Coexisting peacefully with another human being is difficult even at the best of times. We all have our personal preferences, tastes, needs, desires, fears, insecurities and habits. So when it comes time to spend a good part of every week and even every single day with someone else, it’s just a matter of time before there’s some kind of disagreement. Something’s bound to upset one or both people down the road. This is particularly true when there’s mutual passion and emotions are flying through the roof, e.g. in a romantic relationship.
Fights will break out over all sorts of things, and that is nothing to fear – it’s just the normal course of life. There are some common themes, certain common reasons for fights that keep popping up in nearly every relationship. If you know how to deal with the situation it can go over relatively painlessly, most of the potential damage put under control and end with an apology and effective solution.
1. “Why do I always have to initiate sex?”
Intimacy is a big part of any relationship. We are, in essence, sexual beings, but there can be differences sex drive between partners. There are also the issues of stress, bad mood and lack of time. You’ll often find that one partner takes the initiative more readily, and at some point it can start to feel like the other person is disinterested. One of the most common arguments related to sex are about frequency and one partner rarely initiating, while the other one feels like he or she has to virtually beg for it. You should have a serious talk with your partner and try to remedy these issues before getting frustrated. Although in some cases it may be that the attraction is waning, a lot of the time the other partner may be actually throwing small signs your way from time to time.
It may also be that they’ve gotten used to the situation and feel more comfortable with you initiating – if they are up for it most times you initiate, then they just might be uncomfortable or guess that you may not be in the mood as you haven’t initiated it yourself. As with most things in a relationship, this comes down to effective communications, so be open yet tactful when discussing your feelings. There are some useful tips for both men and women if you just aren’t sure how to approach the subject gracefully.
2. “You’re spending an awful lot of time with this “friend” of yours”
Jealousy is one of the biggest relationships killers. Everyone will get a bit jealous at times, this just shows that you are passionate about the other person and don’t suffer fools lightly, but once it becomes a daily occurrence you’ve gotten out of line. If your partner can’t go out for drinks with friends without you calling 5 times, if you’re being overly possessive when anyone is around him or her and if you often fight about such matters, then it’s time to look at yourself and deal with your issues. Let your partner see that you are making an effort to improve your behaviour, and try to make small steps forward. Work on your sense of self-worth by looking objectively on your life, take up a physical activity that will help you boost confidence, talk to a therapist and look for support. If your significant other is being overbearing and very jealous point this out to him or her – don’t be too subtle about it, but try to convey your feelings without getting overly emotional.
3. “We can’t have nice things because you keep wasting our money”
Fights can break out because of financial issues with an alarming frequency. It can be that we are trying to live a bit above our means or that one partner is indulging in shopping sprees and affording themself certain luxuries, while the other is left out, or the home budget suffers and both get deeper in debt. There should be a bit of compromise, and one partner will most likely have to give up plenty of ground, but you can start by creating a somewhat strict budget that allows for all the basics to be covered – e.g. credit payments, groceries and bills – while still leaving some money aside to spend on luxuries every month or couple of months.
If you’ve got too many different credit cards to pay off, you can try using certain services that allow you to consolidate your debt, i.e. you get some first-hand advice and roll all your debt into one bundle with one creditor to make things easier to track. Make sure you are both on the same page, and understand that one partner, the more responsible one, will have to be a bit more lenient. This partner will need to work on balancing the budget while the shopaholic will need to work on controlling those impulses.
4. “Would it kill you to, for once, clean up after yourself?”
The little chores around the house tend to always fall on one partner more than the other, and it can get to the point where the other is so used to it that he or she starts behaving like a huge slob. Expending a lot of energy to keep everything clean only to see that someone doesn’t care enough to wash a couple of plates or make the bed can be like a slap to the face. At that moment try controlling that anger and distance yourself so you can blow off some steam before starting a conversation. Unless you’re both tidy, one is going to be doing most of the work simply because he or she cares more and is bothered by such things.
Just try to make a strong argument about how it is important to you, and if you are the slob and it upsets your partner don’t argue about it – just start picking up after yourself and doing a bit of cleaning from time to time. Don’t make it a huge deal and let your actions do the talking.
5. “Why can’t we ever do something that I want to do?”
When you have a partner who you want to keep happy on top of having to deal with work and a bunch of chores, there is precious little time left to have fun or just kick back and relax. The more dominant partner often gets his or her way, and the other can’t get to spend their free time doing what they want. Instead of starting with the accusations or responding aggressively to such a comment, try diverting attention to the issue with some subtlety, and work on a list of things that you would enjoy doing.
Don’t try finding something you both enjoy, as that is rarely going to happen, but rather have days where the focus is on your partner and then other days when the focus is on you. You can even do your own separate things – one goes to yoga or dancing classes, and the other can go hang out with some friends and play video games or go fishing.
6. “I don’t want to watch that stupid show again”
Making a TV schedule that both partners can be content with is nearly impossible. Words like these should not be uttered, instead opt for something like: “How about we watch something I choose this time, that show is kind of boring to me and I’d really like to watch something else. I’ll make it up to you”. If however someone does throw a fit about it, try compromising and let the other person choose. You can watch a show on Netflix while a big live game is on, or schedule some TV time between the two of you. You should start working out a plan and talking about options, instead of getting heated and yelling, which won’t lead you anywhere.
7. “I’m tired of having to walk the dog and run after the kids all day by myself”
Even if there is no clear stay-at-home partner, one might be busier, work weird hours or even take their work home with them and lock themselves in their home office, which means the other gets most of the responsibility with the pets and/or kids. Remember that such arguments start because the other person is very tired and stressed out, so try to be the calm and collected one, even if that means letting them vent their frustrations out on you for a few minutes. Do not tell them to calm down or start getting upset yourself – let them calm down gradually and then offer to help more. You can learn from tactics used when dealing with an aggravated customer. You can also work out an agreement, e.g. the tidier one can focus on household chores, while the other can focus on walking the dog, preparing dinner for the kids or taking them to the park.
Being in a loving relationship is all about letting little things go, understanding what your partner needs and keeping a relatively level head during arguments. Just try to focus on the problem at hand without bringing up other things or digging up an issue from the past. That way you can allow the other person to vent, work something out and make some improvements in the future.