The most common misconception people have regarding relationships is that fighting means that you are not in a healthy relationship. But to what extent is it true? Does an ideal and healthy relationship devoid of all kinds of conflicts?
Couples tend to fight over the same issues over and over again. When Rachel Sussman, a relationship expert and marriage counselor in New York York City, was asked to name some of the main reasons couples fight, she mentioned trivial issues like social media use, chores, etc. Sussman elaborated that for couples the main issue is about communication or lack of it. The issue itself is not the main cause of fight among the couple.
If your partner brings some issue to discuss with you and you respond by getting defensive, it will escalate into a huge fight. So really putting in your efforts into communication is what is needed for resolving all of the conflicts.
The truth is, there is a difference between a good fight and a bad fight and when couples learn how to fight a good fight and face the conflict, it actually brings both the parties closer. When the problems are well communicated to the other person without getting into a big fight, both of you will actually come closer together. And if you both are horrible at communicating, then you will witness even trivial issues tearing your relationship apart.
Here are the most common conflicts that couples fight about:
Sussman told about what she hears from the unmarried couples when they come to seek counseling. Commitment is one of the most common points of conflict amongst couples with one partner feeling more committed to the relationship than the other.
She said that normally one partner seems to be more into being together and wishes to move it forward by taking some paramount step like moving in together or getting engaged or something and has to face resistance.
When people are in a healthy relationship, they see a future together, and therefore, commitment is a big deal in determining where the relationship is going. It also gives an insight into whether the other person has planned a future with you or not. When one of the two gets mixed signals regarding commitment or none altogether, it is bound to fuel a fire.
2. Social Media
Social media and the role it plays in romantic relationships is a recurring issue. According to Sussman, in the last five years, she has seen a rise in the total number of complaints regarding a partner’s social media use and habits. And the king of issues that arise of social media is plenty. Couples in their 20s and 30s normally complain of this.
And the issue is not only about spending too much time on social media; there is a whole trail of complaints and problems that arise from it. For example, a partner over-sharing on social media, talking to random people, a partner excluding you from his posts and pictures, etc.
If one of them is acting too possessive of their phone and is addicted to social media, the other person is bound to get suspicious and think they are being cheated on. The extent to which social media rules in our lives, issues related to social media are bound to occur more than once according to Margaux Cassuto who is a relationship expert and matchmaker from Three Matches.
Cassuto says that to overcome this issue, couples have to be considerate regarding their partner’s social media presence as well.
3. Domestic Responsibilities
Most of the chores-related fights come up when of the partner is keeping score which is truly a bad idea. Sussman says that if couples are fighting about chores, it is possible because one of the people feels more of the burden.
In her experience, in a heterosexual couple, the person taking the lion’s share of work is normally the woman. At the same time, men are also heard saying that even doing a lot gets them no credit; instead, they are picked on greatly.
If you have this scoreboard in your mind, you are only going to set the scales of your relationship in trouble. According to a 2007 Pew Research Poll, sharing household chores is the third most important factor in a successful marriage the first two being faithfulness and happy sexual relationship.
Licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in West Palm Beach, Dr. Rachel Needle says that household responsibilities are not often discussed at the beginning of a relationship. When couples share responsibilities, the relationship begins to feel more like a partnership that allows the couple to feel more connected.
When the load is not shared or not equal, one partner is bound to feel resentment that can lead to explosive fights. Whether the couple has children or not, the best way to resolve these issues is by talking through your expectations regarding duties and appreciation for the efforts and roles. When that is done, the idea of sharing the chores become a happier idea.
Sussman sees plenty of this in her practice. And discovering that you have been betrayed and your partner has been cheating on you can potentially destroy the romantic relationship the couple shares. In the past, affairs used to be rather simple most of the time. Like working too many late hours at the office, attending too many phone calls outside the room, finding receipts of a fancy dinner or suspicious dinner and that was all.
But while dealing with affairs in these times and using tracking devices, pen cameras, recorders and spouse monitoring apps, there is this whole trail of activities you can get access to like text messages, calls, chats and emails. There is nothing conventional about an affair now. For instance, Xnspy spouse monitoring app allows the person to discover this stream of hard evidence that confirms the infidelity.
These tools and apps allow the partner to look into everything their cheating partner might be doing online as well as their photos, messages and the places they have been to. Using Xnspy spouse monitoring app provides the cheated partner with so much information, and that too with proofs that it becomes difficult to carry on a relationship and even if a couple decides to move past it, it still lurks there somewhere in their relationship.
Infidelity wreaks havoc on the relationship, and multiple studies reveal that women are more traumatized because of emotional affairs than men. Being cheated is a distressful experience, and it rears its ugly head some way or the other if the couple continues to stay in the relationship.
Sussman is of the view that it is pretty normal in a couple that one saves money and other spends it. Couples argue about money quite often. Like one may be overspending it while other might not be managing it well. She said that the problem is one thinks he is justified and the other is at fault.
The spender ends up accusing the saver of being tight-fisted and cheap whereas the saver might find the other an irresponsible spender.
According to Sussman, problems also arise when a couple moves in together or gets married and then has to decide whether they should combine the finances or not. Sometimes money issues come later in the relationship like both the partners worked while dating but after having kids one stayed home. So the working partner may think that they have the edge and sometimes subject the not-working partner to financial blackmail.
Heidi McBain, who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist says that people have different ways of dealing with money and particularly how much they need to have to feel safe and secure in life. Talking openly about how to save and spend could help in resolving the money problems. These things should be decided at the beginning of the relationship.
Sussman has witnessed a common parenting problem that is the cause of conflicts between parents, and that is one parent being strict and one is more lenient. Psychologist Carl Pickhardt, who has also penned down various books about parenting, said that the first question couples need to ask themselves before having kids is how each of them is going to manage joint decision making.
If a couple constantly has these issues, it is not only straining on their relationship but the child as well. Both of the parties should be willing to communicate, change and compromise where needed.
Heidi McBain says that arguments and conflicts are a natural part of every relationship of our lives. The author of Life Transitions: Personal Stories of Hope Through Life’s Most Difficult Challenges and Changes, said that more important fact is how these issues are dealt with when they surface in your relations as they are bound to come up some point in your life. She says that if couples keep on having the same conflicts, they should get counseling. Having the same fights about the same things over and over again can become a major problem in your relationship.
Counseling could greatly help in adapting and learning healthy ways of communicating with your partner.