11 Solutions To Common Relationship Arguments & Problems
Long-term relationships are full of big discussions and arguments, like where to live, whether or not to have kids, or maybe what to do if someone cheats. So it's best to figure out the solutions to common relationship arguments now so most of your days can be spent in peace. In fact, even if you never have really big arguments, or you've mastered healthy communication to the point where you barely fight, these solutions are a good thing to have in your corner for those times when you're too tired or stressed brush off life's little annoyances.
A lot of these solutions center around creating ground rules, which is a form of building healthy boundaries in a relationship. There's no shame in needing a complex network of ground rules and compromises to keep the peace. It's actually a smart way to make sure everyone's needs are being met. Just make sure that when you're setting up your ground rules each partner gets a say, otherwise you could end up in a situation where one partner is controlling the other. I saw this a lot during my time as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsibility Educator. Working toward common ground when you put these solutions in place is the best way to be. Because who doesn't love common ground? Common ground means everyone wins a little.
1. Where To Eat
For the love of all things holy, is there anything worse than this conversation: "What do you want to eat?" "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" I know absolutely zero couples who haven't endured this maddening exchange. But alas, there is a solution. When this argument (because it totally turns into an argument half the time) comes up, pick from a dinner jar. A dinner jar contains pieces of paper with the names of places or meals you both like written on them. You each get two chances to reject the pick, and then that's it. Whatever you draw is what you get. It saves lives.
2. How To Spend Your Money
Couples tend to argue about money and sex more than anything else. Luckily, the money argument has an easy solution. It's called a budget. When you have a budget, you know what you're spending, and you know how much money you each have to play with. If you need to, add rules, like "we must discuss all purchases over a certain amount" or "we each get a certain amount to spend on whatever we want, no questions asked." Don't forget to figure gifts for each other and date nights into your budget.
3. How Much Sex You Should Be Having
It's a cruel world in which the fates would let two people with wildly different sex drives fall in love and build a life together. But it happens all the time. There's no "one size fits all" fix to this problem. It involves communication, willingness to be more sexually open, exploration of mental and physical factors that might be affecting sex drives, and a lot of patience. Sometimes you just need to reconnect. Whatever it takes, be it a doctor, a therapist, or a trip to the Bahamas, start looking for solutions and compromises sooner than later.
4. What You Can & Can't Say To Each Other
A lot of the day-to-day arguments are usually because one of you said something that was mean without thinking. This is where boundaries come in to play. When you set boundaries, you're saying things like "I don't like it when you speak to me like that" or "it's not OK for you to say that to me." Sometimes you can even just yell out "boundary" when your partner is getting close to crossing the line, especially if you're sarcastic overthinkers, like me and my wife. Once you establish boundaries, you'll have much less of these kinds of tiffs.
5. How Much Flirting Is OK
People flirt. You can try to stop them, but you won't always be successful. My wife couldn't stop flirting if she tried. Luckily, it doesn't bother me, because I know she doesn't mean anything by it. But if it bothers you, then you need to set some ground rules. It's OK to tell your partner not to flirt in front of you, or to let them know when they've crossed the line. Ground rules make everything better.
6. What To Do When You Hate Each Other's Friends
You can't tell someone who they can or cannot have in their lives. Even if that person is bad for them, you can tell your partner how strongly you feel, but the decision is ultimately not yours to make. That being said, sometimes you have to suck it up and tolerate your partner's rude, obnoxious friends. But there are some solutions. You can go hang out with your friends the same night they have their friends over. You can ask your partner to not bring certain friends you just can take into your home. This is one situation where compromise is very important.
7. Where To Spend Your Holidays
I'm an introvert with anxiety, so no matter how wonderful my in-laws are (and they are wonderful), I'm never going to be super excited to spend time with a big crows of folks, most of whom I don't know well. But such is life in a long-term relationship. The best thing to do is to make a schedule. Try to make sure you both get to participate in the most important traditions of each family. And if you just can't be in both places, every-other-year is better than never. But having a solid plan can help prevent arguments about what you're doing this year.
8. How Often To Clean
If you hang around my house long enough, you'll eventually hear my wife and I squabble about how many cups I use or where she puts her dirty clothes. Most of the time, the best you can do is make sure to clean up after yourself and pitch in on everything else as equally as possible. But if you have two very different definitions of clean, you may have to prevent arguments by making some kind of chore chart, even if it's just a spoken agreement about who does what, and when.
9. Who Is The Worst Bed Sharer
Sleep is so critical for health and happiness that it's no wonder it causes a lot of arguments. If you can't master sleeping together, there may be some fixes. Try each having your own blankets, for starters. Earplugs can help with snoring. There are lots of medical interventions for snoring, that range from nasal strips to complex breathing machines. If worst comes to worst, it's not uncommon for couples to snuggle up into bed together, then for one partner to go sleep in another room once the other falls asleep (or skip the cuddling altogether if you're not into that). Well-rested people are less cranky people.
10. How Much Time You Spend Together
Not spending enough time together is just as bad for your relationship as spending too much time together. Even couples who understand that it's just circumstance (jobs, kids, school, life) getting in the way, and that it's not personal, still suffer without quality time. The only solution to this problem is to make time. It's a matter of priorities. Even if it's just one date night, or an uninterrupted dinner hour each night, it's something.
11. How Much Of Your Annoying Stuff You Get To Keep
Merging homes is often a hotbed of arguments, ranging from "no, you can't keep that ugly lamp" to "you're not respecting my needs." If you can swing it, one of the easiest solutions is to give each other their own spaces to do with what they please. Maybe your partner can keep all their weird sports memorabilia in the office and you can put your crafts and cats in a room in the basement. Otherwise, you're just going to have to both be willing to let go of some things and accept some things from the other as part of your new home.
Now that you can wipe these 11 arguments off of the face of your relationship, what will you do with all that extra time?
Images: Pixabay (12)