How to argue so you won’t damage your relationship

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How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

Posted By: jerminix October 16, 2017

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

All couples argue. Or at least all healthy couples do. Maybe your partner is running late for an event that’s important to you. Or he or she forgets to update you on their whereabouts, or has too many opposite sex friends, or forgot to bring you something after work. The list for conflict causers is endless.

But the best relationships are “thick” with arguments. It doesn’t matter what you argue about, but how you argue.

When you fight, you feel fear

Conflict carries a negative connotation. If your partner doesn’t agree with you, you may feel a sense of betrayal and lash out at them because you are hurt. Human nature dictates that when you are hurt or threatened you should retaliate. So most people retaliate by doing things that are irrational.

Some people give the silent treatment. They freeze their partner out by refusing to talk to them about anything. This is done vindictively and is different than taking a break to properly process their feelings.

Some disappear without checking in for hours or even days on end. They do this to cause the other partner to worry or fear that the relationship is over. It is a manipulative and hurtful tactic even though they don’t mean to do so.

Some attack their partner by name calling or belittling instead of focusing on the issue. They lash out and attack their partner’s character instead of the issue. This is fighting “dirty” and can really wound their partner.

Some people make the issue black or white with their point of view as right. This happens when someone refuses to be open-minded and consider their partner’s point of view. This greatly hinders negotiations.

Others bad mouthing their partner to their friends or even posting cryptic messages on social media. They unfairly color their relationship and their partner when they negatively publicize their issues. Having an outlet is good, but an unproductive outlet like Facebook is bad. And once you’ve said something bad about your partner, people remember what you’ve said.

Retaliation and negative behaviors like the ones listed above are driven by fear. Feeling fear is natural. People are fear that they aren’t good enough, or their partner isn’t good enough. The are also afraid that aren’t worthy of being loved and that they will lose their partner.

Love could be a scary thing. Opening yourself up to love and entering an intimate relationship is risky. But anything worth having is worth the risk. When you are truly in love, you open yourself up and become vulnerable. You are exposed and subject to being hurt.

How to fight right

The key to healthily handling conflicts that arise in your relationship is to respond constructively—with love and logic. And work to avoid knee-jerk fear-based reactions.

Conflict is inevitable. Instead of waiting for it to arise and dealing with it on the fly, it is far more productive to take a proactive, intentional approach to dealing with conflict. While you can’t anticipate the nature of the argument, you can plan a tactical response. This is how to constructively deal with conflict with your partner next time:

1. Work to control your response

In lieu of flying off the handle and laying into your partner, take a moment to check your emotions and gather your thoughts. When you feel anger and other negative emotions begin to bubble toward the surface, take a break and calm yourself down.

You are allowed to feel how you feel. Your feelings are valid and legitimate. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be expressed at that moment. Your feelings will change and fluctuate, it’s important to understand how you truly feel (at least to some extent) and why before you discuss.

2. Watch your mouth

Once you’ve had a chance to process and sort through your emotions, then you are ready to share your feelings with your partner.

When discussing the issue, be open and honest about your feelings. Use “I feel” statements [1] and try to avoid negative “you” statements. Explain why you feel the way you do and allow your partner to ask clarifying questions. The key here is to discuss your emotions without giving into them. It’s tough, but it’s doable.

3. Don’t run away or avoid conflict

Avoiding or refusing to deal with conflict doesn’t make it go away. Avoiding issues will turn molehills into mountains, and everything becomes a huge fight.

The primary goal in any conflict is to resolve it. But there are other underlying benefits to addressing conflicts even when resolution is not possible. Make your partner feel heard, valuable, special and loved is far more important than any temporary dispute. Stay and fight fair.

4. Accept your differences

More often than not, there may not be a clear right or wrong answer. Although your viewpoints may be on the opposite end of the spectrum, they both are valid and worth considering.

In some cases, after you’ve hashed out how both of you feel in a calm and rational manner, you may have to agree to disagree. Reaching an impasse can feel like a complete waste of time initially, but going through the process of trying to resolve the conflict will strengthen the relationship long-term. Although a resolution isn’t reached, both parties leave the discussion feeling heard, validated and valued. Everybody wins.

5. Choose your confidants wisely

Discussing the issue with someone else is a great way to gain a different perspective on the issue. The danger with talking to a third party is they could offer advice that could exacerbate the situation. When choosing a relationship confidant, make sure they know you well, have your best interest at heart, are objective and will lovingly tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear.

Once you’ve gotten good solid advice and have had a chance to reevaluate your position, go back and readdress the issue with your partner.

Fight to improve, not to damage

It’s normal for a couple to quarrel from time to time—it comes with the territory. Conflicts and arguments themselves don’t jeopardize a relationship. How you chose to respond does.

Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let them go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time.

Conflict gives you and your partner the opportunity to identify issues, address them, improve yourselves and the relationship and move on. All couples fight. Successful couples fight right.

All couples argue. Or at least all healthy couples do. Maybe your partner is running late for an event that’s important to you. Or he or she forgets to update you on their whereabouts, or has too many opposite sex friends, or forgot to bring you something after work. The list for conflict causers is endless.

But the best relationships are “thick” with arguments. It doesn’t matter what you argue about, but how you argue.

When you fight, you feel fear

Conflict carries a negative connotation. If your partner doesn’t agree with you, you may feel a sense of betrayal and lash out at them because you are hurt. Human nature dictates that when you are hurt or threatened you should retaliate. So most people retaliate by doing things that are irrational.

Some people give the silent treatment. They freeze their partner out by refusing to talk to them about anything. This is done vindictively and is different than taking a break to properly process their feelings.

Some disappear without checking in for hours or even days on end. They do this to cause the other partner to worry or fear that the relationship is over. It is a manipulative and hurtful tactic even though they don’t mean to do so.

Some attack their partner by name calling or belittling instead of focusing on the issue. They lash out and attack their partner’s character instead of the issue. This is fighting “dirty” and can really wound their partner.

Some people make the issue black or white with their point of view as right. This happens when someone refuses to be open-minded and consider their partner’s point of view. This greatly hinders negotiations.

Others bad mouthing their partner to their friends or even posting cryptic messages on social media. They unfairly color their relationship and their partner when they negatively publicize their issues. Having an outlet is good, but an unproductive outlet like Facebook is bad. And once you’ve said something bad about your partner, people remember what you’ve said.

Retaliation and negative behaviors like the ones listed above are driven by fear. Feeling fear is natural. People are fear that they aren’t good enough, or their partner isn’t good enough. The are also afraid that aren’t worthy of being loved and that they will lose their partner.

Love could be a scary thing. Opening yourself up to love and entering an intimate relationship is risky. But anything worth having is worth the risk. When you are truly in love, you open yourself up and become vulnerable. You are exposed and subject to being hurt.

How to fight right

The key to healthily handling conflicts that arise in your relationship is to respond constructively—with love and logic. And work to avoid knee-jerk fear-based reactions.

Conflict is inevitable. Instead of waiting for it to arise and dealing with it on the fly, it is far more productive to take a proactive, intentional approach to dealing with conflict. While you can’t anticipate the nature of the argument, you can plan a tactical response. This is how to constructively deal with conflict with your partner next time:

1. Work to control your responseHow to argue so you won't damage your relationship

In lieu of flying off the handle and laying into your partner, take a moment to check your emotions and gather your thoughts. When you feel anger and other negative emotions begin to bubble toward the surface, take a break and calm yourself down.

You are allowed to feel how you feel. Your feelings are valid and legitimate. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be expressed at that moment. Your feelings will change and fluctuate, it’s important to understand how you truly feel (at least to some extent) and why before you discuss.

2. Watch your mouth

Once you’ve had a chance to process and sort through your emotions, then you are ready to share your feelings with your partner.

When discussing the issue, be open and honest about your feelings. Use “I feel” statements 1 and try to avoid negative “you” statements. Explain why you feel the way you do and allow your partner to ask clarifying questions. The key here is to discuss your emotions without giving into them. It’s tough, but it’s doable.

3. Don’t run away or avoid conflictHow to argue so you won't damage your relationship

Avoiding or refusing to deal with conflict doesn’t make it go away. Avoiding issues will turn molehills into mountains, and everything becomes a huge fight.

The primary goal in any conflict is to resolve it. But there are other underlying benefits to addressing conflicts even when resolution is not possible. Make your partner feel heard, valuable, special and loved is far more important than any temporary dispute. Stay and fight fair.

4. Accept your differences

More often than not, there may not be a clear right or wrong answer. Although your viewpoints may be on the opposite end of the spectrum, they both are valid and worth considering.

In some cases, after you’ve hashed out how both of you feel in a calm and rational manner, you may have to agree to disagree. Reaching an impasse can feel like a complete waste of time initially, but going through the process of trying to resolve the conflict will strengthen the relationship long-term. Although a resolution isn’t reached, both parties leave the discussion feeling heard, validated and valued. Everybody wins.

5. Choose your confidants wiselyHow to argue so you won't damage your relationship

Discussing the issue with someone else is a great way to gain a different perspective on the issue. The danger with talking to a third party is they could offer advice that could exacerbate the situation. When choosing a relationship confidant, make sure they know you well, have your best interest at heart, are objective and will lovingly tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear.

Once you’ve gotten good solid advice and have had a chance to reevaluate your position, go back and readdress the issue with your partner.

Fight to improve, not to damage

It’s normal for a couple to quarrel from time to time—it comes with the territory. Conflicts and arguments themselves don’t jeopardize a relationship. How you chose to respond does.

Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let them go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time.

Conflict gives you and your partner the opportunity to identify issues, address them, improve yourselves and the relationship and move on. All couples fight. Successful couples fight right.

All couples fight. It is a natural part of any relationship. You are, after all, sharing a life, a home, responsibilities, children, pets, finances, etc. But, there are unhealthy and healthy ways to argue. There are ways to air your grievances, increase understanding, and make changes, without causing resentment and bringing each other down.

What are some ways arguing can enhance your relationship, rather than damage it? How can happy couples fight healthier?

1.) Take Ownership

Arguments can be healthy ways to work through differences but they also can easily escalate, getting out of control. Take ownership of your feelings and your actions, rather than denying them. Your partner is likely the person you are most intimate with, the one you share your most personal moments with, so be honest. If you were late or made a mistake, admit it. Try not to get caught up in blaming your partner. If you hurt your partner’s feelings, apologize and own up to it. We all make mistakes and taking responsibility for our actions can quickly start to make your partner feel better.

2.) Avoid Nitpicking and Name Calling

Fights can easily escalate when we pick at every little thing the other partner has done to make us mad, bring up past events, or call each other names. Be kind to one another. Avoid hurtful words and focus on the here and now. What is this argument about? Not all the ones in the past. If there are issues that keep re-emerging, consider seeking help from a licensed relationship counselor.

3.) Communicate Triggers

What was it that set you off? Share it with your partner. The only way to make sure the same fight doesn’t continue to happen is to be open and talk through why the argument started in the first place. Were you mad that your partner was late for dinner? Was it because they were late, or was it because they decided to stop and meet a friend and didn’t tell you about it first? What is the deeper reason that caused you to get triggered? It might be hard to pinpoint at first but if you can communicate calmly you likely can get to the bottom of it either on your own or together. And, next time your partner can know how to avoid triggering you in an argument.

4.) Understand If It Was A Misunderstanding

Misunderstandings happen. We are all human. Maybe you thought your partner was going to the meet you for dinner but they ended up working late. Figure out where the misunderstanding occurred, accept it, forgive, move on. You can’t read each other’s minds. Misunderstanding are very common in relationships, this is why communication is key.

5.) Apologize Only If You Mean It

Apologizing for the sake of apologizing might seem the right thing to do, but don’t do it if it’s not authentic. It is meaningless if you don’t actually feel sorry. If you are really truly sorry then say so, but if you are not sorry then it is time to talk about why that might be. Couples counseling can help you work through these emotions and identify causes of hidden anger or resentment, so you can build a healthy relationship.

6.) Identify Solutions

Once you have calmed down from your argument, talk to each other about triggers and process the issues so that you don’t have the same fight again. Maybe you need a shared calendar so you both are on the same page with what you have going on. Or, maybe you need to schedule time in the day to have conversations. Maybe you need more date nights. Whatever it is that triggered the argument this time, come up with a solution or ways to prevent it so it doesn’t happen again.

Ultimately the two of you are a team. You are in this relationship together. You love and care for one another. Set ground rules for your arguments. Take the time to cool off. And, if you are struggling with how to fight healthy, seek help.

We are a group of skilled therapists specializing in couples/marriage counseling. Since Covid started we have been working with couples providing Online Couples Counseling in New York, New York City, Scarsdale, East Hampton, Buffalo, Albany, New Jersey, Hoboken, Jersey City, Princeton, Chatham, Morris, Westfield, Union, Bergen County, Millburn, Montgomery, Somerset, Colts Neck, Tenafly, Alpine, Ridgewood, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Franklin Lakes, Hillsdale, Glen Rock, Montvale, Mahwah, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramapo, Westwood, Glen Ridge, Rumson, Red Bank, Wayne, Little Falls, Hillsborough, Watchung, Summit, Springfield, Livingston, Montclair, Maplewood, Morristown, Berkeley Heights, Warren, Basking Ridge and Millstone. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE.

All couples argue. Or at least all healthy couples do. Maybe your partner is running late for an event that’s important to you. Or he or she forgets to update you on their whereabouts, or has too many opposite sex friends, or forgot to bring you something after work. The list for conflict causers is endless.

But the best relationships are “thick” with arguments. It doesn’t matter what you argue about, but how you argue.

When you fight, you feel fear

Conflict carries a negative connotation. If your partner doesn’t agree with you, you may feel a sense of betrayal and lash out at them because you are hurt. Human nature dictates that when you are hurt or threatened you should retaliate. So most people retaliate by doing things that are irrational.

Some people give the silent treatment. They freeze their partner out by refusing to talk to them about anything. This is done vindictively and is different than taking a break to properly process their feelings.

Some disappear without checking in for hours or even days on end. They do this to cause the other partner to worry or fear that the relationship is over. It is a manipulative and hurtful tactic even though they don’t mean to do so.

Some attack their partner by name calling or belittling instead of focusing on the issue. They lash out and attack their partner’s character instead of the issue. This is fighting “dirty” and can really wound their partner.

Some people make the issue black or white with their point of view as right. This happens when someone refuses to be open-minded and consider their partner’s point of view. This greatly hinders negotiations.

Others bad mouthing their partner to their friends or even posting cryptic messages on social media. They unfairly color their relationship and their partner when they negatively publicize their issues. Having an outlet is good, but an unproductive outlet like Facebook is bad. And once you’ve said something bad about your partner, people remember what you’ve said.

Retaliation and negative behaviors like the ones listed above are driven by fear. Feeling fear is natural. People are fear that they aren’t good enough, or their partner isn’t good enough. The are also afraid that aren’t worthy of being loved and that they will lose their partner.

Love could be a scary thing. Opening yourself up to love and entering an intimate relationship is risky. But anything worth having is worth the risk. When you are truly in love, you open yourself up and become vulnerable. You are exposed and subject to being hurt.

How to fight right

The key to healthily handling conflicts that arise in your relationship is to respond constructively—with love and logic. And work to avoid knee-jerk fear-based reactions.

Conflict is inevitable. Instead of waiting for it to arise and dealing with it on the fly, it is far more productive to take a proactive, intentional approach to dealing with conflict. While you can’t anticipate the nature of the argument, you can plan a tactical response. This is how to constructively deal with conflict with your partner next time:

1. Work to control your response

In lieu of flying off the handle and laying into your partner, take a moment to check your emotions and gather your thoughts. When you feel anger and other negative emotions begin to bubble toward the surface, take a break and calm yourself down.

You are allowed to feel how you feel. Your feelings are valid and legitimate. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be expressed at that moment. Your feelings will change and fluctuate, it’s important to understand how you truly feel (at least to some extent) and why before you discuss.

2. Watch your mouth

Once you’ve had a chance to process and sort through your emotions, then you are ready to share your feelings with your partner.

When discussing the issue, be open and honest about your feelings. Use “I feel” statements 1 and try to avoid negative “you” statements. Explain why you feel the way you do and allow your partner to ask clarifying questions. The key here is to discuss your emotions without giving into them. It’s tough, but it’s doable.

3. Don’t run away or avoid conflict

Avoiding or refusing to deal with conflict doesn’t make it go away. Avoiding issues will turn molehills into mountains, and everything becomes a huge fight.

The primary goal in any conflict is to resolve it. But there are other underlying benefits to addressing conflicts even when resolution is not possible. Make your partner feel heard, valuable, special and loved is far more important than any temporary dispute. Stay and fight fair.

4. Accept your differences

More often than not, there may not be a clear right or wrong answer. Although your viewpoints may be on the opposite end of the spectrum, they both are valid and worth considering.

In some cases, after you’ve hashed out how both of you feel in a calm and rational manner, you may have to agree to disagree. Reaching an impasse can feel like a complete waste of time initially, but going through the process of trying to resolve the conflict will strengthen the relationship long-term. Although a resolution isn’t reached, both parties leave the discussion feeling heard, validated and valued. Everybody wins.

5. Choose your confidants wisely

Discussing the issue with someone else is a great way to gain a different perspective on the issue. The danger with talking to a third party is they could offer advice that could exacerbate the situation. When choosing a relationship confidant, make sure they know you well, have your best interest at heart, are objective and will lovingly tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear.

Once you’ve gotten good solid advice and have had a chance to reevaluate your position, go back and readdress the issue with your partner.

Fight to improve, not to damage

It’s normal for a couple to quarrel from time to time—it comes with the territory. Conflicts and arguments themselves don’t jeopardize a relationship. How you chose to respond does.

Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let them go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time.

Conflict gives you and your partner the opportunity to identify issues, address them, improve yourselves and the relationship and move on. All couples fight. Successful couples fight right.

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

When relationships are good, they’re great. But when they’re bad, they have the potential to damage much more than your feels. In fact, when a relationship does more harm than good, it can wreck your self-esteem, alter the course of your life, and even lead you down a life path you end up regretting.

When I worked with individuals and couples as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I saw how how quickly a bad relationship had the ability to completely destroy a life. The women I worked with were on the extreme side of the fence — the ones who lost their homes, jobs, kids, and sanity at the hands of a violent abuser.

But just because a partner doesn’t hit you, or a relationship isn’t abusive, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. When you spend too much time in an unhealthy relationship, it starts to change you. There are signs everywhere that things are headed in a bad direction, but they’re hard to see from the inside. Friends and family might notice them before you.

If you don’t like the way a relationship has changed your life, you have every right to end it. If you feel unsafe or need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, whether for anonymous advice or for escape resources.

1. You’re Unhappy More Than Happy

No relationship is a marathon of joy. There are hard times and boring times and irritated times. But those times pass, and the relationship as a whole should bring you more happiness than pain. That constant undercurrent of unhappiness bleeds into all the other areas of your life. If you take a hard look at your relationship and realize you are unhappy a majority of the time, it’s time for some changes.

2. Your Friends Keep Complaining

Your friends know you. If they’re complaining that you’re not yourself, you’re never around, or that they’re worried about you, they’re probably at least a little bit correct. Abusers have a sly way of isolating their victims from their friends and family in ways that might not even become clear until everyone’s already gone. If your partner always has something negative to say, or always finds a way to keep you home when you want to go out, it’s a huge red flag.

3. You’re Completely Sidetracked

New love is totally blissful, and very distracting. When people get into new relationships, it’s not uncommon for work, school hobbies, and friends to take a back seat to this honeymoon period. But in a healthy relationship, eventually both partners get their lives back on track. If your relationship is still keeping you distracted to the point where your goals are in jeopardy, it might be a case of poor timing. If you can’t get your priorities in order, you may have to question your relationship.

4. You’re Not Yourself Anymore

Some people have the unhealthy habit of getting lost in their relationships. They stop doing the things they love and they lose interest in their own interests. They may take on their new partner’s interests, or the relationship might become their only interest. This type of behavior is co-dependent, and seriously problematic. It’s fine to give a big part of yourself to your partner, but you can’t give your whole self. Take stock of the things you used to love and make sure you’re still loving them, too.

5. You’re Being Abused

A lot of the people I worked with knew they were abused, but felt like love was worth everything, like love was all that mattered. People in abusive relationships have good times, feel deep love, and even miss each other. That makes it seem like there’s something worth saving. I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. Love is nothing without respect, safety, and trust. It’s hard to lose someone you love, and to accept the reality that your relationship isn’t good for you, but if you stay, there’s a chance your abuser could kill you. This is not hyperbole. It’s the truth.

6. You Don’t Have Boundaries

A relationship without boundaries is a ticking time bomb. Boundaries are kind of like lines in the sand. They let your partner know how you want to be treated, what you’re comfortable with, how you best argue, and so much more. If you have no boundaries, it’s likely you spend most of your time arguing, feeling upset or resentful, or worrying about the state of your relationship. This goes back to being happy more than being unhappy.

7. Your Partner Takes Advantage Of You

Are you dating an adult child? Do you do all the housework, take care of all the responsibilities, and make all the money while they do seemingly nothing? It’s difficult for you to focus on the things that make you happy when all of your physical and emotional energy goes into doing the work of living two people’s lives. I’m not talking about a loving couple where one partner has specific needs, and the other partner helps care for them. I’m talking about the toxic environment created when one adult enables another adult to avoid responsibility. It will ultimately take a toll on you until you reach a breaking point.

8. You Walk On Eggshells

Abuse isn’t just physical violence. If your partner uses anger and intimidation, even indirectly, to make you feel like you have to act a certain way, or be home at a certain time or you’ll get in trouble (whatever trouble may mean in your situation) then you’re in an abusive situation. No person should feel like a prisoner to the desires of another person, or a constant victim of their anger.

9. You’re Waiting For Them To Change

If you’re hanging out, waiting for your partner to change, you could be waiting forever. This waiting could be holding you back from something or someone really wonderful. Settling is never OK. It takes courage to leave an situation that’s totally fine, but just not satisfying for you, for whatever reason. We all change each other in relationships, but that’s only healthy when we love our partners whether they change or not. If you’re waiting for that magic day when your partner becomes who you wish they were, you’ll almost always be disappointed.

Remember, you never have to stay in a relationship, even a good one, if it’s not in your best interest, or if it’s getting in the way of your goals and happiness. Relationships aren’t the only thing in life.

Let’s be honest: Dating can be really tough. It’s sometimes almost impossible to know what another person is thinking, and even when someone tells you how they feel, there might still be ambiguity. I’ve certainly dated people and had no idea that they weren’t looking for a relationship until months in. If you’ve been in a similar situation, you may look back and wonder if you missed the signs someone’s not interested in a relationship with you. It’s not your fault this has happened, and these signs can often be unclear or non-existent. You don’t need to blame yourself for missing any clues, but it can be helpful to learn some of the more common signs, so I spoke to an expert to get the deets for you.

Sometimes people change their minds or don’t know what they want. I’ve slept with people casually who were so clear from the beginning that they didn’t want a relationship, but then later decided they wanted one. I’ve also gone on first dates where the guy brought up taking a weekend trip right away and then ghosted me. It can be really hard to read clues about relationships, and you have no reason to feel guilty about missing them. Additionally, these signs don’t necessarily mean someone is definitely disinterested in a relationship. Still, it might be important to keep yourself informed about what trends suggest someone isn’t looking to seriously date.

Read on to find four major signs that someone might not be interested in a relationship with you.

1. Lack Of Response

One clue that someone isn’t looking for a relationship may an unwillingness or inability to respond. But how do you measure this? “They don’t respond to your texts, emails, or calls,” Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. “If someone is not interested in you, they’re not going to spend their energy responding to your attempts to communicate.” If you feel like the person you’re seeing isn’t responding, it could be their communication style, but it could also be their lack of interest in a relationship, so it might be helpful to talk to them to find out for sure.

2. They Only Want To Hang Out Late At Night

The time of day that someone wants to meet with you could indicate how they feel about a relationship. “Without any other communication or get-togethers during the day or early evening, they may just have a desire for a late-night, old-fashioned booty call,” Masini says. “If someone only contacts you late at night, chances are the relationship is just about the casual hookup, and not a lot else.” It’s helpful to consider each of your schedules — there could be multiple reasons for what time of day they want to hang out. Still, it could be useful to understand why they’re contacting you at certain times, and to ask if this signals a lack of interest in getting serious.

3. The Hangouts Are Irregular

If you don’t have regular plans to meet up but instead see them infrequently, that could indicate that they’re not looking for a relationship. “If someone dates you — and even sleeps with you — but they don’t try to see you regularly, it could be because they’re not really interested in a relationship with you,” Masini says. “They see you because they’re free and you’re free, but they don’t go out of their way to make sure to see you on a regular basis.” Everyone is different, and someone might be going through a particularly busy time in their life. However, if someone doesn’t make regular plans to hang out, it could be worthwhile having a conversation about what you’re both looking for.

4. Lack Of Introduction To Friends And Family

Introducing you to friends can be a sign that someone wants a relationship with you. Similarly, if someone goes out of their way not to have you meet their crew, that can also be a bad sign. “If they don’t ever introduce you to family and friends, it could be because you’re a casual hookup,” Masini says. “When you don’t get invited to holiday work parties or family weddings, but they keep wanting to sleep with you — it could be because they might not think of you as something serious.” Not everyone is comfortable introducing a new person to their circle of friends right away, so you don’t have to worry if it hasn’t been very long. However, it could be useful to consider whether it seems like the other person is committing to keeping you in their life.

These four signs may provide some insight into what the person you’re seeing is looking for. But they’re only hints, and only you know the exact circumstances of your situation, so don’t panic if one of these rings true. However, it may be worthwhile to keep these in mind if you’re seeing someone, and you feel like you’re on different pages. Above all else, try communicating with the person you’re seeing about your intentions. And no matter what, even if this person isn’t looking for the same thing as you, remember that you’ll find someone else who is!

Because arguing doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

Arguing in any sense is often seen as a negative thing – especially in a relationship . But the reality is that arguing with your partner is pretty much unavoidable. Right now, as most of us are either in lockdown with a partner or feeling the strain of being away from one, our relationships have never been under as much pressure. And learning how to argue properly is more important than ever.

Rather than being something to avoid, arguing can be a really healthy way to communicate how you’re both feeling. But it’s important to make sure you’re arguing effectively. So next time one of you accidentally leaves the dirty dishes on the side, have this list handy.

How can arguing be a good thing?

Arguing can be a positive part of a relationship, and having arguments doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is a bad one. “We can’t expect couples to be perfectly matched and aligned on every single level as we’re all individuals, so of course there will be instances where we clash and don’t agree,” explains sex and relationships psychotherapist Kate Moyle.

While arguments are natural, they can also be really productive. “Arguments help us communicate what’s important to each other, see each other’s perspectives and understand each other differently,” Kate adds. So if you are arguing, see it as a chance to improve your relationship.

However, if you do feel your relationship is toxic, unhealthy or abusive, then you should seek help. You can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 2000 247 at a time that is safe.

Is never arguing unhealthy?

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

Bottling up your feelings isn’t good in any situation, and staying quiet can actually make things worse. As Kate explains, “if we never express ourselves fully to our partners we can hold onto feelings of resentment or irritation, and this can be more damaging for a relationship.”

Holding back on being honest with your partner also means you’re missing out on being vulnerable with them, which is important for strengthening your bond as a couple. Plus, it’s likely that your problems will build up and come to a head in an even bigger argument, says Kate.

How to argue better

1. Keep it logical

Try not to let your emotions take over the logic of the situation. “When we’re arguing, the area of the brain called the amygdala is activated, which causes an increase in stress hormones and makes our reactions more emotional rather than logical – and this can interfere with our ability to communicate clearly,” Kate explains.

So, if you can, try to stay focused on what’s happened, and that way your communication won’t be overridden by feeling angry or upset.

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

2. Use “I” statements

Avoid wholly placing the blame on the other person, as this antagonises them rather than creating a situation where you’re working together to solve an issue. “Starting statements with ‘You’ places direct blame on your partner’s behaviour, whereas saying ‘I’ takes that away and puts the emphasis on how you feel about it,” says Kate.

3. Don’t bring up the past

Keep the argument to one current topic, rather than drawing up past events. “Bringing up the past can get you stuck in a tennis match of ‘You did this, I did that,'” Kate explains, “but doing this will stop you from getting anywhere.”

4. Listen and clarify what you don’t understand

“One of the biggest problems with conflict is misunderstanding,” says Kate, so make sure you’re 100% on what your partner means. You can do this by asking questions like: “Can I check that this is what you meant?” or “This is what I understood from that.” Making assumptions will only make an argument worse, so clarify and check things you’re unsure about.

5. Make requests rather than complaints

Try not to bring up problems without actually offering a solution. “Request that your partner tries to do things differently in future, rather than focusing on what happened in the past,” Kate suggests. “This gives you both the power to change what happens next.”

How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

6. Take time out

It might be helpful to step away from an argument, calm down and come back to it. Kate recommends setting a 20 minute timer, as it stops the argument from dragging on.

7. Decide what is worth an argument

While arguing can be productive, you need to recognise which things you should let slide. “In relationships we will always do things that annoy each other,” explains Kate, “so let the small things go, like never putting socks in the laundry basket or not clearing coffee cups.”

Instead, Kate suggests giving each other “no-go areas” – small things that you let the other person off for.

How to make up after an argument

Listen to your partner’s side of the story and empathise with them. Phrase this by saying: “I can see how you felt like that,” or “I can see how it must have been like that from your side,” suggests Kate. If there’s something that you know triggers an argument, like feeling criticised, tell your partner so you can avoid it in future. However, some things you might need to agree to disagree on.

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How to argue so you won't damage your relationship

What’s “normal” and what’s not when it comes to dating, love and relationships? Think you and your partner align with the average couple? Or are your relationship behaviors totally out there? We’ve asked several therapists, marriage counselors and relationship experts from around the country to shed some light on relationship behaviors that seem odd at first, but are actually quite normal. Take a seat and see how you and your mate compare!

1. Changing Feelings

Once upon a time you loved rocking the highest of high heels. These days, however, you’re much more apt to throw on a pair of flats. It may sound simple, but your ever-evolving feelings on shoes can help to serve as a reminder that feelings come and go — and that’s OK.

“Love is a living entity,” explains Karen Sherman, Ph.D. “And just like people have good days and bad — so will there be periods where the lovin’ feelings just won’t be there. Hang in, focus on the positive, and the feelings will come back.”

2. Going Through “Adjustment Periods”

“If you decide to marry, even if you’ve lived together, the first year is likely to be bumpy,” warns Sherman. “You are now in a legally committed relationship, the dynamics change and there is a period of adjustment. Having lived together doesn’t prevent this adjustment period.”

So, if you and your better half are not in a state of bliss at every moment, if doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed — it just means you’re normal.

3. Enjoying Different Hobbies

He’s into fantasy football and you’re into shopping? Better yet, you’re into fantasy football and he’s into shopping? Either way, it’s totally normal for you and your main squeeze to have different interests.

“You don’t have to like all the same things to have a healthy relationship,” notes Sherman. “What matters is having the same values.” So go ahead and enjoy your fantasy football draft, and then swoon over the new shoes your man just bought online. You both deserve to enjoy your hobbies without feeling guilty.

4. Needing Alone Time

Are you the kind of person who would take yourself out for a date night for one? If so, you are not alone.

“Washing a car, walking a dog or exercising alone are signs of a healthy relationship with a secure attachment,” says Lanada Williams, a licensed counselor in Washington DC and Maryland. “Remind yourself, the individual you met still needs time to breathe and thrive.”

5. Being Slow to Compliment

When is the last time you told your partner how hot they looked? We’re all guilty of holding back compliments, and, according to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Holly Cox, it may even be something you’re doing on purpose!

“When you give a compliment to anyone, but particularly someone you like a whole lot, you’re putting yourself on the line,” explains Cox. “Clients tell me they are often afraid their partners will reject the compliment — or worse, say something along the lines of, ‘Wow, you’re finally noticing everything I do around here. Uh-huh. What do you want?'”

Although this may be normal behavior, that doesn’t mean it’s OK. Remember to compliment your partner and accept the praise they give you!

6. Having Trouble Getting in the Mood

Every married couple has experienced one of those nights (or mornings) where one member of the duo is ready for a racy romp, but the other is ready for a mellow nap!

“Virtually all couples have sexual desire problems sooner or later,” says Licensed Psychologist Dr. Kate Roberts. “Couples often go long periods of time without having sex and then once they start up again, their sex life continues on its own.”

7. Withholding Information

Sure, you told your partner about that expensive purse you just bought — you just chose not reveal how much you dropped on it!

“Couples often have different priorities for discretionary income and it’s not uncommon for them to keep their secret stashes of clothes, toys, candy, or other discretionary items,” says Dr. Roberts.

Just remember it’s never healthy to lie about how much you spend. If your partner asks how much you blew on that new pair of Jimmy Choos, keep it real. Lying to your partner — especially about money — is never going to lead you anywhere good.

8. Sparring, Bickering and Fighting

As two different people with two different philosophies on life, you’re bound to disagree at one point or another.

“Fighting is normal,” explains Therapist Dana Ward. “While some couples may think fighting is the sign of a bad relationship, it is actually is very important. The key is fighting with a purpose.”

So, whether you are fighting about something as trivial as how to fold socks, or as significant as a job transition, make sure to fight the topic — not each other.

9. Finding Other People Attractive

You may be utterly in love with your partner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t admire a hottie with a great set of legs.

“You can and should appreciate all the beauty and dashing good looks all around you,” shares Ward. However, she notes, “Attractive and attraction is different. Find other people attractive, but stop short of allowing yourself to be attracted to them.”

10. Getting Scared and Pulling Away

Pulling away, taking a time out, going on a break — we’re all human, and being vulnerable with someone else can at times be scary enough to make you run for the hills!

“Sometimes when things are getting very serious men, in particular, may pull away while they decided to move forward,” explains Relationship Coach Stef Safran.

However, just because one person in the relationship needs a breather, it doesn’t mean your relationship is in desperate need of an SOS. It just means you’re human!

Now that you’ve read through these 10 strange relationship behaviors that aren’t actually weird at all, hopefully you feel a little better about your own relationship. If you still think you’re odd, though, then embrace the quirks that make your relationship special and take a line from Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s — “It may be normal, darling; but I’d rather be natural.”

Sex and money consistently rank as the top two reasons why couples fight. In both cases, one member of the pair just can’t seem to get enough of what he or she views as a scarce commodity. According to nearly every survey on the topic, arguments about money have the dubious honor of being the number one source of conflict between married people.

Parents: This is Your Worst Money Habit

According to a booklet entitled Making Marriage Last, published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, problems relating to financial matters are a major reason why marriages break down.

Key Takeaways

  • Money disagreements, or lack of open and constructive conversations about it, are one of the main reasons for fights in relationships.
  • To avoid fights, couples should set ground rules and a budget for how money should be spent and invested.
  • Honesty is the best policy, as it helps avoid resentment.
  • Avoid arguing if a middle ground can’t be reached and seek the help of a counselor or mediator.
  • Teamwork is the “dream-work” with a couple’s finances—set goals together and if an expenditure doesn’t fit or help meet those goals then avoid it.

The Facts

Managing your finances is a chore. Like all the chores couples need to complete (everything from cutting the grass and taking out the trash, washing the dishes, and cleaning the bathroom), the division of labor is rarely 50/50. When it comes to money, one spouse may be more interested in managing it, while the other is interested in doing the spending. Sometimes, one spouse won’t even talk or think about the topic.

The less-interested spouse often views money as a means of control and may believe that the person holding the purse strings gets to make the decisions. While the essence of that viewpoint is accurate, the person managing money often views saving instead of spending as merely the proper way of staying out of debt, and never thinks about it terms of control. Because it is possible for people to have such very different views about money, sometimes it’s best to seek common ground before discussing exactly how this week’s paycheck will be spent.

The Rules

To keep money from becoming an obstacle in your relationship, you need to set ground rules for how your household will handle the topic. Put these rules in place before you enter into a spending-related dispute. The thick of an argument is not a great place to try and come to a consensus.

Here are two basic rules for interacting with your spouse when making spending decisions: Don’t hide it and don’t lie about it.

While your spouse won’t be too happy about your $300 splurge on a new putter or high-end purse, you shouldn’t attempt to cover up or lie about your extravagant expense. Relationships rooted in truth are far stronger than those based on deceit.

Once you’ve both agreed to be honest, you need a way to break stalemates at decision time. The best choice here is that consensus rules. Of course, if you can’t find common ground on a particular decision, you should agree in advance that prudence takes precedence. With prudence as your guideline, you will be more likely to make the choice to save instead of spend when you can’t agree that spending is a good idea. Setting up a budget can be a great way to develop a mutually-agreed-upon vision of your spending and saving habits.

If you set rules, but still can’t come to an agreement, consider counseling. Arguing is often unproductive; throwing up your hands and walking away rarely accomplishes much. Sometimes, an impartial moderator can help frustrated couples see eye to eye. The key is to stay engaged in the process as you develop spending habits you are happy with as a couple and as individuals.

However, if you dislike dealing with money so much that you willingly delegate all responsibility for spending-related decisions, be willing to live with the consequences of such an approach. It’s not fair to your partner if you don’t help and won’t stay engaged, but still complain.

Teamwork

Making decisions about money is part of building a life together. The building process should be a constructive process, so you need to work hand-in-hand, not in opposition. Set goals together, and spend your money in ways that will bring you closer to achieving those goals. If a particular expenditure doesn’t lead you toward your goals, avoid the expenditure. Don’t let conspicuous consumption lead you astray. If you’re working together as a team instead of fighting about money, you just might have enough time and energy left over to put some effort into getting that other scarce resource that you’ve been seeking.