Fighting in a Relationship – an Evil or a Blessing in Disguise?

fighting in a relationshipA conversation with a female friend inspired me to write this article on the issue that I have been thinking to write about for quite a while now – fighting in a relationship. While most questions on fighting focus around preventing or dealing with fights, nasty arguments, name calling, and yelling at each other, my friend presented me with a different issue of equal or greater importance, but the one that is hardly ever been raised

– What if you feel too comfortable in a relationship? What if you feel like you don’t fight enough with your guy? What if you were at first happy that he would go along with just about everything you do and say, but now it irritates you that the guy you are with never confronts you, never calls you on your sh-t even when you clearly deserve it?

My friend is remarkably true… with herself.  She admitted during our conversation that she feels she is trying to cause a fight just to wake her boyfriend up from that seeming state of apathy. She wants to see some strong emotion and some anger from him.

I could completely understand where she was coming from as a woman. She wanted to see that important part of a man in her boyfriend that makes him masculine and attractive. I assured her that while what she feels might not make logical sense, it is completely natural. Fighting in a relationship is completely natural, because disagreements between any two people are part of human interaction, especially if they care about each other and if they spend a lot of time together.

In our conversation today, I went so far as to say that fighting might just be a basic need that has to be satisfied periodically (like eating, drinking and using a bathroom). As we get to know each other, we will inevitably disagree and annoy each other at times. We have to confront each other about it in one way or another.  This is totally normal. And this is exactly the reason why so many couples have these recurring arguments in between periods of great love and affection.

This means that you should not expect or promise to each other to never fight again. Making these types of promises is both unrealistic and unnecessary. As long you fight fairly by the “rules” and avoid the low blows, such as for instance bringing up things from the past that you already argued about and settled, fighting can be an invigorating experience, breeding new life into a relationship (and sex) upon make-up, hence the term “make up” sex.

Although there are few “perfect” couples out there who live happily forever after without fighting or even having conflicts or arguments, it is generally unrealistic to expect to be in a relationship totally free of fighting or arguments. Some would even argue that when a man and a woman don’t disagree on anything and never fight, it’s actually bad because that would suggests that they are indifferent toward each other and they simply don’t care or stopped caring, or that they are in a relationship which is boring and thus free of any fighting and controversy. It is only natural for the two people to run into situations where they hold opposing views or opinions or where one partner’s actions rub the other the wrong way and get him/her angry. This can be the very minor, mundane issues such as sharing expenses or household duties or a more significant issues, such as trust, fidelity, jealousy, temper issues, sharing common goals, etc. Thus, it’s well worth learning how to fight with your relationships partner the right way.

Learning how to argue and fight in a way that would not be harmful to your relationship (but could even be beneficial) is an important step toward strengthening the relationship and making it prosper rather than allowing it to be destroyed by a few fights that could and should be resolved. Here are three simple, basic rules that you should follow or do your best to follow when you find yourself fighting with your relationship partner:

1. If the criticism that comes from your partner towards you is deserved or even in part deserved, address the subject of the criticism instead of going off on the tangent and getting defensive by criticizing your partner back about something completely different and unrelated. For instance, if your partner seems to be upset with you because he/she thinks you are not as generous as they think you should be, don’t tell them that they are also cheap. Instead, talk about your spending habits and see where the differences in your expectations of handling finances lie. You should definitely not attack your partner by criticizing something completely unrelated about them, such as the way he/she cooks or cleans, his/her body, style, etc… This will do nothing good to your argument and will only fuel the fire of anger, which is in turn likely to make it even wrose and turn that smaller fight into a far more personal and nasty experience. toward each other when it can and should be easily avoiding by focusing on just one issue alone.

2. Don’t threaten to leave your partner or break up unless you really mean it, or unless it’s absolutely necessary to demonstrate  how angry you are about the subject of the fight. Usually, it’s not a good idea and it should be the very last, if at all, resort. No one likes to be threatened. No one enjoys having ultimatums imposed on them, so telling the other person that you are about to leave will hardly resolve the conflict. It is likely to both show your lack of commitment to the relationship and working through the problems you might have, and it will also further antagonize your partner further. Besides, if you intend to threaten your partner that you will leave, you better be ready for the possible “go ahead and leave” on their part.

3. Don’t bring up past arguments that were settled into your present problems. There is nothing worse than a feeling that your partner brings up things that you thought were settled and for which you apologized for. When you bring up things from the past that you got over, it’s a sign of resentment towards your partner which should be a red flag to you and the other person. If you are not over a certain issue from the past, you should bring it up earlier and on a separate occasion. If you say that you are over it today, but then later you bring it up again – how can you partner believe you in the future that you truly forgave when you say you did. For instance, fighting about who will be doing the laundry or clean the kitchen should not the occasion where you bring up the fact that your partner has cheated on you 5 years ago. This will not help in anyway to resolve you relative mundane conflict, but is likely to bring up a lot of other issues that have no place in the present argument and would likely be counterproductive.

The above three rules of “clean” fighting in a relationship will not guarantee that you will be able to solve every fight and every argument, but these are very basic steps that you must take in order to handle conflicts in a way that would allow you to move past them, when your relationship is well worth working through these problems for the sake of the bigger picture – your mutual love.

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Practical, effective dating tips and relationship advice.
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5 years ago

I have a question, but it does not relate to this article. Would it be okay to post it here?

5 years ago
Reply to  StarsCollide

Sure, as long as it’s relevant (i.e relating to dating, relationships, etc…)

5 years ago
Reply to  practicalh

Well of course! 🙂

Well, I am not really sure if it does relate to dating/relationships, but, have you heard of men who have an incredible masculine energy? It radiates from his body so strong and full of presence.

5 years ago
Reply to  StarsCollide

Sure. It’s quite subjective however – what might seem to masculine to some women, might not look that way to others, but… isn’t that what some movies, including James Bond, and the old John Wayne / Clint Eastwood movies are about – showing that masculine energy?

5 years ago

A blessing in disguise.

11 years ago

Relationship is a way of relating it’s a process. It is always changing and always moving.Everything in life needs to grow and contribute. When you stop moving and changing you begin to die.

You are either in a relationship or not in a relationship, intimately speaking. If you’re not in one that is probably because you have mix emotions towards it or your just a loser and can't get a date! hehe j/k Let me give you the good news!You’re going to get hurt! And sometimes you’re probably going to hurt the other person with out meaning to. That’s the nature of life you can’t have joy with out having a little pain sometimes.That’s like you asking for a rainbow with out the storm. Find a way to appreciate the storm because you’re going to learn a lotfromit. If you’re in a relationship two thing can happened. One, you either want more of it or two, you want out of it.

Most of us doesn’t respond with the moment we respond to our past. One of the secrets to a great relationship is the understanding that THIS IS NOT THAT! Each person deserves a fresh slate. What misses up all the relationship is walking in it with all these wounds.So the problem is not the relationship, but the condition that you’re bringing in the relationship. (Bringing the past)

So next time you get upset try asking “What else could this mean?” Don’t try to hurt the other person because when you do, you hurt yourself. Relationship is about unity not about how we can punish each other. One of the biggest challenges I found in a relationship is MOST PEOPLE WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE LOVED.

The Purpose of a relationship is to magnify the human experience. IT IS A PLACE TO GIVE NOT A PLACE TO GET. If you’re going in a relationship, thinking what you’re going to get out of it, it’s no longer a relationship, but a TRANSACTION. I've been in a couple of "transactions" myself , but that's another subject for another time 🙂 hehehe

The more rules you have the more pain you’ll have. The primary fears the create stress in a relationship is the fear that we are not enough and the fear that we are not loved. The way you make your relationship work is you have to create a great relationship with yourself. You first have to learn to love yourself. If your going in a relationship to get that, instead of giving that love. Then you’re going to be with two people that are starving trying to take each others food. To me that is the definition of HELL. All that you are looking for is already inside you. So start working on it!!

If you’re going to get anything out of this, this is it, KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED! NO MATTER WHAT! It is a very powerful belief to have once you understand it.


11 years ago

In my situation, I'm female and I have a boyfriend who I have been with for 2 years now. My boyfriend believes fighting isn't a natural thing when we do it once a month. We just got into a bad fight a couple days ago and it seems like it's been the same kind of fight like we always have. I try to ask him to come inside and talk it over but he never wants to in that situation when we're angry at each other.

By the time we talk it out with each other, it seems like we had our whole conversation go in one ear and out the other. We continuously fight over the same things and I also myself have been quite uncontrollably physical with my boyfriend every time I get angry at him. There were times where I would hit him as in "slap" him because of things he did to upset me or annoy me. He hates when I do that to him. I feel like I'm making this worse and every time I do something like that, like out of no where when he's trying to piss me off and we haven't started arguing yet, but when I hit him, everything goes down hill from there. Then an argument comes by and we start screaming at each other, throwing and twisting words around, not listening to anything what each other has to say. I regret it all from the start and I wish I could control myself and make him want to talk things out with me.

Especially like yesterday, when I was very stressed out over school, I warned him about when he sees me that I might be grumpy or depressed or even annoyed. But apparently that didn't matter to him that much and then after he tried annoying me, that's when I slapped him and he told me to not do that, so I stopped. He was so angry at me after that, we started arguing in the car and I started screaming to the top of my lungs, once again.

I want to prove to him that arguing is making me feel miserable and I never meant to hurt him and that he should have understood I was in a bad mood at the time and if I ever did something like that again, he should probably instead try to calm me down, sit me down and let me relax. Having him comfort me and tell me that I shouldn't hit him and that he loves me, etc. Showing affection to me probably would be a better choice for us when I'm in that situation of breaking down.

He needs to stop running away from the situation.

He admitted he doesn't have patience or empathy when I'm in that situation. When I'm overwhelmed, he gets overwhelmed. It just doesn't work. I need him to work on that because as I said comforting will make things better. If he could just try not to get so caught up in all my stress maybe things would be better for the both of us. One of us has to think differently, we shouldn't be at each other's throats in every argument we have.

Every argument leads to me saying, let's break up half the time because we're always screaming at each other and I get sick of it because we don't want to hear what each other is saying.

He wants to avoid the situation and talk about it later where as I would like to talk it over right in the middle of the situation…

I guess maybe his idea is better, but I still think if one of us is freaking out, the other should help and do something to make them feel better and not get overwhelmed by it.

What's your opinion? Please no negative responses, I am just curious and I really need help making my relationship work. We both love each other to death but he doesn't like dealing with fights, I wish he could. How can I convince him? Do you think that comforting the person is a good idea? I mean I am easily calmed down when he hugs and holds me when I cry, I wish he could do that when he sees me freaking out.