Do you feel like you are always fighting with your partner?
Whether you’ve been with someone for years or are just getting to know a potential partner, arguments arise, and constant fighting in a relationship can be hard. If you feel you are always fighting in the relationship, not only it leaves you feeling tired, drained, and questioning your value but also leaves you not wanting to see your partner.
“Couples bicker an average of 2,455 times a year. About everything from money, to not listening, to laziness, and even what to watch on TV.”
The number one reason when couples argue constantly is the factor of overspending. But also the list includes: parking the car, getting home late from work, when to have sex, not closing cupboards, and not answering calls/ignoring texts.
Constant fighting in relationships happens. But fighting a lot in a relationship shouldn’t. If this is happening, you can learn how to stop fighting and use it in a positive way to help your relationship grow.
What does fighting in a relationship mean?
Before we talk about ways to stop fighting in a relationship, let’s take a look at what fighting is. While most people think of yelling, screaming, name-calling, and for some couples, it could even become physical violence, these are all significant signs of a fight.
I like to call these pre-fight behaviors. These are the ways the couples fight and describe what happens during a fight. These are things that may seem harmless or may not even be something we realize happens that, over time, lead to pent up hostility and hurt.
Making faces when their partner says something
Ignoring your partner’s needs
Passive-aggressive huffing, mumbling, and comments
Often, the best way to stop constant fighting in a relationship is to nip the fights in the bud and be aware of how you and your partner pre-fight.
What do couples fight about?
Every couple argues about one thing or the other in their relationship, and it is not necessarily, a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes, fighting in a relationship is necessary to bring things into perspective.
Let’s look at the things couples mostly fight about in their relationship:
Couples will usually fight about chores in their relationship, especially if they are living together. At the starting phase, the division of chores can take time, and one partner might feel they are doing all the work.
Fights over social media could be over a plenty of reasons. One partner might feel that the other one is addicted to social media, giving the relationship less time, or someone might get insecure about their partner’s friendships over social media.
Different partners might have different work hours, and this could create tension as one might feel they are not getting enough time as the other one is constantly busy.
At what stage would one partner want to commit to the relationship to see a future while the other one is still figuring out their priorities and when they want to settle down? Well, it completely depends on each individual, and this can be a reason to fight when one is ready, and the other is not.
When one partner is cheating in the relationship, it can be a major reason to fight and can lead to a break up if the situation is not taken care of with proper communication.
When one partner is involved in any kind of substance abuse, it can affect the health of the relationship with another partner, constantly suffering. This is likely to cause a fight.
Because of the difference in the background, there could be a difference in the way both want to raise their children, and at times, they might not agree with each other.
Distance in the relationship
At one point or the other, there could be a distance between the partners, which can only be fixed when they talk about it. If one of the partners is paying heed to it while the other isn’t, this can lead to a fight.
How to stop constant fighting in a relationship
Here’s a simple five-step plan for you and your partner to work on that will allow you to stop constant fighting in a relationship as well as learn how to communicate in a way that will allow the relationship to become stronger than ever.
1. Learn your communication styles & love language
About two years ago, I sat in a car with my friend as she fumed over the fact that she had gotten into another fight with her boyfriend over the state of the house. I’d just been there- the house was spotless, but I didn’t say that; instead, I listened.
“He never apologizes.”
I knew that wasn’t all she had on her mind, so I didn’t say anything.
“He just stands there and stares at me. It’s been two days, and he still hasn’t apologized to me. I came home yesterday, and the house was spotless, there were flowers on the table, and still, he won’t even say he’s sorry.”
“Do you think maybe his actions were his apology?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter. I want him to apologize.”
I didn’t say anything else. But I had suspected for a while that the couple wasn’t going to last much longer, and after the conversation with my friend, I knew that I was right. Less than three months later the couple had ended things with each other.
Do you see the point of the story?
When couples argue constantly, it has been my experience that this has a lot to do with the fact that they don’t know how to communicate. Sure, they know how to say “you’re being a jerk.” or “I didn’t like when you did that.” but that isn’t communicating!
That is the kind of communication that leads to constant fighting in a relationship, and no one wants that.
That’s saying something hurtful, something that will inspire your partner to come back with a rebuttal. This is what happens when couples communicate based on their communication styles.
Note: When you and your partner exchange love languages, it is important that you remember they may be different. This means that you may have to make a conscious effort to show your partner love in the way that they need.
The video below clearly explains 5 different types of love language that will help you figure out what is your love language and that of your partner’s:
2.Learn your trigger points & discuss them
In this day and age, a lot of people hear the term trigger, and they roll their eyes. They associate it with being fragile, but the truth is, we all have trigger points that tug at something, most often past trauma.
6 months after a 2-year-long abusive relationship, I was in a new (healthy) relationship. I wasn’t used to not constantly fighting in a relationship when my partner let out a loud cuss word when he dropped a glass. I felt my body instantly tense up. That was the word my ex always used when he was really angry.
When we are aware of what triggers us, we can communicate it to our partner so that they understand.
My partner didn’t know he had triggered me. He didn’t understand why I wanted to be at the other end of the couch suddenly or why I was on edge by everything he said because I didn’t communicate that until hours later.
Thankfully, despite my lack of communication, we didn’t fight but considering I suddenly didn’t want to be within reach of my partner, and how bad that probably made them feel, it would have been understandable if it had.
How to apply this step
Write a list of your trigger points/words/actions/events. Ask your partner to do the same and exchange lists. If you two feel comfortable doing it, discuss them. If not, that is okay.
3. Create time for each other to focus on improving the relationship
If there is constant fighting in marriage, it’s important to realize that there may be more going on than you realize.
There may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
This means that you need to take time to focus on each other as well as improving your relationship, and this should be fun.
How to apply this step
Schedule dates, schedule time together, surprise each other with some intimate time, have a bubble bath, or even just spend the day in bed. Work to repair your relationship at home- but also consider that therapy may be a benefit as well.
4. Have a safe word
If you have watched HIMYM, you’ll know Lily and Marshall always stop a fight when one of them says, “Pause.” A lot of people think it may be silly, but it can work.
When you are used to constant fighting in a relationship, sometimes it’s the best answer to how to stop fights before they start.
How to apply this step
– Talk to your partner about using a safe word to let them know that what they did hurt you.
Once you agree on this word, make sure that you both understand that this is not a word that should trigger a fight. It is a word that should end a potential fight or let you know that you did something hurtful, and it will be discussed later, but right now, it’s time to be there for your partner.
5. Schedule time to fight
We live in a day where we schedule everything. We try to be organized as best we can and schedule our appointments in advance. Not only means we make sure we have time for them, but it also allows us to prepare for it.
For a lot of people, when they hear the suggestion to schedule flights in advance, they tend to discard it right off the bat, but scheduling fights in advance has a lot of benefits, especially if there is already constant fighting in a relationship.
Not only does this allow you to cut down on constant fighting in a relationship, but you also have time to think about your needs as well as how to express them (and potentially write it out if that helps), as well as take the time to decide if something is worth fighting about.
How to apply this step
– While it’s not likely that you are going to schedule a fight a week in advance, it is okay to put something off by asking if you guys can talk about a topic or event in a couple of hours or once the kids are put to bed.
How to use fights in a positive way
In every relationship, fighting will most likely happen.
While you may meet two or three couples that have been together for decades without a single raised voice, they are not the norm. However, constant fighting in a relationship is not either.
But there is a balance when it comes to picking fights in a relationship.
It means for a lot of people, instead of learning how not to fight, I encourage people to learn how to argue in a positive way that will not be destructive to their relationship. So, here are a few extra things to remember that can make those fights positive, kind, and even beneficial.
Hold hands or cuddle! It seems like these days we all know the benefits of physical contact. It can make us feel safe, loved, and calm. So why not apply those benefits when we fight with our partner?
Start the fight-off with some positives. It may feel strange at first, but how many times have you heard “You know I love you but….” before something? Instead of just doing that, offer a list of 10-15 things you love about that person to not only remind them you love them but also to remind yourself.
Make sure to use “I” statements. Focus on how you feel, not on what they do/say with “you” statements. Otherwise, your partner will feel the need to defend themselves.
Don’t play the blame-game by telling your partner what they do wrong Instead, let them know what they could do that would really make you feel better/good or help the situation.
Work on a list together. When you start letting them know what they could do, use it as a way to work together by working on a list of alternative options- aim for 15-20.
If you two have trouble talking to each other, set a timer, and give each other a set time to express yourself without pressure or fear of getting talked over.
How to stop constant fighting in a relationship about the same topic?
“But why do we keep fighting about it?”
I sucked in a deep breath, waiting to see if my friend was going to keep talking or if I was going to be able to get my opinion in. I admit it; I’m a sucker for wanting to have my voice heard.
“Have you told him how it makes you feel?”
“I tell him the exact same thing every time we fight about it.”
“Well, maybe that is the issue.”
If you, like my friend, always seem to be fighting with your partner about the same thing all the time, it’s time to break that cycle.
But how to stop having the same fight over & over again?
To stop constant fighting in a relationship, start by applying this article, of course! Once you’ve read all of this, you have taken in so many options and techniques. If you have applied everything listed above, the chances are you won’t need to worry because you and your partner will have already dealt with this, but if not-
Schedule a day to talk about the fight. Do not have the fight. Instead, talk about what happens during the fight, when it happens, what causes it, use your new communication styles to rephrase your hurt, and how it triggers you.
Break down the topic and use it as a way to spend time with each other- looking at the fight as a way to strengthen your relationship.
When you are struggling with constant fighting in a relationship, most of all takes time and commitment to change. It takes work, and it takes two people who are committed to making things work.
Give yourself time and be gentle, but stay hopeful that constant fighting in a relationship is something that can be overcome.
Dos and don’ts for after a fight
After a fight, it’s understandable that you just want to forget all about it. But sometimes you can’t do that. Here are a few things you shouldn’t do after a fight and the things you must do.
Know these Dos and Don’ts to stop constant fighting in a relationship and for moving forward after a fight in the healthiest way you can.
1. Don’t give them the cold shoulder
After a fight, it can be understandable to want space and to be hurt by something your partner said. But if you resort right to the cold shoulder, it’s just going to make things worse.
When someone gets the cold shoulder, they are normally inclined to give it back, and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
2. Don’t go tell everyone about it- and never post it on social media
While it is okay (and encouraged) to have a friend or two that you can confide in, it’s important to remember that some things you and your partner experience should remain between just the two of you.
And it should go without saying that you should never post your drama on social media for everyone to see.
Remember that you would want your partner to respect your privacy during (and after) the fight. Give them the same respect.
3. Don’t memorize parts of the fight to use in the future
I believe everyone is guilty of this. When our partner says something that we find overly hurtful, it gets burned into our memory for us to use next week, or next month, or twenty years from now.
You should never bring these things up during a future argument. If your partner said something that hurt, it should be calmly discussed.
But, just like giving the cold shoulder can easily turn into you and your partner not talking for months, bringing up the past is an easy way to start a “one-up” contest.
4. Do make sure you apologize if you said something hurtful
After a fight, it might not occur to you because you guys already discussed everything that happened after all. But if you said or did something that you know was hurtful, make sure to take a second and acknowledge that you know it hurts them and that you are sorry for that.
5. Do offer to give them space
Everyone needs different things when they are struggling mentally. And everyone needs different things after a fight with their partner. Make sure you check in on your partner’s needs (and express your own) after a fight.
They may need you to hold them, they may need to have you in the same room without talking, or they may need some time to themselves. Remember that if they do (or if you are the one who needs space), this doesn’t mean that the fight isn’t over or that there are leftover hostile feelings.
It just means that they may need time to decompress alone.
6. Do something kind for your partner
Small acts of kindness can go a long way. Often, we think in order to remind our partner they are important, we have to plan an over-the-top, expensive gift or surprise. But what a lot of people forget is that small actions add up. This could be as simple as:
Writing a love letter to them
Making their morning coffee
Making a nice dinner
Buying them a small gift (like a book or a video game)
Giving them a massage or back rub
Not only are small actions a thoughtful way to apologize via actions, but small, loving habits performed often are going to be what helps you have and maintain a strong, healthy relationship.
A healthy relationship is far less likely to have fights, and most importantly, you are more likely to be happy in the relationship and outside of it. By reading this, you are clearly proving you want to make the relationship work and are ready to make amends. This is the start of a healthy relationship!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.