Every couple fights and the ones who say otherwise are lying. There’s no perfect relationship, and sometimes, fighting is normal. Even happy couples fight from time to time and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to know how to overcome those fights.
Here are 10 normal fights that even happy couples have!
“We never have sex anymore!”
It’s only a myth that well-matched couples have equally well-matched libidos, says Kimberly Hershenson, LCSW and couples therapist. And even if you were in sync the day you got married, kids, stress, illness, and other life events have a way of changing things. This means it’s inevitable you’ll have disagreements about sex.
“There are other ways to feel connected if sex isn’t happening as frequently as someone would like,” she says. “Physical intimacy is obviously important in a marriage but many of my clients don’t realize the importance of having an emotional connection to their partner first.” Once you are working as a team every day, you can solve bedroom strategies together.
“Why did you like all your ex’s pictures on Facebook?!”
Modern technology has created a lot of modern relationship fights, especially when it comes to social media.
“These days we see a lot of ‘cyber-straying’ which means sneakily looking up and even reconnecting with old flames, despite being with someone else,” says Wendy L. Patrick, JD, PhD, behavioral expert and author of Red Flags.
Then, when the partner finds out, they feel hurt and betrayed, she adds. The fix to this fight is suppressing that curiosity. “Curiosity compromises trust and secrets are relationship saboteurs,” she says. “Ex-relationships are in the past for a reason.”
If you want to maintain a friendly connection with an ex, make sure to talk to your partner about it.
“You love your phone more than you love me!”
“Smartphones and tablets are awesome but they are also a huge distraction, ready to interrupt your precious time with your partner at any second”, Patrick says.
Nowadays, phones have become a major source of fights, she says. The solution is simple: Just put away your phones and spend quality time together.
“The impersonal nature of this communication often builds barriers, not bridges,” she explains. “Remember, your partner is your lifeline. Uplifting, encouraging conversations infused with real emotion will revitalize your relationship in a way that no amount of emoticons could ever do.”
“Why am I the only one who does dishes around here?!”
Couples have been fighting over chores since forever, it’s what every couple does. And that’s not just because about who does the washes or vacuums more, it’s really about feeling like things are fair, says Fran Walfish, PhD., a relationship psychotherapist, author, and consultant on The Doctors TV show.
“What you need to realize is there is no such thing as a 50-50 split of responsibility in a great marriage. There will be times each of you will have to give 100 percent,” she explains. “Great couples learn to sacrifice willingly for one another without expecting something in return,” Easier said than done, right? “Cultivate this mentality by finding little ways to serve your spouse every day,” she adds.
“Stop humming, you know that makes me want to rip my ears off!”
It is true that if you live with someone long enough, you will find something about them that drives you absolutely insane. Especially when it comes to long-term relationships, those little annoyances can lead to a huge fight, especially if you use these quirks to intentionally trigger the other person.
“This is totally normal, even with the people we love the most,” Walfish says. “Instead of creating a mental list of all the things your partner does that annoy you, try and put them in perspective and make a list of all the things they do well. Then extend grace for minor annoyances, knowing that your partner likely does the same for you.”
“Why don’t you just divorce me if you’re this unhappy?”
Dropping the “D”word when fighting is very common, even in a happy marriage, says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor and co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project. The problem with this argument isn’t that you’re fighting, because everybody fights, the problem is that you automatically assume that fighting leads to divorce.
“The truth is that all couples argue,” he says. “Instead of wondering if you made the wrong choice, remember all the reasons you thought this person was the right choice—you will find that you’ve picked someone who will uniquely challenge you but will also help you achieve ultimate personal growth and healing.”
“I feel like you don’t even know me anymore!”
Just because you’re in a long-term relationship, doesn’t mean that you stop growing and changing, and this can lead to some very frustrating blowups, says Lesli Doares, couples’ consultant and coach, author and host of Happily Ever After is Just the Beginning.
“When we first meet and get married, there is a lot of conversation and sharing about who we each are but as the years go by, we think we know each other and continue to act as if neither has changed,” she says. “The way to fix this fight is to keep asking each other questions and don’t assume you know the answers.”
“I picked up the kids five days this week, you owe me!”
Humans want equality and fairness, so if you feel like you’re always getting the short end of the stick, it can create major resentment which leads to a serious argument. But scorecards are for golf, not relationships, so stop tallying up everything you do and comparing it to your spouse, Doares says.
“If one of you isn’t happy with the way things are going, the relationship cannot be happy and the way to stop this argument is to make decisions together,” she says. “Learning how to reach an agreement that you both can support and implement is critical.”
“You take me for granted!”
Being taken for granted is a major source of fights between couples, says Allen W. Barton, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Georgia’s Center for Family Research and founder of LiveYourVows. However, the solution is as simple as these two little words spoken at the right time: Thank you.
“It’s such a simple thing that it often gets overlooked but expressing appreciation to your partner for things they have done for the relationship and family is key to stopping contention,” he says. “Make it a practice to thank your spouse every day for something.”
“Stop throwing the past in my face!”
Constantly bringing up your partner’s past mistakes will only create new fights based on the same topics.
“You can’t expect that when one person does something reckless, threatening, or destructive that their partner will just get over it,” says Wendy Brown, clinical member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists and author of Why Love Succeeds.
“Their worries, trauma, and concerns must be addressed before you can move on,” she adds.
“You need to look for ways to openly discuss the past in a calm way—a therapist can be an impartial third party to help you do this,” she says.