Disagreements Couples Tend To Have (And How to Solve Them)
Not seeing eye to eye with your partner? Fret not, working through conflicts can really benefit your relationship! We take a look at some common issues couples quibble about, what they really mean, and how to handle them in a healthy way.
By Sam David
This may be shocking to hear, but disagreements are not always bad, especially when you’re in a relationship. “Engaging in conflict isn’t going to end the relationship, it’s avoiding the conflict [that might],” said Michael Batshaw – a New York City-based psychologist who specialises in couples and author of
51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged – in
an online article for independent mental health social network, Psych Central.
Having the opportunity to thrash out your problems and express yourself is important so you both can work on improving the relationship through communication and respecting each other’s boundaries. Also, coming through the other side of a tiff strengthens trust between couples. Here are some disagreements couples find all too familiar, what these conflicts mean, and how to solve them.
All the small things
What happens: Your partner’s loud chewing noises are suddenly really getting to you, or you snap at them when they pace around the house – a seemingly trivial matter that didn’t bother you that much before.
What it really means: If you're nitpicking every little thing about your significant other, chances are there's something else – something bigger – bothering you.
How to fix it: Ask yourself if their bad habits are the real problem here, or if you’re upset at them about a whole other thing. Or maybe you’re just facing issues at work or at home. The point is: You need to take a step back and reevaluate the situation to figure out the real issue.
What happens: Dishes pile up in the sink throughout the day and the next thing you know, you and your partner are bickering over who’s supposed to clean them.
What it really means: Fighting over chores usually means one (or both) of you feels your contributions to the household aren’t being appreciated or recognised.
How to fix it: Talk to each other about your need to be valued and learn how to speak up and ask for help when needed.
The blame game
What happens: The two of you are quick to point fingers when things don’t go as planned – whether it’s a dinner reservation gone wrong or a miscommunication over text.
What it really means: You both have to understand the importance of taking responsibility for getting things done and not relying completely on your other half. Also, you’ve got to learn how to own up to your mistakes.
How to fix it: Avoid the blame game by figuring out what exactly you’re upset about and why you’re so upset. Then, have a think about how to change things now and in the future. Once you’ve done that, have a conversation with your partner and make sure you are both on the same page.
Expectations versus reality
What happens: It’s your anniversary and you can’t wait to see what your partner has in store for you. To your dismay, however, the plans for the evening aren’t that grand. Even worse, there’s no gift! Your mood goes sour and you blow up at your partner.
What it really means: This is all about having unrealistic expectations. You might think: “But we’ve been together for so long, surely he/she knows what I want.” That is the real danger – assuming your partner knows everything about you and thinking they can read your mind.
How to fix it: First, manage your own expectations. Your idea of a grand celebration may be different from your partner’s. And if you’re not sure if you’ll be getting what you want, communicate your needs with your partner and see if you both can plan something together. Any pleasant surprises that come up is a bonus!