A nugget of age-old wisdom suggests that fighting in a relationship brings the couple closer. But how true is this belief? Are we using it as a convenient justification to ignore unhealthy patterns, or does this axiom stop us from taking the exit ramp at the first sign of trouble? Every couple has faced this dilemma at least once in their life.
The subject at hand is vast and multifaceted. We are exploring it with the guidance of psychotherapist Snigdha Mishra (CBT & REBT expert from Beck Institute, Philadelphia), who specializes in hypnotherapy and emotional freedom therapy. There are no uniform answers to any questions, for love and relationships are a highly subjective business.
What we can do, however, is understand the red flags which are not acceptable in any circumstances. We can grasp the intricacies of trust and communication to strengthen our equations. Without further ado, let’s understand if fighting in a relationship is healthy.
Is Fighting Normal In A Relationship?
Is it normal to fight in a relationship, you ask? Well, it’s humanly impossible to share your life with someone and not have conflicts. Partners don’t see eye-to-eye very often but what matters is how they conduct their disagreements. Snigdha astutely says, “At their core, fights are an unhealthy form of communication. But people define ‘fighting’ differently.
“It’s a wide term that can cover heavy discussions as well as abusive tendencies. If you’re referring to a disagreement with your partner, then yes, it is a part and parcel of being with them. You have opposing views on something and you hash it out with a conversation. But if you mean shouting, pushing each other or throwing things, then it’s certainly not usual.
“Such fights are very unhealthy and indicative of a serious problem at hand. However, these classifications are rudimentary. It’s a very subjective experience that boils down to the two people involved in the relationship. It is for them to determine where they fall on the spectrum; whether their relationship arguments are constructive or not.”
Take a moment and evaluate the nature of your quarrels. Do you fight to resolve problems or win the discussion? Fighting in a relationship can go one of two ways – toxicity or longevity. While the former is quite self-explanatory, the latter demands a clarification. How are fights conducive to a couple’s growth? In our next segment, we’ve listed 7 ways that answer this question. Take a look…
Related Reading: 12 Realistic Expectations In A Relationship
How Does Fighting In A Relationship Sustain It?
Sometimes we’ll sigh
Sometimes we’ll cry
And you’ll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways
These lyrics from the classic song True Love Ways pretty much capture the spirit of our incoming list. There are 7 advantages of healthy fighting in a relationship (yes, we must specify the ‘healthy’) and they’re very intriguing to explore. That being said, no one should pick fights deliberately to feel closer to their partner.
We’re certain these points will resonate with you as you scroll ahead. Who hasn’t had their fair share of lovers’ spats? Let’s begin by recalling the words of American psychologist Albert Ellis, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”
1. Now you see me
Nine times out of ten, arguments lead to this positive outcome; you learn more about your partner. Their perspective becomes much clearer during a spirited debate and you see, truly see, what they’ve been trying to communicate. Snigdha explains, “There’s a lot of honesty in heated conversations. This fosters a better understanding of your partner.
“Arguments give people the impetus to state things openly. You will comprehend their side of things better.” For instance, if your significant other was refraining from voicing a complaint for a while, a fight with you will make them say it directly. You now know the root of their problem and discover what has made them uncomfortable or upset.
This is especially true for fighting in the early stages of a relationship. Couples who’ve just begun dating are reluctant to voice their dissent. A fight becomes a good avenue for them to know one another’s emotional needs. Thus, fights become the means that prevent self-absorption in the relationship.
2. Row, row, row the boat
Snigdha says, “A fight reflects a person’s willingness to communicate. Instead of giving the silent treatment or being passive-aggressive or walking out, they want to resolve the problem. Maybe there are better ways of doing so but the person in question is choosing to stay despite their anger.”
Fighting in a relationship is healthy because it prevents both parties from shoving things under the rug and moving on. If problems are not addressed, partners run a high risk of drifting apart. Arguments keep them invested in the relationship and its progress. They remain determined to persist and prevail till the very end. In a nutshell, flights indicate that neither partner wants to give up on the relationship easily.
Related Reading: Communication Problems In Relationships – 11 Ways To Overcome
3. Roadblocks or building blocks?
Constructive disagreements are blessings. Since a romantic partner shares many spheres of our lives with us, they know us through and through. Theirs is a unique perspective – a blend of objectivity and emotion. This makes a better half the ideal candidate to point out our mistakes with honesty. Disagreements are the medium through which we can improve ourselves.
Your partner brings your errors to light and vice versa. This way, you become self-aware of your shortcomings. After all, love must lead to growth and betterment for the partners individually too. This happens in the most surprising ways; and yes, that includes fighting over small things in a relationship. In fact, this is one of the best habits of couples in a healthy bond.
Moreover, important issues are resolved by fighting. A little compromise and adjustment on both ends enrich the quality of the relationship too. Quarrels tackle problems head-on and lead to speedy resolutions.
4. One step closer – Fighting in a relationship
Conflict and closeness often go hand in hand when it comes to a relationship. Fights cultivate trust and empathy between partners by sending one simple message – the commitment they share is greater than the predicament they are facing. But this can go wrong just as easily if you are fighting too much in a relationship.
Snigdha explains, “When a disagreement is handled with mutual respect and the intent of moving forward in the relationship, the partners begin trusting each other some more. They empathize with each other’s experiences and emerge from the fight feeling a lot closer to each other. But when there’s disrespect in behavior, trust erodes and resentment builds.
“So, how is your conduct during a fight? With what intent are you fighting? And how often does this happen? Because the frequency does play a key role too. If your altercations are occasional and truly beneficial to your shared life, then it’s a step in the right direction.”
Related Reading: The 9 Fair Fighting Rules For Couples | By Expert
5. Articulating anger
Emotional outlets are very, very essential. While constant fighting in a relationship is a red flag, the occasional spat can be a good way to let the anger out of your system. Harbored anger comes out in the wrong ways most times. Fights are an accepted area where we can voice this emotion (in moderation, of course).
Snigdha says, “It is human to get angry at your partner. And expressing this can bring relief in one way or another. Keeping things within can get corrosive for both of you because you hold grudges. So, giving voice to these uncomfortable emotions can be good for your mental peace. (But don’t equate verbal or physical abuse with expressing anger).”
If your bond struggles with healthy ways of communication, you can rely on anger management techniques too. Fights give you the room to be angry; don’t let your anger make you fight every day in a relationship!
6. To be perfectly candid…
As obvious as it may seem, fights reveal our ‘true colors’ but not in a pejorative sense. We are more authentic when we are angry. We are also more honest with our words and unapologetic with our emotional boundaries. Couples who have just begun dating often struggle to keep up a few appearances.
This is why fighting in the early stages of a relationship can be a good thing, as it allows them to really be themselves. Needless to say, honesty is one of the indispensable qualities of a good relationship. Let your anger out without restraint and let your partner know who you are. You’ll be surprised to see how real you get when there’s an ongoing fight.
And here’s a thumb rule: while sappy conversations make for sweet pillow-talk, it is the heavy ones that sustain an emotional connection. Never shy away from them and never shy away from being yourself.
7. Season of love – “We always fight but we love each other”
English author and philosopher G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.” Most couples experience a repeat of the honeymoon phase after a fight. The periodic distance and anger get taxing and people begin missing their partner and the intimacy they share.
Couples can be commonly heard saying, “We always fight but we love each other!” And there’s a lot of truth to it. The pangs of separation, albeit temporary, work like magic on the relationship. Think back to the aftermath of your last fight… Didn’t you two have a smooth run for a while after the problem was resolved?
The next time you find the tempers running high with your better half, just recall why arguments can be healthy. The silver lining will help you calm down relatively quickly. In the bigger picture, fighting over small things in a relationship makes total sense. Now let’s move on to another pertinent question… How much fighting is too much fighting?!
Fighting In Relationships – How Much Is Too Much?
Is it normal to fight in a relationship? Yes. But is constant fighting in a relationship normal? No. There are many ways of communicating healthily and fighting should generally be the last resort, not the default setting. When you find yourself responding to minor inconveniences with anger and conflict, know that you’re transitioning into an unhealthy relationship space.
Snigdha says, “ It is certainly not okay to be arguing about everything. Why not sit and talk in a collected manner? Conflict resolution should not be driven by aggression. If every conversation escalates into a full-fledged brawl, then the partners have some thinking (and work) to do. There is such a thing as fighting too much in a relationship.”
These patterns can be worked on in individual or couples’ therapy. If you find yourself in the midst of an argument every day, please seek help from a mental health expert. At Bonobology, we offer professional help through our range of licensed therapists and counselors. They can help you evaluate the situation better and embark on the path to recovery. We are here for you.
You are equipped with everything there is to know about fighting in a relationship. May yours see only a healthy amount of squabbles… May it bring you and your partner closer. Keep coming back to us for more on love, relationships, and well – everything else!