It sucks, but it’s true: fighting is just a part of relationships. No matter how long you’ve been with your S/O and how much you care about each other, arguments are going to come up, especially if you’re married or live together. It’s impossible to spend so much time with a person and not run into things to fight about — and fighting is actually really healthy for your relationship. If you didn’t fight, how would you work through important issues? How would you ever find common ground on things you disagree on? But certain kinds of fights aren’t healthy, and sometimes, they mean it might be better if you went your separate ways.
As awesome as your relationship might be, it definitely takes work to share your life with someone. But sometimes, disagreeing about fundamental things — or a bad side of your partner coming out only when you argue — can be a serious red flag. In order for you to be in a healthy relationship, you have to be able to fight in a healthy way, and when that line is crossed, it’s hard to come back from.
Feel like your fights with your S/O might be entering deal breaker territory? Here are a few issues in your fights you should look out for:
4. You’re Not Fighting Fair
If you’re going to argue in a healthy way, you need to fight fair. That means no name calling, no bringing up the past, and no putting each other down. You should use this time to constructively share your feelings and attack the problem head on, because it’s not you vs. your partner — it’s you and your partner vs. the problem. If you find that you or your partner is dishing out low blows when you fight, that’s a sign one of you might be feeling contempt for each other, and that’s a really bad sign.
“Everybody has angry moments, but when you begin to feel contempt for your partner, that’s a clear sign that something needs to change,” Dr. Amie M. Gordon told Psychology Today. “It’s the feeling that you are better than your partner, and it comes out when you make derisive comments with the intention of being insulting. If you are calling your partner names, mocking your partner, and being sarcastic or rolling you eyes at him or her, you are likely feeling contempt.”
3. You’re Disagreeing About An Important Part Of Your Lives Or Future
If you’re dating someone and considering spending the rest of your life with them (whether marriage is involved or not), you need to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to big life stuff — or at least living inside the same book. That means that disagreeing about major things that could lead to resentment down the line might be a sign it’s time to move on. A prime example is when one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t; there’s no way to compromise on something like that.
Other big life stuff you should probably agree on? As licensed psychologist Dr. Jessie D. Matthews told Bustle, areas you should discuss and (hopefully) agree on are money, what you want out of a relationship, how to communicate with each other, and what you want the future to look like, including where you live and, yes, whether or not you have children.
2. One Or Both Of You Are Unwilling To Compromise
You can’t have a relationship without compromise — sorry, it’s true. That means if you’re having a big argument and either you or your partner refuse to meet in the middle to solve the issue, it may not bode well for your future. In order for your argument to be productive, you both need to be actively working toward a solution, and that means having respect for your partner’s opinion, even though it’s different from yours.
“Put yourself in her shoes and consider her personality,” Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, said on his website. “Seek to understand why she interprets situations the way she does. Don’t argue; instead, acknowledge that her thoughts are valid. After these things, look for a resolution that both of you can agree on. You will probably disagree on things for the rest of your marriage, but they do not have to become stumbling blocks.”
1. Nothing You Fight About Is Improving — And You’re Fighting About The Same Things
Having the same fight over and over again without any improvement is damaging, and so is being in a relationship where you always argue. If you find yourself fighting with your partner more often than not, it may be time to step back and see if it’s worth fighting for.
“At the end of the day, being honest with yourself about your expectations of life and your personal happiness should lead to the answer of staying or leaving,” marriage therapist Talia Wagner told Bustle.
It can be really hard to let go of a relationship that has become toxic, but if any of this sounds familiar to you, it might be time to reevaluate where you stand in your relationship… or make one last attempt to see if you can’t find a way to work things out. Don’t be afraid to fight with your S/O — just make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s fair to both of you and what you each want out of a relationship.