How often do you and your SO argue/disagree/fight?

[name_m]Just[/name_m] wondering…I don’t have a ton of relationship experience, so I’m wondering what’s average or “normal”.

[name_m]How[/name_m] often do you and your SO disagree to the point where one or both of you is irritated with the other?

What about an argument?

What about an actual fight? As in heated words, things like blaming each other, bring up past issues, etc.

Did the frequency change after children or with time passing? Or something like moving in together, etc? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have the same issues, or do you typically solve them and fight about something else next time?

My husband and I bicker almost daily, but we almost never fight.
When we were just dating we never even argued, but when me moved in together that changed.
I felt like we fought a lot more when we lived together as boyfriend and girlfriend than we do now as husband and wife.
The longer you are with someone, the better you get to know them and know yourself, and I feel like my having a great understanding of him as a person, and his great understanding of me as a person has really helped in our ability not to let things escalate into fight territory.
We always fight out the issue until we both feel better, when we do fight. I don’t like leaving loose ends.

We don’t really fight, we get upset and maybe say some negative things, take the huff, snap at one another, but don’t have shouting matches or real fights. we maybe have an argument once every few months, sometimes over long standing issues that we just cannot agree on.

It’s probably increased a bit with the kids coming, but that’s because sleep deprivation and the extra work load and stress makes it worse. We’ve been together 20 years and only had proper fights, shouting, etc, a handful of times.

I think a an occasional fall out is normal and healthy. It means the couple are comfortable and secure enough in the relationship to communicate their issues to the other person, without being afraid of hurting their feelings.

We rarely have blow out screaming rows, I can only think of one or two that were awful, and were caused by a very serious issue that I won’t even get into. Most of our fights are silly little tiffs that last 10 minutes before we forget about them and move on.

We do argue about the children more than I would like. He tends to say yes to something after I’ve already said no several times and it drives me absolutely insane, I don’t want [name_f]Amelie[/name_f] going to daddy when mummy says no. We should be a united front, but he feels guilty about his long working hours and finds it difficult to say no to her because of this.

He thinks my mother is too interfering, though they get on really well. I go mental when he leaves wet towels on the floor and heads out to work without picking them up. It annoys him when I wear false tan because the smell of it disgusts him. I hate how he leaves empty cups of coffee all over the house. I could go on :stuck_out_tongue:

Most of our fights are a few heated words, we sort it, and its forgotten about. [name_f]One[/name_f] of the biggest issues I had with past relationships was no being able to move on from fights. Nothing was ever resolved because the last argument was brought up again and it was impossible to get through issues because of it. For that reason, when we argue, we don’t bring it up again as soon as we resolve it. It only creates more negative issues.

The frequency definitely changed when we had kids. Mainly because we were both exhausted and I was very emotional for the first few weeks.

We never scream at each other, though. I find if either of us are in a temper we’re more likely to say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment. For this reason, if we’re having a big argument (not just a “For goodness sake, not another wet towel!” argument) we take some time to cool off and gather our thoughts before sitting down and talking it out. I find this works much better for us.

Honestly, my husband and I never fight in the “scream at each other” sense. We have had disagreements and miscommunications and angry moments where we might need to walk away for a while and cool down, but (and I’ll admit, this is more him than me) we will not just “let things go”. If it bothers him, he tells me. If he disagrees, he tells me. If he doesn’t like something, he tells me. When we first got together it drove me insane, but I appreciate it now. I tend to hold grudges and hold on to things until I blow up, but he can’t do that so it has helped me be more open about things.

My husband and I have a very unique relationship dynamic. We agreed at the very beginning that communication was going to be at the core of our relationship; no keeping secrets, no suppressing our feelings, no bottling things up. Just being honest and communicating with each other constantly, no matter how good or bad or trivial the topic. We both have history with relationships in which lack of communication led to alienation and misunderstandings at best, and even in my case, abuse.

Because of that, we actually argue a lot more than your average couple. We’re both really vocal and opinionated, and we forget to act differently in public than we do at home, so if we’re in a group and we disagree with each other on some intellectual point, we’ll discuss it right then and there, lol. It freaks some people out because they are used to the type of marriage where the couple is afraid to disagree lest that mean the relationship is in jeopardy. I don’t like the idea that people think all we do is argue because of the negative connotations that come along with that, but I would never in a million years trade it for one of the sterile relationships of my past where I was just supposed to be a good little girl and nod and smile and never voice my opinion.

The idea that conflict can be healthy seems really counterintuitive, but in our case it’s so true. If one of us is hurt by something the other did or didn’t do, we say it. We make all of our family decisions mutually, with lots of thought and discussion. We air out our feelings as soon as they occur (and given that I’m a Leo and he’s a Pisces, that is a LOT of feels!) and work through to the point where one (usually both) acknowledges a fault and the other forgives, or we find a successful compromise.

If at any point we cross over from arguing into fighting, it’s usually over really fast. The feelings tend to explode and then in the aftermath we’re both devastated that we hurt each other. Tears, apologies, and make-up cuddles immediately ensue. If the issue is important enough that it still needs to be resolved, we’ll talk it through in a much calmer, gentler way because we’re much more sensitive of each other’s feelings after having just hurt them. Half the time, in the aftermath of a fight, we’ll decide the issue wasn’t even that important, so we each let it go in favor of maintaining our closeness with each other. We just can’t stand to have anything between us.

Like I said, our relationship dynamic is weird. I don’t know any other couple in our circles that operates this way, that places as much of an emphasis on feelings and communication. But it works for us. I would never trade it for a relationship that appears fine on the surface but in their hearts, the two are strangers.

We have no kids yet, so I can’t answer to that. Sorry if this is TMI or just totally unhelpful!

ETA: By fight, I don’t mean screaming and throwing things…I mean temper-driven arguments rather than disagreements; the kind where you’re lashing out because you’re just mad, so you say things you regret. There have been some raised voices and the occasional slammed door, but neither of us have EVER screamed at the other or called them names or gotten physical. Those things are taboo in our house kinda by default.

We rarely disagree to the point of irritation. I think that irritation is actually repressed resentment, and resentment is poison to a relationship. So 1) don’t practice irritation, and 2) air these things out. [name_m]Say[/name_m] “This is starting to irritate me, and I’m afraid I’m moving into resentment, let’s clear it up before it goes any farther.” Avoid resentment at all costs–not by ignoring it, but by dealing with it–and you’ll see the irritation melt away. Also, remember that your partner is not perfect, and that’s OK. You don’t have to think their failings are “so cute,” and you don’t have to worry whether you chose the wrong partner because dishes are constantly left in the sink. You (both) need to see the other as an autonomous and authentic human being.

I think bickering is a bad habit for couples, and we try to avoid it. Bickering, to me, is completely unproductive, and only makes both parties feel worse. My husband and I probably have what could be called a “fight” or “argument” maybe once a month (usually he says, “we’re not fighting, we’re just talking about this stuff, and it’s good that we’re talking about it.”). Sometimes the discourse can become passionate, but we work really hard to remain respectful of each other and open to hearing what the other is saying. We’re not perfect, we fail a lot, but it’s something we both constantly work at.

It is so important to work disagreements out. We are pretty good about bringing things up before they get to the point of resentment, and dealing with them completely. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree, yes, but it’s always from a place of respect rather than bitterness. My sweet husband sometimes says to me, when we are both exhausted from disagreement, “no matter what, nothing will change how much I love you.” It’s the absolute best gift he’s given me, because it comes from a place of deep respect, commitment, and love.

We dated 10 years before getting married (2.5 years married), and we did not live together before marriage. Our rate of fights/arguments/disagreements has remained fairly steady throughout–although I must say, we have not always been so good about addressing issues as they arise. Earlier in our relationship, I especially had a tendency to withhold what was bothering me until it exploded unexpectedly and awkwardly, and he had a tendency to not admit to himself that he was bothered about something until the same thing happened to him. When we got married, there was a significant and sudden change to the nature of our “fights.” Because when you’re dating (I don’t know if this is true for couples who live together/have kids before marriage), there’s always that question of “what if this is the fight that breaks us up?” But when you’re married, you’re committed for the long haul. You don’t want to drag all this baggage with you for the next (hopefully!) 65 years, so you try to neutralize problems before they become chronic. I remember shortly after getting married, we were in the middle of an important decision and I didn’t like the way he was leaning, and he said, “I need you to support me on this” and I realized…I’m his WIFE. Wives support their husbands always but ESPECIALLY when they are feeling out on a limb and needing some support. And vice versa, of course–but as it was ultimately his decision (work related), I realized that more important to me than getting what I wanted was having a husband who felt 100% supported at home.

We have some reoccurring issues, some new issues. Usually the new issues have some basis in our “core” weaknesses (my insecurity and callousness, his avoidance and rationalizing), but again–since we try not to let small issues become big issues, that is a little bit to be expected. Marriage, more than anything–except maybe parenthood, once it arrives–challenges me to be a better person. My husband told me once, as I was attacking myself in a bout of self-pity, “[name_m]Don[/name_m]'t say those awful things about yourself, because you are my wife, and when you say those things about yourself, you are saying them about me.” It absolutely blew my mind. We are one unit now, not two, so there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that. If he’s leaving dirty dishes in the sink, I have two options. 1) Shame him directly or indirectly for being a slob. 2) Recognize the role I’m playing in his behavior in my lack of authentic communication about how it bothers me. Work on what I can actually change (myself), and trust him as the responsible man I married to actually respond to me.

So I guess it all comes down to: avoid resentment, practice respect and responsibility.

capturedcastle – I don’t want to quote your entire post, but I agree with all of it! You explained things way better than I did, haha. Granted, I think my husband and I take more of an emotional approach, but for the most part we handle things in the same way. My husband says the same thing about our disagreements having nothing to do with his love for me, and I find it very validating. He also tells me, “I’m not afraid of your emotions,” which is very meaningful for me, because past relationships and family experiences had taught me that crying was manipulative and disgusting, and if I wanted to be understood, I had to remove all emotion from the equation and express myself logically and rationally. So my husband giving me “permission” to be emotional, and being willing to express his own emotions to me, is one of the most healing things anyone has ever done for me.

We’ve only been married for 2 1/2 years so maybe it’ll be different in a few years, but we really don’t “fight”. I’m not the screaming type and neither is he.
We get irritated with each other every once in a while (max once a week I’d say, usually stuff that can just be let go), and we’ve had a couple tense conversations–sort of “this has bothered me and I don’t feel like I can just let it go and I need to express this, please listen” with explanations between us. We’ve yet to come to something where we outright have opposite opinions and a mutual decision needs to be made. Not looking forward to it, but I think we’ve got a firm respect for each other that will help us weather eventual larger disagreements.

Regarding “fighting” being good for you…I don’t know. I think it depends on your personality. Irritation and disagreement with respectful words may be one couples form of fighting, but not work at all for another. Another couple may be able to handle much louder and angrier fights without it tearing them apart. I just don’t think it’s necessarily fact that if you don’t fight your relationship is unhealthy. Sure bottling things up and never discussing anything negative isn’t a good thing, but some people simply have less dramatic personalities and don’t need to take things as far or they haven’t run into issues where they’re unable to find common ground quickly.

Re: @Capturedcastle irritation/resentment
I agree with you about dealing with things before they get to the point of resentment.
It’s a fine line knowing how far to let things go before it’s something worthy of being mentioned. What should just be grace and not a big deal and what can you not stand if it keeps happening.

@sleepysessha - thank you! I really admire your more “emotional” approach as well…I grew up in an environment where emotions were invalid, so it’s been a lot of work to get to where I am right now. The thought of being completely open absolutely terrifies me; thank goodness I have a lifetime with a trusted partner to work on peeling back those layers one by one, and the more I do it, the more I realize it is not scary but powerful and healing.

@kayla_way - yes “grace” is such an appropriate word!

I’m wondering now if we’re abnormal or if only the good thinking mature couples are replying.

Husband and I fight a lot. We don’t scream or throw things, well, almost never, I smashed a bowl once because he drove me up the wall. We fight and then the air’s clean, it’s like a thunder storm. I love fighting, it clears my head. We don’t fight because we’re more annoyed with each other than other people, we fight because that’s how we work through things. Emotions are validated, we know we love each other, but fighting works for us. But we’re passionate physical people, we express ourselves through actions more than words. I don’t think artists can be calm, collected and poised during disagreements. And I honestly think I’d feel less loved if he didn’t fight with me… We don’t bicker too much though. I’ve become used to the fact that he’s unable to throw his laundry into the basket, and he’s fine with the occasional spilling of tea in bed. We have separate bathrooms, that probably helps a lot. I don’t think we fight more after Roo came along… I think it’s about the same. We’ve only had one huge fight in the time we’ve been together (almost two and a half years).

My SO and I rarely even argue. The arguing definitely hit it’s peak in the first few weeks of moving in together, but has since cooled off.

He tends to walk away when we begin to argue, which is good, but it drives me even more crazy =P He always comes back when he has thought things through (usually after an hour or so) and then we can talk about whatever it is that is bothering us!

See that’s what I mean about different personalities needing different things. I would absolutely HATE to fight often, even the tame ‘fights’ we’ve had make me tense and over-analytical. Fighting doesn’t make me feel loved, it makes me feel like something’s wrong that I had a part in making wrong. And even after a fight I don’t feel like the air is clear I feel like…well, I’m glad that’s over, what can I do to keep that drama from happening again. I really detest drama (in almost any form), it feels so unnecessary and interruptive. DH has said that one of the reasons he doesn’t bring up a lot of smaller things is because he knows I’m 10 times harder on myself than he is, and he knows adding his 2 cents all the time would probably make me a basket-case!

I’m also thinking we’re quite abnormal after reading these posts :slight_smile:

My fiancé and I argue ALL THE TIME. We are both extremely opinionated, stubborn, and quick tempered people and so we express those parts of our personality to each other because we are in a relationship where it is safe to do so. We don’t typically scream or throw things, though our arguments are probably a lot more heated than the average couple’s.

Personally, I LIKE that we fight. I’ve been in relationships before where the lack of arguments and intellectual/emotional push and pull left me feeling quite bored and unfulfilled. I need a partner who can challenge me and one of the ways in which my fiancé does is through arguing. Whether it’s about politics, what house we should buy, his overbearing mother, or me singing while I do housework, we can argue/fight about it and let all our feelings and opinions be known in a cathartic way. Once we are done fighting and everything’s out in the open we go back to snuggling on the couch and everything’s fine. It’s definitely not how every couple is but it works just fine for us.

We went to premarital counselling which I think really helped our relationship. It just helped us establish roles and expectations, our financial and parental goals and things like that. I highly recommend it if you are, or are planning on, living together.

Yes, we argue. Or rather, I argue and [name_u]Corey[/name_u] just waits til I’m done arguing. It is usually just me feeling emotional & taking it out on him (because he is so patient and I feel safe with him and I know I can vent at him and he will still love me). It never lasts long, we rarely argue about anything major, and we don’t bring up stuff from the past or anything like that. I realize I am being immature, but in the heat of the moment, damnit I just want to be HEARD.

It totally helps to know as well what your MBTI personality profiles are. If you have never taken the MBTI test just google it & you can take it free on the internet. My type is ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Percieving) and [name_u]Corey[/name_u]'s is INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). So basically my type, ENFP, is outgoing, and I make my decisions based on emotions and “gut feelings”. I’m a people-person, I get excited about things easily and I like change and variety. And [name_u]Corey[/name_u]'s type, INTJ, is very logical and matter-of-fact. He plans things out, and really thinks out every possible scenario when he makes his decisions. He is rather shy and quiet, and he likes structure and efficiency.
I think he loves me because I keep things interesting for him, and I love him because he keeps me grounded.
If you find out your types, you can find out all sorts of things about how best to communicate with one another, jobs that suit you, your relationship styles and what your parenting styles will be and things like that.

Sorry if that seems off topic, but I do think it is really helpful!

Not abnormal. I just think that if my husband and I fought a lot it would not work. He is not that passionate emotional person, but I am. If we both were, we’d kill each other. He brings me back to the more rational and helps me see why I’m upset which usually isn’t what I’m riled up about.

[name_f]Every[/name_f] relationship has it’s own [name_u]MO[/name_u]. The important part is to find a method of communicating that works for the two of you. It would be worse to not express yourself at all.

[name_f]Ottilie[/name_f], I hope it wasn’t a pretty bowl :wink: I’ve been known to scream into pillows :slight_smile:

No, I agree with you katieydenberg. I’m an ISTJ (exactly opposite of you, lol!) so it makes sense that our styles in such things would be different. It’s great that you make the effort to understand your DH’s differences. Many extroverts tend to downgrade the feelings of introverts because they aren’t as vibrantly expressed. I can assure you our feelings and emotions are just as strong, we just manage them differently.

I’m not married, but I have to add my two cents.
I agree that the occasional fight is healthy, and disagreements and arguments are just a part of being in a relationship- but my parents used to fight a lot when I was young. It scared me and I never understood it. My mom would try and calmly tell me that couples need to fight and so that idea got into my head. She would tell me that they were happy, and if they didn’t fight all the time it wouldn’t be a real relationship. She and I talked recently, her admitting how wrong she was.
Now more than 15 years later my parents no longer fight. My mom says they ‘solved things’ somehow, which I distinctly remember being one last big blow out. They argue a bit and disagree a lot, but it never gets to fighting anymore.
[name_m]Even[/name_m] though I do not live with them anymore, I was so much more content at home after they stopped fighting. I used to walk on eggshells half of my childhood because there was almost always tension in the air. Because they told me they were happy/ were not going to get divorced I believed it. But now I can see it, and I know that it is much healthier.

[name_m]Just[/name_m] thought I would chime in… [name_m]Even[/name_m] “non violent” fighting really affects the kids. I often wonder if I do not have the best conflict skills because of how my parents used to fight.

My husband and I have known each other for over 14 years, so we have grown up together and generally have similar opinions about many things, but other things we are polar opposites.

In answer to your first question, quite often. [name_m]Both[/name_m] my husband and I are reasonably opinionated people and we disagree, we always have. I’m always irritated with him, dirty clothes left in the middle of the kitchen, toilet seat up, you know the usual… But I’m not someone who really holds grudges, so our little disagreements are over as quick as they began. We hardly ever get to the point of tears, unless it’s at that time of the month where I am particularly cranky.

Having kids hasn’t really made us fight more than we used to. Our lives have pretty much continued the same way since having them.
I think the key to kids not affecting the nature of your relationship is to decide how you want to raise them before you have your first one. Of course you can’t think ahead about everything, but we decided on punishments that we would use, ages when they are expected to start cleaning up after themselves, when they would be allowed to do certain “grown up things” and what not. I wrote it all down, so we have a reference, but I’m just a super, crazy control freak, so our strategy would not work for everyone. I think knowing where you both stand in regard to certain issues is a great way to side step fighting over your children. [name_m]Jack[/name_m] and I also decided long ago that all the decisions we make about the children we make together, and also openly communicate if something is wrong. It’s definitely not the recipe for success, and only time will tell but for the past 2 years out plan seems to have worked!

When I got married, my mum told me that her and my dad had always stuck by the rule of, “if your disagreeing and it’s getting heated, hold each others hands” I thought it was absolute rubbish, but one day I decided to try it and it worked, it’s really hard to be angry at the person you love when your holding their hand!

All in all, I think it’s quite healthy to disagree, bottling things up can only lead to trouble in my experience. I don’t know about everyone else, but I would get incredibly bored if I were in the honeymoon stage of my relationship forever. You don’t really get to know a person unless you know what they don’t like. And going against the grain a little, but I really don’t think it’s that bad for children to see their parents argue either, talking about a disagreement not an all out guns blazing war, children have to grow up in a world full of disagreements so seeing it at home can only make them more well-rounded, adaptable people, I don’t really want my boys growing up in a bubble full of rainbows and baby animals.

I think I’m the opposite of everyone else on having kids. We fight so much more now that we have kids. Before kids I think it was easier to just air issues but we try not to argue in front of them or get on each other’s case. Now when we get a chance to sit down and talk we tend to have more issues that come up. Also right after having a baby when sleep deprivation is at it’s highest then we fight a lot because we’re just plain exhausted. I’d say we have an argument about once a week. Nothing super nasty with screaming or throwing stuff but disagreeing and airing grievances. We always work it out within an hour or so. A big fight happens rarely. I’m not sure about a timeline on it though because it’s not like it’s evenly spaced but probably a few times a year.
Before we were married or had kids we didn’t fight much at all. But we could talk about stuff more freely, weren’t routinely exhausted and had less things to disagree about. [name_f]One[/name_f] thing we both try to do is always back up the other one with the kids. So even if I don’t agree I’ll back up my husband’s choices and he’ll back up mine.