If You're Still Having These 11 Arguments, You're Forcing Your Relationship To Work
If a couple wants or needs to argue over something, they should certainly go for it, as long as they do so in a healthy way. In many ways, having a disagreement can actually be a good thing, since it allows both partners a chance to hash out differences and speak their minds. But if you keep having the same argument over and over again with your partner, or if your arguments are quick to turn sour, it could be a sign you might be forcing the things to work.
It might also mean that you and your partner simply haven't addressed the underlying cause of the argument, in which case a heart-to-heart — or even couples therapy — may be just what you need. "If you fight over the same issue all the time, it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to fail," Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and co-founder of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, tells Bustle. "However ... if you can’t dig deeper and truly resolve the fundamental issues, then you might be 'forcing' the relationship and staying with it for reasons other than love and happiness."
In order to figure out the difference, it'll be important to find a way to resolve these issues — if you'd like the relationship to work. But if you've tried everything, and the topics below keep coming back to haunt you, experts say it may be a good idea to reevaluate the relationship.
1. Why You Haven't Met Their Friends Or Family
As long as both partners are fine with the rate at which the relationship is unfolding, then there is no right or wrong time to move in together, meet each other's family, etc.
But if you want to do these things, and your partner doesn't, it could be a sign things aren't working out. "If you are fighting to be let in to your [partner's] life then this could be a sign you are not in the same place and you may want to take a break," couples therapist Julienne B. Derichs, LCPC, of Couples Counseling Today, tells Bustle. "It's healthy to get to know someone at a slower pace but if your [partner] is moving at a snail's pace you may want to move on, especially if you begin to fight about it."
If you've been together for a while and made it abundantly clear that you want to meet their loved ones, but are still being kept at arm's length, it may be time to move on.
2. Money Issues
They say money is one of the top things couples argue about, and a major factor when it comes to divorce. So if you two can't get on the same page when it comes to finances, it may be a sign you're forcing the relationship to work.
"Always arguing about money usually indicates a deeper clash of values," says Bennett. "You and your partner might have fundamental differences related to saving, spending, and even delayed gratification. These aren’t always possible to resolve since values related to money are often deeply rooted and learned in childhood."
Of course, you can give it an honest try, before going your separate ways. You could sign up for couples therapy, establish a budget, or play to your strengths, possibly by assigning financial tasks to the partner who's better with money. But if none of that works, and you can't find a solution, it may be time to part ways.
3. How Much Sex You Want To Have
For many couples, the amount of sex they want to have will wax and wane throughout the relationship. What might start off all hot and fiery may dwindle as times goes on, and that's fine. As long as you're both satisfied, it's not always necessary to be having sex at the rate you were when you first met.
Take note, though, if one or both of you isn't happy with your sex life, since it can lead to more problems down the road. "If you’re constantly arguing about how much you’re having sex (or not), then you probably need to look at the relationship itself," Bennett says. "Constantly arguing over sex could indicate a major difference in sex drive or preferences and those might never change ... This could end up being a deal breaker in the relationship." So have an open discussion about what everyone is comfortable with, and see if this is something that can be worked about between the two of you.
4. Inequality In The Relationship
Again, many relationship issues can be worked on and improved, with enough time and effort. But if a certain fight is ongoing, it's definitely worth looking into why you and your partner keep arguing about it.
Take inequality and unfairness, for example. "Couples can often fight about things that don't seem equal in the relationship," Derichs says. "And when things in the relationship don't seem equal and your [significant other] is not interested in making it so, this type of argument is a bad sign."
If you can't come to an agreement on how to make things fair, you both might build up as time goes on, that it may eventually lead to a breakup.
5. Your Core Values
Your core values are unlikely to change — no matter how much you and your partner argue over them, or try to change each other's minds. So if a difference of opinion is truly standing in the way of peace and harmony in your relationship, it may be a sign you're forcing things to work.
"A couple needs to be on the same page about everything from what’s important to their happiness to what’s unimportant to their happiness," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "If [it doesn't] seem like each person's hopes and dreams [can] coexist, it could mean the end of the road."
Of course, it's possible to meet each other half way, agree to disagree, or work out some coping strategies in couples therapy. But a healthy relationship will take work, and if one or both of you isn't willing to put in that effort, it might not be a good sign.
6. Personality Quirks
The thing with personality quirks is, everyone has 'em. Once you really get to know someone, and especially once you start living with that person, these quirks will become even more apparent. And they can certainly start to feel annoying.
Think along the lines of oversharing, leaving the toilet seat up, chewing loudly, leaving coffee mugs around the house — all the little things people do, that can really start to irk their partners.
When you've decided to have a long-term relationship, these are things you and your partner need to let slide. So take note if you're constantly arguing over them. "If the arguments are down to such petty things as the way you move your hands when you talk or something equally absurd, it could be a sign that the relationship is beyond repair," Backe says.
That's because, in these instances, it's not always about the quirk or the hand gesture at all, but a deeper issue in the relationship. If you want to save the relationship, it may help to go to couples therapy so you can work together to unearth what that deeper issue might be.
7. Arguments About Nothing
Are you two arguing over every little thing, all day long — but you aren't even really sure why you're mad? "If the argument seems to be about nothing important, it’s important to note that no argument is about nothing," Backe says. "If it seems like it’s about nothing it’s about a perceived symptom of a much bigger problem that you're having difficulty addressing. If the argument seems to be a gross overreaction you should probably probe and see what the argument is really about."
8. Arguments That Get Mean
Remember, it's not always about what you're arguing over, but how you argue. So if you keep having really mean arguments that seem a bit toxic, take note.
"How you fight has a much bigger impact on the health of the relationship," Derichs says. "Can you argue and disagree without belittling, blaming, devaluing, name-calling, or insulting your partner? Can you listen, problem-solve, and compromise? Can you come back to each other after the fight and repair the rift that has just taken place?"
If not, it may be a sign that you two aren't in a healthy place, and may need to reevaluate why you're together, or if there's anything else you can do to argue in a healthier way.
9. The Past Or The Future
It's fine to have one or two fights about something that happened in the past, and it's OK to argue about your plans for the future. But these things shouldn't be ongoing, or feel like you can't ever reach and agreement.
"If talks of moving in together, getting engaged/married, or having children keep leading to arguments it is usually because one or both of you are not ready for the next chapter," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle.
And in regards to the past, "if exes are constantly brought up or prior fights, you are having a difficult time being present in the relationship," she says.
In order for a relationship to be healthy, you both need to be present in the moment. Addressing any fears you might have can certainly help.
10. Arguments That Place Blame
Just to really drive the point home, keep in mind that it's not always what you're arguing about with your partner, but how you go about the argument that can reveal a lot about the health of your relationship.
"Any argument that persists and is personal is a signal of contempt and that is a relationship red flag," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of Kurre and Klapow Radio Show, tells Bustle. "So arguments that move from 'I don’t like it when you leave your dirty clothes out' to 'You are simply lazy and not caring, if you were caring you would clean up.'"
By changing how you argue — and using "I statements" instead of blame-y "you statements" — can certainly help the issue. But it'll also be important to think about why you're quick to be mean to each other. Is there something else going on, that you haven't addressed?
11. Disagreements That Involve Threats Or Utlimatuums
If you've gotten to the point in your relationship where you need to threaten each other with a breakup, or give each other ultimatums, there may be an underlying issue you haven't addressed.
As Dr. Klapow says, "Arguments in relationships will happen and that is healthy and normal. But when then arguments go from arguing about actions or opinions to personal attacks on personal characteristics, or if they go from engagement to ultimatums and refusal to engage in discussion, then there are much deeper issues than the topic of the argument itself."
Remember, it's not always about what you fight over but how you fight and what kind of resolution you can come to as a couple. It's OK to argue if you're both working towards a goal, and it's fine to occasionally get annoyed with each other. As long as you fight fair and stay on the same team, your relationship will likely remain healthy. If that's not the case, however, it may be a sign you're forcing things to work, and it may be time to move on.