How Often Should Couples Argue? 7 Arguments That Are Healthy To Have, According To Experts
Getting into arguments with your significant other sucks. Arguments can feel like the relationship has hit a road bump or is heading down a potentially bad path, especially if they're ones that have reared their ugly heads in the past. Disagreements can also make you feel like you don't see eye-to-eye with your partner, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Although fighting with your significant other can be frustrating, there are some arguments that are healthy to have with your partner.
"Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship, and it doesn’t mean that the relationship is doomed," Megan Cannon, licensed clinical social worker and owner of Back to Balance Counseling, LLC, tells Bustle. "Having disagreements can lead to resolutions, so why not hash it out when the time comes? During the course of your relationship, you begin to learn certain things about how your partner operates, and which quirks are just part of their personality. You learn what it’s like to pick your battles while compromising at the same time. Choosing those battles can lead to positive outcomes, as long as you’re choosing the proper battle to fight."
So if you're worried that your back-and-forth with your partner isn't helping your relationship, don't panic. Here are seven arguments you might be having that are actually healthy, according to experts.
1. "We Don't Have Sex As Often"
If you feel like your sex life with your partner has hit a bump lately, you might get really frustrated and want to bring it up. It's important to remember that sex lulls are totally common, but that doesn't mean they can't be difficult to navigate. This is a touchy issue for some couples, so it might fuel a small argument. "Over time, as the excitement of the new relationship fades, new items are added to the routine and intimacy may lose its place as a top priority," Cannon says. "Talk about re-prioritizing the routine." There's nothing wrong with letting your partner know you want to feel intimate with them again. And having this conversation can lead to your partner understanding what your needs are, and how you can both meet each other's needs in a mutually beneficial way.
2. "I'm Always Cleaning And You Never Do"
If you live together or just often share a space with your partner, how they clean up after themselves can be a big deal, especially if they don't do it well. "Think of messy as a spectrum," Cannon says. "If you’re on the cleaner end, and your partner is in the dumpster zone, they may need a reminder that they share a living space with someone else [...] Living with someone is a commitment that involves compromise. It’s helpful to revisit this from time to time." Voicing your concerns about the cleanliness of your space is important, especially if it's causing you stress. Letting this out can result in your partner being more mindful of their habits.
3. "We Need To Talk About Money"
Fighting about money is super common. And while these fights can get intense, it's a good idea to bring up financial concerns or questions to your partner. "When it comes to taking the plunge on something like a new car or a new house, tensions can run high if either partner disagrees with the decision or the amount of spending," Robyn Koenig, certified professional dating coach, CEO and founder of Rare Find, tells Bustle. "The best way to avoid a heated and potentially disastrous outcome is to share why both partners have their perspective. Perhaps one has put in the effort to do some research and can share new insights that the other hasn’t come across? Or maybe there’s a fresh idea about a long term financial approach that will help you reach other goals you’ve been discussing for a while." Koenig says that the main focus should be to bring all ideals to the table and to go into the discussion with a goal of seeing each other's perspective. If you have a financial goal you want to meet, keep that in mind while you talk.
4. "I Need Space From Your Family"
Being in a relationship with someone sometimes means having to interact with their family. For some this can be a good thing, but for others, this can get annoying, especially if your partner's family is being intrusive. When this is the issue, Cannon advises to set boundaries with both your partner and their family about their involvement within the relationship. But sometimes, your concern may not be your partner's family and their involvement in your relationship, but rather the dynamic of your partner's family life. Bringing these conversations up are important for you to feel comfortable with your partner and their family.
"Discussing someone’s family is a sensitive topic and can easily escalate," Steven Reigns, licensed psychotherapist and founder of Therapy For Adults, tells Bustle. "Family dynamics, even the most unhealthy, can be normalized since those relationship dynamics are all we’ve known. There is also an innate loyalty with family that can easily cause defensiveness. These two traits coupled together cause quick escalation. Discussions with your partner about their family can help you understand their unwritten family rules."
5. "You Don't Appreciate Anything I Do"
When you get into a routine with your partner, it's easy to start feeling like things you do go unnoticed. But if you see a consistent pattern where you try to do nice things for your partner and they're not expressing their gratitude, it can feel disheartening. "Never stop showing or expressing appreciation," Cannon says, "It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle, and take certain things for granted. Remind your partner that their appreciation and acknowledgement keeps you energized to keep contributing." Your partner might not be noticing that they're not being forthcoming with their appreciation, and letting them know can make a difference.
6. "That's Not What I Want For My Future"
When you start talking to your partner about what you want in the future, conversations about marriage, kids, and living arrangements can come up. It's important to know what your partner's stances are on these things so that you can see if you two want the same things later on. Ashley Chambrello, licensed marriage and family therapist tells Bustle, "Whether or not to have kids and share a family together is an important issue and should be discussed. If this is not discussed or argued, it can develop into resentment in the future. The goal of this argument, as with most other arguments, should be to understand why your partner believes what they do." This argument can even help you determine if a future with your partner is viable.
7. "We're Not Spending Enough Time Together"
As adults in a relationship, you can get really busy. And sometimes, your busy schedule can cut into quality one-on-one time you could be spending with your partner. If you notice that your partner might not be prioritizing you, it's important to speak up, especially because this could set the precedent for how your relationship will function as you two become busier in the future. This argument can be helpful especially if your partner doesn't understand that you feel ignored. "We aren't going to agree with our partner 100% of the time, but it's important to find compromise, especially with issues that will last a long time," Chambrello says.
At the end of the day, disagreements and arguments can help you learn more about your partner and what you both want out of your relationship — it all depends on how you go about having these arguments. They can be healthy, but only if they are done constructively. Just remember, hashing things out fairly can help you grow together as a couple.