Psychologists agree, disputes in romantic relationships are unavoidable. They do not only occur in those relationships that are superficial in nature or one party suppresses their emotions, thus never allowing themselves to be honest. Issues should not be swept under the carpet. Any unresolved issues will sooner or later come to light. A person who shuts off difficult emotions and does not say what he or she really thinks will end up feeling increasing frustration. At some point, she may perceive her partner as an enemy who constantly does her wrong and never meets her needs. If she had communicated her emotions to him on an ongoing basis, there would probably have been a few arguments that would have eventually changed the relationship dynamic to a more satisfying one. When such a person blows up after a few years, all that may be left of their relationship is ruins. Meeting needs in a relationship plays a key role in creating a source of emotional security.
Differences in a relationship – what do they stem from?
Arguments in a relationship are inevitable because we all have different approaches to many things. Each of us grew up in a different family home, has different values, different needs, a different language of love and different experiences. Disagreements sometimes relate to trivial matters, including how to wash clothes, how to hang flowers on the balcony and how to season soup. They are also of a more serious nature and involve parenting methods or attitudes to money. Everyone looks at the same issue slightly differently, which does not necessarily mean worse. Differences in a relationship are also due to the fact that everyone has different ways of dealing with difficult emotions, and often the differences are due to the fact that we just don’t know how to deal with such emotions.
Arguments in a relationship are evidence of partners’ commitment
Leaving aside situations where arguments in a relationship are deliberately provoked by one partner in order to test a loved one, arguments in a relationship are usually evidence of commitment. People enter into conflict when they perceive an issue as important and that issue arouses strong emotions in them. Also important to them is the romantic relationship itself and finding a satisfactory way out of a situation. When disagreements fall silent, it can augur the break-up of a relationship because indifference has crept into it. It can also indicate burnout and a lack of willingness to talk to the other person. If you are a person with an anxious attachment style, then you are likely to see your relationship as something unstable, with a fragile structure. You may feel that you are building a house of cards that could collapse at any moment. This assumption causes you to expect the worst from your partner when a conflict situation arises. You quickly become flooded with strong emotions and find it difficult to express your needs constructively. You may also provoke conflict and explode to test the other party.
What does protest behaviour look like?
– Withdrawing for attention – pretending to do something important, reading/looking at your phone, ignoring your partner(s), turning your back.
– Keeping accounts and statistics – checking how long it took the other party to reply to your message and waiting specifically the same or more time before you reply/call back.
– Waiting for the partner(s) to reach out first to agree – I won’t speak until he/she looks at me, She didn’t answer three times so I won’t record her message, let her call back.
– Hostile behaviour, or aggression – Foreboding, rolling your eyes, looking away when the other party is talking, walking away when the other person is talking, or interrupting mid-sentence.
– Threatening to leave – Maybe we should be without each other, let’s take a break, we’re not on the same wavelength, I don’t think it makes sense… – but hoping he/she will keep you.
– Manipulation – pretending to have other plans, or to be busy, when in fact this is not the case at all. Playing the underdog.
– Stirring up jealousy – talking about how interested you are or how someone has flirted with you. Arranging meetings or conversations with ex-partners, or other people that your partner(s) could potentially be jealous of.
Why does the way an argument is conducted in a relationship matter?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not conflict situations that weaken relationships, but the way an argument is conducted in a relationship. This one should not hurt anyone, but leave space for a mutually satisfactory solution. People argue when they make joint decisions and have different visions, it is also necessary to show understanding in the relationship for each party. This problem does not only apply to romantic relationships, but also to friendships. Everyone has argued with friends at some point, for example, about the film to be played at a house party or the type of pizza to be ordered. However, thanks to the goodwill of each party, we managed to find a way out of the situation. The friendship did not suffer as a result. 😊
When arguing in a relationship, avoid uncontrollable outbursts of anger
You are probably now wondering how arguments in a relationship should be handled so that they do not jeopardise the relationship. First and foremost, keep your emotions in check. This does not mean that anger, sadness or grief are bad and I encourage you to suppress them. Listen to what they have to say to you and take rational action based on it. Some people should not start a conversation in emotionally agitated states as they spew out whatever comes to mind at machine-gun speed. Unfortunately, not subjecting your messages to any kind of evaluation can hurt your partner. If you feel you are about to explode and say two words too many, get out of the house, give yourself time to cool down. Both lack of communication in a relationship and uncontrolled talking in anger are reasons for distance in a relationship.