I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you and your partner will fight, if you haven't already. No matter how perfect a relationship seems, couples fight about stupid stuff. This is all the more true once the honeymoon period in a relationship is over and sh*t gets real. When that time comes, and it likely will, you'll probably experience my favorite new neologisms: honeymood. Following the honeymoon's denouement, a honeymood is the negative state of mind someone feels at this time. And take it from someone who knows: No one likes a man or woman in a honeymood.
But not to worry. In talking with Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, I learned that it's possible to work through these little spats with ease and grace. The trick, she says, lies in patience, tolerance, love, and a true spirit of understanding for your partner — as usual. Whether it's drama over dirty dishes, an argument over where to vacation, or simple social media agita, there is a solution for every problem. And more often than not, good old-fashioned communication, acceptance of your partner's desires and needs, and a dash of open-mindedness are the answers. In other words, if you're in it for the duration, you're going to have to learn to agree to disagree, compromise, find a happy medium and all that jazz. Here are 10 common fights couples have after the honeymoon period concludes, and suggestions on how to solve such spats.
1. The Fight About Where To Spend Holidays
"You need to understand that you are going to have to combine expectations when dealing with extended family," Safran says. In order to do that, she emphasizes planning ahead and communicating with your loved one: "Make sure that you and your significant other make decisions before things get heated about how to spend holidays," Safran says. To deal with the family drama, she suggests telling your partner what holidays are your favorites, and asking your partner to do the same. That way, "they are aware when you start to plan how to manage time with your extended families."
2. The Fight About Intimacy And Boundaries
"Different people feel comfortable with different levels of intimacy," Safran says. As a relationship deepens and new levels of intimacy are reached, it's possible you'll ask questions that make the other person uncomfortable, or vice versa. "If someone says something that offends you, deal with it in a way that doesn't 'shame' the other person," she says. This means doing advanced damage control and deciding how you want to communicate when there is a difference of opinion. An argument might still happen, but at least you'll be on the same page about how to handle it.
3. The Fight About Sex
One super common problem after the initial lusty honeymoon ends is "having [a difference in] sexual needs," Safran says. Obviously, if one person doesn't like something and the other does, it should be discussed," Safran says. "Be conscious that if one person likes something and the other doesn't." By communicating, you're bound to find a way that makes both of you happy.
4. The Fight About Finances
Couples often argue in regards to who pays for what. The solution: Be upfront. "Each couple needs to decide how they want to split things," Safran says. Clearly, "the days of men paying 100 percent of the time aren't how most couples operate, especially since in the long term you are combining your money anyways. Discuss finances and how you save or spend money."
But Safran suggests holding off on the conversation for a while. "Make a plan after you've become a couple," she says. Once you're past the initial stages, have a real conversation about your fiscal expectations.
5. The Fight About Social Media
"Social media is a newer fight, but a real one," Safran says. "Talk about what you will and will not share on social media." Safran adds that couples should be cautious of their tech use around each other. Because people are so connected to their devices, they are rarely present with their partners. "Make sure you turn off when you are with your significant other," Safran says. Of course, there are exceptions. If it's an urgent email, by all means, whip out your phone and respond. But scrolling through Instagram can wait.
6. The Fight About Spending Time Together
It's easy to get totally wrapped up in your boo, but a totally co-dependent relationship is not sustainable. "Make sure that you both have outside friends and interests," Safran says. If the two of you have differing ideas about how much time to spend together, sit down, talk it out and come to a compromise.
7. The Fight About Where To Live
It's possible that you and your partner will have differing opinions regarding your residence. "Be sure to have conversations when you realize that you are looking for a future with this person," Safran says.
These conversations do not have to result in quarrels. In fact, if you sit down and have an open conversation, it's possible to sidestep a fight altogether. If they do crop up, try to calmly express your needs and hear your partner out. Sometimes a relationship requires coming to an agreement about particular things — if your partner gets into grad school in another state or you need to move back to your hometown to be closer to ailing parents, a certain level of mutual understanding is vital.
8. The Fight About Religion
"Religion is always something that everyone has different opinions on," Safran says. "Be sure that you are willing to compromise, as no one person is right." That said, if your partner has wildly contrasting religious views in comparison to your own, it may be tougher to stay together in the long run.
9. The Fight About Date Night
"Date night and one-on-one time needs to be a priority," says Safran. "Don't forget to continue to be romantic after the newness wears off." If that means setting aside every Friday night for some alone time, by all means, do it. I am not a huge proponent of a scheduled date night, but that may be required if you and your significant other have extremely busy schedules. And as far as having an actual date, instead of just Seamless-ing and binge-watching your life away, that's your call.
10. The Fight About Kids From Past Relationships
"Spending time with kids from past relationships can be tricky," Safran says. "Be sure to be clear what each person is comfortable with when it comes to children with a different partner, so that even if you differ on things, you are clear on your boundaries." Just like everything else on this list, as long as you are super clear about what you're OK with and what you aren't thrilled about, this little matter does not have to be an argument at all.
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