plate, and I was afraid of failing at each one of them. I shared my frustrations with our living situation, how I’m desperate to move to a different state, and I’m worried that financially it won’t be an option.
I have a lot of areas in my life that I need to work on, but the first step was opening up about my struggles and embracing the fact that it wasn’t just me anymore; it was the two of us against life’s problems.
It’s okay to accept help, especially when it’s coming from someone who loves you. Being strong and independent doesn’t mean having to face problems alone.
You’re overly critical of everything they do.
- “You did the dishes wrong.”
- “You always do this”
- “You screwed it up.”
- “You never do this for me.”
- “Why are you always like this.”
can be extremely damaging to your relationship. Nobody is perfect, and if your partner is actively trying to make you happy and yet you still find flaws in everything they do, you’re not being helpful; you’re being hurtful.
It’s impossible to have a healthy relationship if you greet your partner with an insult every time you see them or talk to them. Instead of trying to resolve what’s bothering you, you’re blaming the individual, which will only make the situation worse.
Learn to refocus on the positives of your relationship instead of always focusing on what’s negative.
Sure, maybe there are things you or your partner could work on, but approaching this from a non-critical perspective will benefit you because it’ll help your partner feel like you’re willing to help them, rather than poke and prod at their shortcomings.
You believe everything that they do is against you.
They’re going to the gym? Oh, it’s because they want to get fit so they could attract other people.
They want to stop by the store to grab a few things on their way home? Cheater.
They keep their phone on them at all times? Well then, they’re probably hiding their side piece.
Tired and wants to go to bed instead of spending time with you? Must be using all that energy on other women.
Every single little thing your partner wants to do feels like a personal attack to you. It doesn’t even matter if they invite you to do it with them; they’re probably just saying that so you wouldn’t be suspicious.
Psychologist Aaron Ben-Zeév says,
Suspicion has a dynamic of expansion; it is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The initial seeds of doubt about the partner’s fidelity give rise to a larger scope of doubts and uncertainties. The person’s suspicion becomes the prism through which the world receives its meaning. Suspicion colors the person’s picture of reality and supplies a permanent device for interpreting the partner’s behavior. The person is constantly testing the partner. Every type of behavior, every action or word, starts to be interpreted as a sign of something else, an indicator that supports and exacerbates the sense of distrust.
This is so inherently wrong and hurtful that it not only hurts you in the process but also your partner. Your insecurity leads them to believe they’re not trustworthy.
If you want to be in a healthy relationship, stop putting your partner’s every move under a microscope. Don’t constantly doubt their intentions or ask accusatory questions.
Writer Carrie Manner says,
Love doesn’t scour for evidence or assume wrongdoing–insecurity does.
Whether you’re the suspicious one or the one that feels like you need to check in with mom before going to the grocery store for a bag of chips, talk to your partner. It’s unfair to both of you to go on living this way, and the chances of your relationship working out if it does continue like this — is slim.
You’re not investing in yourself.
Before entering a relationship, you need to be a well-rounded and happy individual.
If you’re struggling to take care of yourself mentally and physically, or you lack the ability to communicate or whatever else it may be, how do you expect to have a healthy and strong relationship with another person?
You can’t make another person happy if you aren’t happy with who you are, and no other person should have to take that task upon their shoulders. You shouldn’t enter a relationship in hopes of them making you happy or fulfilling your life. Your life should already be happy and fulfilled; your partner is just a bonus.
Every failed relationship I’ve ever been in didn’t only fail because they were the wrong people for me to be with; they failed because I never took the time to invest in myself and become a whole person before letting someone into my life.
I relied on them to make me happy; I depended on them to show me what I did and didn’t like.
While there’s nothing wrong with experimenting, there is something wrong with believing that another person can satisfy you in ways that only you can satisfy yourself.
I took some time off dating before I met my partner; I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about myself or who I wanted to become. I didn’t know how to be happy on my own, and if I ever wanted to be happy with someone else, I had to first learn to be happy on my own.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says,
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
Invest in yourself. Invest in your own happiness, identify your strengths, weaknesses, what you want to do with your free time, what you want to do professionally, and figure out how to be wholesome and thoughtful on your own.
Then, let the one find you.
One thing healthy couples never fail to forget is that they’re a team. You might be arguing right now, but at the end of the day, you’re going to resolve the issue and come together again.
If you feel like you’re fighting each other more than usual, take a step back and reassess the situation. What can you do to help? What changes can you make to prevent stirring the pot or having the same argument multiple times?
Relationships are hard, but they’re 10x harder when the goal isn’t to resolve problems respectfully. Next time, take a different approach and see what happens.