Regardless of how healthy your relationship is, you'll likely still fall into periods of conflict. How you and your partner handle these disagreements, however, and what you disagree on in particular, says a lot about your relationship. And there are certain types of arguments in a relationship that are a major indicator that you're with the right person, even if you aren't quite sure yet.
Experts are used to concerns about arguments, and are there to help you parse out what your conflicts mean for the bigger picture. "Having an argument doesn't mean a relationship isn't solid or healthy or that it won't last a long time," Kayla Lords, writer and sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com, tells Bustle. "It's about how that argument is made and how it gets resolved that matters most [...] compromising where you can, and deciding what's most important: finding common ground, or winning an argument." You may not be able to solve every conflict, but you will be able to grow in the relationship by expressing your feelings and listening to one another.
"Strong couples will make room to hear their love's concerns and fantasies," Melissa Kester, licensed marriage and family therapist and director and founder of Madison Marriage & Family Therapy, PC, tells Bustle. "They will not detach [from] or dismiss their partner, but focus on giving empathy and compassion." So even if you aren't quite sure whether you're with the right person, arguing in certain ways about certain topics can be an indicator that you two are meant to be together.
Here are seven types of arguments that might prove you're with the right person, even if you're having second thoughts.
Marriage Or Engagement
If you're having second thoughts in a relationship, you likely aren't ready for marriage or even a proposal. But if the two of you have been discussing (or even arguing) about this issue, there's a chance you two might still be on the right track.
"The topic of marriage and the timeline for a proposal can sometimes be the source of heated disagreement if one partner is ready before the other," Dr. Carpenter says. "Couples who are insecure or immature may avoid the topic altogether because they are afraid of a conflict and don’t trust that the relationship is strong enough to survive the discussion ... [On the other hand,] healthy partnerships are able to survive even big conflict. Each person can present their perspective without negating the other’s experience." If your partner, although frustrated, respects your trepidation and is willing to work through it, that's a good sign.
Arguments Where You Can Admit You Feel Hurt
In a less-than-healthy couple, partners may not feel comfortable enough sharing their feelings up front, especially if they're negative ones. So if you and your partner have been having fights after coming to each other with concrete examples of how you've been affected by one another's actions, that may actually be a good sign.
"Strong couples feel safe in sharing when their love hurt their feelings," Kester says. "Loving honestly builds intimacy, trust, and compassion." If you're engaging in healthy fighting after bringing these issues up, you two may be growing closer together, not further apart.
Arguments About Wanting To Spend More Time Together
You and your partner may have different schedules, and different expectations about how much time to spend together in a relationship. But if you're fighting about this issue, one thing is true: your partner wants to be around you.
"One type of fight that can be a sign of hope is when one partner complains that they want the other partner home more," health and wellness coach Caleb Backe tells Bustle. While it's important to avoid being codependent on each other, and keep in mind that people need different amounts of alone time, opening up the conversation to spending more time together may be a healthy thing. So if you've been pulling away since having doubts, but see your partner asking for more, try looking into that.
Healthy Arguments About Friends
Becoming someone's partner means navigating the rest of their social life, as well. So if you've been arguing about friends, it may actually be a sign that your partner is trying to find out healthy ways to fit you into their existing social life.
"In a perfect world, when you date, you'd love each others friends, too," Lords says. "Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes it's a bad mix of personalities. It's important that neither partner tries to control who the other hangs out with, but you can set boundaries with each other." Again, when it comes to having a health relationship, it's all about how you argue. If your partner is lovingly approaching friend-group conflict, they may just be trying to figure out a new status quo now that they're in a relationship.
Debates Over Politics Or Other Controversies
If you and your partner have a habit of knocking heads over intellectual topics, it may feel frustrating. Still, remember that this could be a sign of a strong, deep connection, where your partner both trusts you and respects your intelligence.
"Another type of argument that indicates a strong relationship are debates that deal with matters outside of the relationship," psychologist Dr. Sal Raichbach of Ambrosia Treatment Center, tells Bustle. "Debating topics like philosophy, politics or current events will help couples to learn from one another and about one another’s views. As long as these debates are respectful, they can be a great exercise in practicing patience and tolerance for someone who holds a different opinion." So if you're unsure, but have noticed your partner respectfully picking your brain, remember they may be coming from a place of love.
Arguments About Meeting The Family
Just like arguments about engagement and marriage, arguments about other steps in the relationship, like meeting each other's families, can feel incredibly daunting. But if you're not quite sure how you're feeling in the relationship, how your partner approaches these conflicts can say a lot.
"Arguments that deal with the progression of a relationship can actually be a good sign," Dr. Raichback says. "It means that the relationship is important enough to one or both parties for the area of concern to have mattered in the first place. For example, [arguing] if someone is upset because they haven’t met their partner's parents yet [is a good sign]. If the relationship wasn’t important, it wouldn’t matter so much." Of course, it's important to take every step in the relationship on your own terms, but if your partner wants you to meet their family, it's likely a sign that they're serious about you, and really care.
A strong relationship isn't without it's fights. And it may seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes the strongest couples clash over the most serious topics. "If the relationship is strong, the couple will be able to tolerate disagreements of all types but will be especially well-equipped to handle bigger, heavier topics," Dr. Carpenter says. So even if you're having second thoughts, healthy, loving arguments can be a sign you're on the right track.