It's natural. Two people meet, fall in love, become "social media official," and then, get into arguments. Any partnership is going to have conflicts because with great love comes great expectations for how a relationship ought to be. Meet any couple who have been together over ten years and they can tell story after story of the epic blowouts that have marked their lives.
Fighting doesn't mean that you are failing at the relationship. It means you're trying to figure out how to succeed. The key to being able to work through your differences is to communicate your grievances by following these all-important rules of respect: Be assertive. Respond kindly. Take the other person's perspective into account. Use reflective listening strategies. Never interrupt. Look them in the eye. Do not think about your response while they are talking. Have an idea of how you want to change the situation in the future. Be understanding of your specific partner in this specific situation.
Then, if you're human like the rest of us, you yell because, you know, life.
In all honestly, one of the most positive pieces of relationship advice I have heard is to talk about your pet peeves before you reach your breaking point. The following list is a quick look at the most common fights that couples will have - and five tried and true strategies to not just survive the fight, but thrive in your relationship!
20 Who's Sleep Is More Important?
New parents or not, sleep deprivation occurs with children of all ages. Bringing home your new bundle of joy quickly becomes a vampire life filled with late night feedings and diaper changes. As your baby grows into a child, this sleep deprivation changes too. Now, all of a sudden, you have a five-year-old who has a nightmare who wants to crawl into bed with you. When they become teenagers, you restlessly look at the clock as they are out with friends and hope that your child has learned right from wrong.
There's no getting out of sleep deprivation as a parent.
With little sleep and high tensions from constantly being needed to nurture and care for your child, the atmosphere is ripe for arguments. According to The New York Times, "Couples were more likely to be hostile when both partners were functioning on less than seven hours of sleep. Notably, the couples with more than seven hours of sleep still argued with each other, but the tone of their conflict was different."
Who has time to get seven hours of sleep when the children are asking to watch TV at two in the morning? All I know is that it's easy to demand that your spouse take care of your child at midnight, and vice versa. Cue the argument.
19 The Rollercoaster Of Emotions That Is Being A Woman
For all new parents, the first few months after bringing home the baby can be really tough. Not only do you have this new, very demanding person in your house but mom is also going through a lot of hormonal changes. Mom and dad are tired, sleep is a thing of the past, and your routine and schedule are pretty much nonexistent.
The changes in a woman's hormone levels during and after pregnancy often cause her to be very warm all the time. He will likely want to keep the windows closed, while she will want the windows open, fan on, or air conditioning on full blast. Something as basic as feeling constant discomfort in your own home for one partner or the other can create tension.
Not only will her hormones affect her body temperature, but they will also affect her emotions. One moment mom will be laughing, then crying, then yelling, then laughing again, and all of it is completely normal. In all fairness, mom did just carry a tiny human in her stomach for nine months and then had to push it out. She's completely allowed to be hormonal.
Couples often recall fighting about little dumb things because both were exhausted and the woman is trying to get her old hormonal balance back. Hang in there, it will all go back to normal eventually.
18 Testosterone Can Be A Relationship Ender
Men who have excessive amounts of testosterone might have a more difficult time maintaining healthy, long-term relationships. According to Psychology Today, "Multiple lines of research suggest that low levels of testosterone are associated with established relationships. While it seems to facilitate sexual unions, high levels of the hormone have also been linked to difficulties with nurturing relationships. Indeed, a slew of studies has demonstrated that men and women in committed and monogamous relationships tend to have lower testosterone levels by comparison to their single counterparts."
Testosterone is linked to increased aggression and sex drive, which is counter-productive to the nurturing abilities necessary to parenthood and marriage.
His hormones can contribute to an increase in arguments within a relationship, and they often will surge in varying cycles throughout the month in a similar pattern to female hormones. Emotions can be difficult to deal with when hormone levels are stable. Yet, with this variation coming at the same time as the pregnancy and postpartum hormone rollercoasters, fights will definitely be brewing!
The good news is once a man has a child, his testosterone level decreases dramatically. That is excellent, because that's one of the times when mom's hormones are at their most volatile!
17 Keeping Tabs On Who Does More
A marriage means that you have to give up time, energy, and money without any real guarantee that you will get a return on your investment. When a partner asks a favor, they often keep tabs on whether their partner follows through, even though there may be legitimate reasons why their partner may fall short. Unrealistic expectations are a relationship killer.
Parents rely on each other a lot when it comes to favors, which is to be expected in a marriage. One partner may ask the other to make a run to the pharmacy or a last minute food pickup. Relationships are a give and take process. The rub comes into play when the balance of work seems to shift too far in the direction of one parent over the other.
Couples will argue that they were the one to do the last load of laundry or that they have spent more time watching soccer practices. We all have busy lives, which makes it even more of a strain when it comes to time management within our relationships. As we have children, the time management factor comes even more into play as we try to navigate not just our own relationship errand balance, but our kids' activities balance as well.
16 I'm Too Tired Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow?
Too much or too little - nookie is one of those areas where matching libidos is like searching for a needle in the Sahara Desert. I've heard tales of magical couples who get together once a week and both feel completely satisfied and intimate every time, without needing anything more than their scheduled interlude to be content in their intimate lives. Matching libidos is the unicorn of relationships.
It's normal to wax and wane in our romantic relationships with our partners.
Sometimes there is great bounty and all the chandeliers in your house have broken from you wild things swinging off of them. Other times, it seems like you haven't had a 100-word conversation with your lover in over a week.
The key to overcoming this sexual frustration is to recognize that it's normal and to talk about it. The stakes are very high in this area as many people have been known to step out on their partner rather than step up and say they are dissatisfied with the status quo. Don't be afraid to be direct; as long as you are talking about it, then you know that you are working on it. You need to acknowledge a problem to fix it!
15 Don't Say That In Front Of The Kids!
"Mommy said a bad word!"
Kids are the worst little snitches in the world. Just when you think that you're going to get away with something, the kid will run to the other parent with all the power that stems from their inability to keep a secret.
Most couples will disagree about how to raise their theoretical or real children. Is it okay to cuss in front of them? Should we spank our kids? When is an appropriate age to date? Is it okay to let our son wear a dress if he wants to? When can we bring up the birds and the bees? Should we give them an allowance? What's a suitable bedtime? Do we buy them cell phones? How much screen time is reasonable for a child?
On and on and on the questions go to the point that it really is impossible to come up with a hypothetical scenario for every parenting decision you will one day have to make. There will be game-day calls that your significant other will disagree with. There will also be times when you do something in front of your child that you will regret (like that fit of road rage the other day). Whatever the situation might be, prepare for some intense conversations with your significant other about your behavior as a parent.
14 I Was Saving That!
No one likes to come home and find the soda they were saving has magically disappeared while their partner was home. There have been times my husband has physically swiped away my hand as I reached into his basket of fries, unannounced. The last piece of cake? My fruit cup? The yogurt I was going to use for a smoothie? It doesn't matter.
No matter how much you love a person, our primitive natures take over when it comes to our favorite foods in particular.
Even though you are a loving couple, the urge to share your most favorite treats is relatively nonexistent after a long day at work. In the blissful, early days of a relationship, you may have shared everything off of each other's plates and operated under a "what's mine is yours" mentality. You can tell when a couple's relationship has reached a new level of maturity when there's about to be a WWE smackdown because the Snicker's bar in the freezer went missing.
There are some things in life money can't buy, and the fulfilled anticipation of a Klondike bar is one of them. For those young couples who haven't reached this level in your relationship ... be patient. You will.
13 Are You Ignoring My Texts?
We've all ignored a text or two, whether it was from mom, a boss, or - gasp - our significant other. During the early days in a relationship, the phone is glued to your hand waiting for your love interest to send a flirty text or write a post on social media. I've seen more than my fair share of coworkers flip through their messages when the boss stepped out.
Since we spend so much of our time nurturing these new, budding relationships, it's natural to suddenly wonder: why aren't they responding to my text? There's the "I was in a meeting" excuse, the "My phone's dead" excuse, or the "Sorry, babe, I just forgot" excuse. Of course, you don't want to be seen as the crazed girlfriend who demands to know where her man is every second of the day, so you accept whatever reason he offers for why he blew you off.
Then, you see the status update. If he posted to social media, then he definitely saw the text message asking him if he was free after work. The questions begin ... is he ignoring you? Does he not want to see you? What's going on?
God forbid he was tagged in a picture with another female when he was blowing you off, because then the gloves are officially off.
12 Seriously, Get Off The Computer.
I like cuddles. They're nice. When I'm wrapped in my man's arms it's like nothing else matters in the world and I can let all the stresses of the world fall away.
Oh, but that computer too often sits between me and the wonderful bear hug I have been looking forward to all day. And folks, any sane person who loves the person they are with wants to spend time with them.
Having a computer bear-hug-block you is a situation ripe for a "talk."
There always seems to be a new expansion of a computer game that resets rankings. Either that, or there's a work project or report that absolutely must get done tonight. No matter whether it's for pleasure or the old grindstone, spending too much time on the computer can be a relationship killer. I've known more than my fair share of ladies who talk about the men they've dumped because of their addiction to those virtual worlds.
Hopefully an argument would never get so dire, but know that you are not alone if it has. Especially for relationships among millennials and Generation Z, there is an ongoing battle for attention in a relationship between a partner and their phone, tablet or computer.
Free piece of relationship advice: put the phone down and seriously get off the computer. Give your loved one a bear hug just to say "I love you." It'll make them happy because, hey, they love you.
11 Honey, Do The Dishes!
It's not about the dishes. It's the lack of contribution to basic household chores that would make any roommate's blood boil. Add in the "significant other" component into this dynamic, and be prepared for a confrontation about "equitable household management."
When I was 20, I moved into a house with three other women to split the rent. Our landlord was overseas, so she hired a house manager to take care of the upkeep around the house. Before the big move-in day, he had us all meet together to establish house rules. He shared some interesting stories about previous tenets, but when it came time to talk about the three of us moving in together, he had one solid piece of advice.
"Do your own dishes."
He paused for dramatic effect - which I definitely thought was melodramatic - and then continued to say that he had seen best friends ruin their relationships because of a failure to clean up their own dishes. Like I said, it seemed a little melodramatic to ruin a friendship over a sink full of dishes, but now that I've lived a little, I can see the wisdom in his words. When I got married, there was more than one time I wished my husband had been there for that piece of advice from our house manager.
This one is another bonus "How to survive" your relationship, folks. Do your own dishes.
10 Who's Picking Up The Kids?
If you are a working couple that one day plans on having kids, your lives are going to need a master calendar to keep track of everyone. No one wants to forget little Simon at swim practice and get a call from the coach asking if anyone is coming to pick him up.
It's not that we don't value our kids or don't want to spend time with them, but after a long day of work, you better believe all I want to do is crash in front of the TV and take a second to collect myself. Most likely, your partner will want to do the same thing. None of this will help little Simon get to swim practice and back.
At some point, you and your partner will get into an - almost - silent argument in front of the kids about who is taking them to their extracurricular activity.
It'll be more of an eye-argument, both of you silently pleading and threatening the other to man up and make the 30-minute drive in rush hour traffic for the good of your child. It's not that you wouldn't be willing to take your child to the moon and back -- that is if you had a full night's sleep, plus a nap, and no responsibilities to tend to throughout the day.
Exhaustion is one of the greatest threats to relationship harmony. Be ready to argue about almost anything when you are a sleep-deprived bear.
9 We Should Save Your Bonus Check... Or Should We?
Pay down debt or go to Myrtle Beach? That is the eternal question. Finances are one of the most common arguments between couples who are considering a long-term investment in one another. Be prepared for the side-eye from your partner when you go grocery shopping with your credit card after spending almost your entire paycheck on exercise equipment.
The financial disagreements don't only stem from using credit cards or going on vacation. They will also surface when deciding on housing when you move in together, how fancy of a restaurant you should go to on the weekend, or whether you really need to buy a new refrigerator. Every person has their own set of unwritten priorities on which they are willing to spend money.
For example, I consider it a necessity to purchase Starbucks when I need to complete a major project at work. This is a non-negotiable expense because I know that it will make me more efficient and, overall, happier. My husband, on the other hand, sees it as six dollars thrown out of the window when we have a perfectly good coffee-maker at home.
The argument might not necessarily be about "money," but it will definitely be about what to buy and when to buy it.
8 I Just Cleaned This!
It is a terrible feeling spending a solid thirty minutes cleaning the kitchen to see it completely destroyed in a matter of hours.
Most people have a specific thing that they can't stand to clean multiple times. For me, my kitchen is a place where I think a person can manage to put away their own food and plates. For my husband, I know it drives him up the walls when he turns off all of the light switches and I absentmindedly turn them all back on.
Everyone has a pet peeve that is waiting in the corner, ready to start an argument.
One of the hardest parts of an "I just cleaned this" argument is that if feels like a level of disrespect has gone into the act, although it is most likely only a lack of insight. Cleanliness is a disagreement that haunts college roommates, siblings, and parent-child relationships. A romantic relationship is not immune to its clutches.
The number one argument in our house is over cleanliness. There is a giant difference in acceptable standards of living within our partnership. You also better believe that we use those five strategies at the end of this article to help get through this very specific dichotomy of perspective!
7 I Just Need Some Me Time Right Now.
Taking "me time" doesn't seem like it would be something a couple would fight over. It's healthy, it reinforces the concept of self-care, and it allows for the couple to maintain their individual identities. Speaking from experience, the issue of "me time" isn't really an issue until kids enter the picture.
Sure, I need "me time." I would give my right kidney and half a lung to sit around and bask in the coffee-house glory of my college days where all I had was "me time." Okay, I wouldn't really, but it is a thought that I have had on occasion! When you're a parent, there is no "me time." There is potty-training time. There is doing a sixth load of laundry time. There is telling everyone to quiet down time, and giving up because it's never going to be quiet again time.
If - in some unforeseen circumstance - one parent manages to sneak away and leaves the other parent with the kids, the chores, the scheduling, the fixing the vacuum cleaner, and the unmade dinner, then there will be an argument. Betting against that would be like betting that you could perform your own successful surgery.
6 You Went Out Again With The Guys Last Night!
There seems to be a running theme throughout many of these sections, and that is the theme of "time loss." Time is something that can never be regained. Sure, you might argue about a bonus check, but finances are - usually - replaceable. When time is lost with a significant other, the loss seems personal and you can't help but feel a wave of reproach wash over you.
A partner who spends more time with their friends than with their significant other needs to re-evaluate their priorities.
A partner should be your best friend, unless you hope to one day enter a marriage of convenience which focuses only on being able to pay the bills and not truly interact with your mate. Maintaining a relationship and a household (if you're at that life stage) takes a lot of work and work takes time. If you're out with your friends, then you're not putting in the work or the time.
Where are you spending your time? How much of your day is spent with your partner or actively trying to improve the communication with your partner? The answer to that question will reveal more about the health of your marriage than possibly any other indicator.
5 HOW TO SURVIVE - Write That Text To Yourself First
We have all been guilty of the rash text or message sent in the heat of the moment. With the power of technology, there's hardly time to process exactly why we feel so angry and hurt before we shout all that emotion to social media. Trust me, Auntie May does not need to know about your relationship frustrations. Plus, it undermines the basic trust that exists between you and your partner as a couple.
So, what's an angry person to do? Write that text you want to send your partner. Then, text it to yourself. Reading something on the receiving end is completely different than on the writer's end. If it's a rant on social media you just need to get off of your chest, write it all out. Then, post it with the "only viewable by me" option on. Let it sit there for a while in your feed and then see how you feel about your coworkers and the parents from your daycare seeing all of your business. I bet the tone will change even if the message is the same, and tone can make all of the difference in a relationship. Remember to take a deep breath and be sure that you're directing your anger at the right person, for the right reason.
4 HOW TO SURVIVE - Roll Your Tongue
Is it really that serious? Sometimes having to mop the floor an hour later because your significant other dragged muddy shoes throughout the house can be downright infuriating.
If you and your partner are already on the rocks, take a minute and ask yourself: is this muddy shoe fight the hill I want to die on?
Pick your battles. The way my grandmother puts it, roll your tongue. For someone with a fiery Irish and Italian heritage, this is about as impossible as telling me to grow wings and fly. Yet, if you take a deep breath and just walk away for a moment, you can really ask yourself whether your partner was really being inconsiderate or merely tired and a little oblivious. If your partner truly cares about you, then they aren't going to try to intentionally hurt your feelings.
No one wants to see their loved one angry. Most of the time you can chalk up your partner's actions to not being aware of your expectations. So, the next time you feel like lashing out and getting into a verbal brawl, take a moment. Is this conversation a priority that will lead to the betterment of your relationship?
3 HOW TO SURVIVE - Talk Through Differences Multiple Times
It's hard to get into too big of a fight if you're walking along the riverwalk or doing yard work. Sometimes the most effective way to bring up a charged subject is to do so while your partner is just a little bit distracted. Introduce the topic several different times while you are both doing something else so that your significant other has time to process what you're trying to say before having a real "talk."
If you're upset that he hasn't picked up your phone calls for a few days after work, the next time the both of you are together, simply mention, "I miss not talking to you after you get off of work." Say it calmly. Don't attack your partner. Explaining things from an "I" perspective helps to keep a situation neutral and will help prevent your partner becoming defensive. Look for a conversation rather than a confrontation. Obviously, old habits die hard, but if you explain why you get angry about certain things, your partner is more likely to be empathetic and want to avoid upsetting you.
Of course, if they keep doing it because of inattention, point it out. They were probably in automatic mode. Pointing it out shows them that whatever you're talking about is a real life issue.
2 HOW TO SURVIVE - Take A Time Out
It's something we learned in grade school, but it's a strategy that works well whether you're two or 52. When you know you are going to lose your cool, give yourself a time out. Physically leave the situation and find a calm place to collect yourself. No, it doesn't have to be a chair in the corner either.
Simply take some time to realize that turning into Hulk-wife isn't something that you particularly enjoy.
It's okay if you need to turn off your phone for a few hours and let the argument leave your mind as you focus on work or friends. Ignoring the problem long-term is unhealthy; taking a break to regroup your thoughts and figure out the most appropriate step forward is smart.
To make a relationship survive long-term, you need to take time for yourself and maintain your own, separate identity. Have hobbies you do without your partner. Go out with friends without your partner. Watch TV shows you like without your partner. It's okay to be two different people with differing interests. Even though you might want to spend every waking hour enjoying each other's company, taking a break to do something just for you will keep the pair of you from getting sick of each other. It's also not realistic to expect one person to do all the things that you want to do all of the time. By taking a break and pursuing something you enjoy, you give your relationship space to grow by finding new things you and your partner want to do together.
1 HOW TO SURVIVE - Have Fun Together
On the other hand, it's important to invest time in your relationship by doing things that you both enjoy. When my husband and I were first dating, we went swing dancing at a downtown club. I had gone a few times and was comfortable with the people and the constant rotation of partners. My husband was a good sport and danced because it made me happy.
We've never gone swing dancing again, but the fact that he tried it meant a lot to me. Who knows, it could of been the hobby that we both fell passionately in love with. We could have unknowingly started a journey to becoming international swing dancing champions. Hey, you never know until you try!
The way to survive the rocky, argument filled times in a partnership is to remember why you became partners in the first place. There was a time when all you could think about was this other person. Look to rekindle that fire. Go skydiving. Try a new restaurant. Go on a tried-and-true favorite date. Watch a TV show you both enjoy. Whatever you do, do it to have fun and simply enjoy the company of the person you fell in love with.