5 Recurring Arguments In Your Relationship That You Should NEVER Ignore
So you’ve found a mate. Those endless Tinder meet-ups and blind dates have finally come to something and you’ve found the Holy Grail; that person who supposedly accepts you, warts and all. But what if everything is not as rosy as it seems? Recurring arguments in a relationship, constant conflicts that lead to a rapidly increasing sense of déjà vu, can start small and fairly innocuous but can easily escalate into something much larger and ultimately damaging.
A recent study by psychologists at the universities of Nevada and Michigan, and reported in The Guardian, suggests that couples running over the same old arguments on a regular basis are likely to experience problems not only linked to mental wellbeing but also physical health, causing anything from an increased release of stress hormones to impacting heart function and the immune system. And, tough luck for the boys, but research shows that men are likely to be more affected than women.
Rosie Shrout, presenting to the International Association for Relationship Research conference in Colorado, said: “Conflict can be particularly damaging for health if spouses are hostile or defensive during disagreements or if they are arguing about the same topic over and over again without any resolution.”
So save your health, and read on for five recurring arguments that might be a sign your relationship isn’t right.
1. Household Chores
According to a 2007 Pew Research Poll, when it comes to marriage, equal division of the household chores is an essential component to a long and happy union. You know how it goes, that pasta pan that has sat unwashed in the sink for days, the toilet seat that’s always up, the bin that’s never emptied. David Waters, relationship expert and founding member of The School of Life in London, tells Bustle: “It’s important to reflect on what’s going on behind the surface of your arguments – especially if they’re often on the same topic. You may constantly battle over household chores ... but what’s really being said is, 'I’m not sure you care about me' or, 'can I really trust you?'"
2. Social Media
You’re out for dinner. It’s a special occasion. And still your partner can’t resist reaching for their phone for a quick scroll through Twitter. Sound familiar? Arguments about social media are becoming increasingly common in our age of digital dominance: according to a survey of 2,000 British adults, one in seven married couples have considered divorce on accounts of their spouse’s relentless activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Sam Owen, relationship coach and author of Resilient Me: How to Worry Less and Achieve More, cautions against prioritising screen time, telling me: "Social media is fraught with issues, it can distract you from your partner, exhaust your energy reserves you should be saving for loved ones offline, and it can result in adultery. If you are on social media to distract yourself from your relationship problems, put your app down and address the issues you’re trying to ignore."
3. The In-Laws
In relationships we all have our cross to bear, and for many this comes in the form of a challenging mother-in-law. It’s a cliché, but one which in my experience holds true. Meanwhile, I've found father-in-laws are incredibly awkward and the jokes are nearly always inappropriate. Your partner knows this, but dare to voice your opinion and all hell can break loose. Terri Apter, who wrote a book titled What Do You Want From Me? Learning to Get Along with In-laws told The Telegraph that women in particular find this issue difficult: “studies show that the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship is the trickiest. Men simply aren’t as involved, they can keep a low profile.” In the same article, Apter’s research revealed that 60 percent of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships are described by the following: “strained,” “infuriating," and "simply awful".
Undoubtedly one of the most sensitive topics in any relationship, sex can be a notoriously difficult topic to discuss. Are you having enough? Is it exciting enough? Has the time come to spice things up? These concerns are often not vocalised, and when they are conversations can go round and round in circles. Eli Finkel, professor of psychology at Northwestern University and author of The All-or-Nothing Marriage, stresses the importance of being honest and open when it comes to your s-expectations as he tells Bustle: "Perhaps the minimum amount of emotional intimacy I need to be happy in the relationship is more than the maximum amount of emotional intimacy that’s comfortable for you. In cases like that, break-up is often a sensible option – although it’s certainly not the only option."
Do you find yourself covertly stashing away shopping bags to avoid the same old argument? Or are you the one watching your spending, while your partner splashes the cash on flashy meals and extravagant holidays? Everyone has different approaches to spending and saving, and disputes about this can easily impinge on what is otherwise a happy relationship. Owen tells Bustle that "financial stress can be one of the biggest factors in a flailing relationship, so take this topic seriously from the outset." In an article for Good Housekeeping, relationship expert and life coach Dr Judith Wright asserted that fights over finances could hint at deeper problems. "Money symbolises power and love. People think, 'If we have enough money, we have enough love.' It's very primal … The thought of any scarcity can really trigger some really deep primal fights for couples."
And while this may seem like all doom and gloom, remember there is no shame in throwing in the towel when things aren't working out. Life is about picking your battles, and some battles just aren't worth the fight.