7 Effective Ways To Resolve Arguments In Relationship

Because altercations and disagreements may be inevitable but solving them isn't.

Reviewed by Dan Auerbach, Psychotherapist & Relationship Counselor Dan Auerbach Dan AuerbachPsychotherapist & Relationship Counselor linkedin_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Shivani Chandel MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Last Updated on

It is quite common and normal to have arguments in relationships. Of course, arguments are not limited to couples; they can be between a father and son, a brother and sister, or between colleagues. They are part and parcel of all relationships.

Arguments let our real emotions out and help us build a stronger relationship when we work towards a resolution together. Frequent quarrels are a mere reflection of our humanness. However, they should never turn distressing or disturb your mental peace. It is okay to disagree in a relationship; healthy and respectful arguments help us grow. They help us understand where we are wrong and what needs to be changed. In this article, we look at different types of arguments and arguers between couples and how to sort out differences peacefully. Continue reading to know more.

Types Of Arguments

The arguments you have with your partner and how you resolve them tell a lot about the true nature of your relationship. While arguments on topics like finances, sex, children, household responsibilities, etc., are common in all relationships, excessive fighting over minor issues could be an indication of deeper underlying issues between partners.

Consider the example of a couple frequently arguing over household chores. This might not just be about the chores themselves but could signify deeper issues of perceived inequality or lack of appreciation within the relationship.

Statistics on couples’ arguments from a 2022 YouGov poll conducted among 1,000 American adults revealed that approximately 30% argued once a week or more, while 32% argued once or multiple times per year. The study also delved into the types of unhealthy behaviors exhibited during arguments, such as raising voices, giving the silent treatment, swearing, or name-calling. Notably, 5% mentioned physical altercations in all or most fights.

Here are a few types of arguments that commonly take place between couples:

1. Arguments Over Finances

Money is said to be among the most common topics that couples fight over. You may feel that your partner is a shopaholic and spends too much money on frivolous things, while your partner may think that you are too miserly and don’t allow them to enjoy their life by splurging on small pleasures.

Partners may also have differing views on saving and investing. One spouse may be more willing to invest in the stock market, while the other may feel safer keeping their money in a savings bank account. More often than not, one spouse earns more than the other and might feel they should have more control over the family finances.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Couples can use a joint account for payment of home utility bills and other expenses while maintaining a separate account for their spending.

2. Having The Same Arguments Repeatedly

Have you ever noticed that you end up arguing about the same thing again and again? Recycling arguments is unhealthy as it simply leads to more frustration and resentment. You might find yourself arguing about your partner’s spending habits frequently, or they may be complaining about your parents’ interference in your marriage yet again.

If you and your partner fight about the same topics over and over again, it might be a sign of more serious underlying issues in your relationship.

3. Fights Over Sex

It is believed that most couples experience some conflict regarding sex in their relationship at one point or another. Discussing their sexual needs can be very triggering for some people. Not having your sex and intimacy needs met can be frustrating and lead to fights.

Often, one partner has a higher sex drive and may be dissatisfied with the frequency of sexual intercourse in the relationship, while the other partner with a lower sex drive may feel pressured to have sex even when they don’t want to. If left unresolved for long, sexual issues in a relationship can start impacting other facets of your life as well.

4. Fights Over Family Members

If you and your partner have children together, then it would come as no surprise if many of your arguments revolve around them. Couples may also fight about whether to have kids or not. If you already have them, then you might disagree on how to raise them, what to feed them, which school to send them to, etc.

Arguing over other family members is also inevitable. Do you find your partner’s mother too overbearing? Does your partner feel it is irresponsible of your brother to get drunk at family gatherings in front of the kids? Do you think it is condescending of your spouse’s wealthy sister to give you expensive gifts in front of your middle-class siblings? When it comes to family members, there can be many points of contention between you two.

5. Debates Over Politics Or Other Intellectual Topics

Besides the more personal topics like kids, family, and finances, a surprising number of couples argue incessantly about topics like politics and religion. Politics can be a polarizing topic.

If you have chosen to marry someone whose political ideology differs from yours, then fighting about such issues is unavoidable. However, these political debates need not be emotionally draining for either party if both of you choose to take a detached, intellectual approach.

6. Fighting Over Minor Things

While it is true that occasional arguments are inevitable in a relationship, too much fighting and bickering over minor things may point towards deeper issues in the relationship. This incessant bickering over trivial matters often masks underlying problems such as lack of emotional connection or unaddressed personal grievances. If little issues come up again and again without getting resolved, you and your partner may have communication problems.

Constantly fighting over small things like what to cook for dinner, which brand of detergent to buy, or where your dirty clothes go can be detrimental to your relationship in the long run.

7. Screaming And Yelling

Fighting fair and having healthy arguments are important. If you, your partner, or both resort to yelling and screaming during arguments, it could be damaging for your mental health and your relationship. Engaging in such high-intensity conflict can escalate the situation, leading to a breakdown in communication and, more importantly, to emotional harm.

Yelling at each other, screaming obscenities, and even throwing things around are signs of an unhealthy, abusive relationship. Yelling is not a constructive way to deal with a difficult situation and does not lead to positive outcomes.

8. Criticism

Criticism delivered in the heat of the moment can pierce the heart of a relationship. Unlike constructive feedback, which highlights particular actions with an aim to improve, criticism attacks a person’s character, actions and personality, leaving wounds that linger and slowly dissipate trust. Furthermore, criticizing someone without thinking can put some words out there that can never be taken back. Before you start criticizing, take a moment to consider what you are actually trying to convey. Avoid generalizations and focus on particular incidents to express what they made you feel. Use “I” statements and own your emotions to avoid the blame-game. It is important to focus on the root of the issues causing the conflict rather than blanket attacking your partner and making them feel bad.

Just like there are different types of arguments, there are different kinds of arguers as well. Let us delve deeper into this.

A man and woman arguing
Image: Shutterstock

7 Types Of Arguers

People have different arguing styles, and it is important to identify your and your partner’s styles to be able to resolve your arguments in a healthy manner. Here are the 7 major types of arguers:

1. The Criticizer

These people are highly critical of their partners and might even end up getting verbally or physically abusive.

Example: “You are the most disgusting person I have ever known!”

2. The Disrespectful Arguer

Some partners tend to become disrespectful or disregarding the other’s feelings or opinions while arguing.

Example: Not listening to what your partner is saying, ignoring their opinions, etc.

3. The Digger

This type of arguer always brings up past issues while fighting and refuses to resolve the present issue.

Example: “This is not the first time you have forgotten to pay the electricity bill.”

4. The Controller

Some people are control freaks and dominate their partners in every possible way.

Example: “Why didn’t you ask me before going out with your friend?”

5. The Victim

Certain people tend to play the victim card in most of their arguments with their partners.

Example: “I didn’t listen to my parents when they told me not to marry you. Now I am suffering.”

6. The Defender

Sometimes partners start blaming each other for their relationship issues and defend their own shortcomings by projecting them onto their partners.

Example: “I am the one who is earning more, so I don’t have to ask you before buying anything.”

7.  The Wall

Certain people withdraw into themselves and stop talking to their partners when they don’t want to discuss the issue at hand.

Example: Refusing to talk or shutting yourself in a room when your partner says they want to discuss something important.

Now that we know about the different types of arguments and different kinds of arguers, let us try to understand why arguments occur in the first place.

Why Do Couples Argue?

There are many common reasons why couples argue. Here are a few:

1. High Expectations

Some people have unrealistically high expectations from their partners, and their unmet expectations lead to frustration and fights.

2. Shifting The Blame

Not everyone is brave enough to accept the blame for their shortcomings and tend to shift the blame onto their partners.

3. Dysfunctional Relationships

Frequent arguments are common in dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships where one or both partners are emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive to the other one.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Dysfunctional relationships of parents often set a wrong example in front of their children which might affect their future romantic relationships.

4. Communication Gaps

A simple failure to communicate properly can lead to frequent arguments between couples, leading to long-term resentment.

5. Unshared Responsibilities

Making a relationship work, especially one where kids are involved, is a major responsibility. When the sharing of household chores between couples is inequitable, arguments arise.

6. Trivial Triggers

When a couple is already burdened with stress in their personal or professional lives, they get triggered easily and may fight over trivial issues that they might have overlooked earlier.

Yes, fighting is a part of relationships, but it does not have to be emotionally distressing for couples. Here is how to resolve conflicts amicably with your partner.

A man and woman resolving a conflict amicably
Image: Shutterstock

Fight Fair: How Successful Couples Do It

All couples fight, including happy ones who deeply love each other. What differentiates the successful couples from the rest is how they fight. Yes, it is possible to argue amicably while maintaining the sanctity of the relationship. Here is how:

1. Be Respectful

Maintain decorum even while arguing and treat your partner with respect and compassion. Don’t raise your voice or shout at them. Talk in a calm, composed tone.

2.  Set A Pre-Fixed Time

Allot a 30-minute time slot to discuss your most pressing issue. Keep your communication direct and try to come up with a solution that is acceptable to both of you within this time frame.

3. Attack The Issue, Not Each Other

Talk about the problem without resorting to blaming each other. Remember that you are a team working together to resolve the issues in the relationship. Don’t call each other names or play the “blame game.”

4. Agree To Disagree

You and your partner don’t have to agree on everything, especially when it comes to minor things like what to order for dinner or which brand of dog food to buy. It is fine to disagree on certain things without being disrespectful to the other person.

5. Stay With The Issue At Hand

If you are trying to talk to your spouse about their hard partying ways that tend to disrupt your family life, keep your discussion limited to the topic. This is not the right time to drag in your problems with your spouse’s interfering parents.

6. Don’t Downplay The Issue

If your partner feels you are not spending much time with the kids, don’t downplay the issue by stating that you have been working long hours. Listen to their grievances with an open mind and assure them that you will soon work out a way.

7. Direct And Open Communication

Many arguments and misunderstandings arise due to miscommunication. Make it a point to have open discussions with your partner. Get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations with them. Work together as a team and prioritize honest, direct communication.

Now, let’s talk about arguments in a long-distance relationship.

How To Deal With Arguments In A Long-Distance Relationship?

Long-distance relationships are more complicated due to the distance involved. Adopt these measures to argue amicably with your long-distance love:

  • Don’t fight over text. Instead, get on a video call and discuss the issue.
  • Be direct and communicate clearly with your partner as misunderstandings due to communication gaps are common in long-distance relationships.
  • If your partner has hurt you in any way, let them know immediately and clarify the situation.
  • Trust your partner wholeheartedly if they have never given you a reason to suspect them.
  • While arguing, stay on the topic at hand and resist the temptation to drag in other unresolved issues.
  • Work on being a good listener and give your partner the time and space to clarify themselves.

We now know that conflicts are unavoidable in relationships. But is arguing healthy? Find out in the next section.

Is Arguing Healthy In A Relationship?

It is not considered healthy or natural to never fight. In fact, not arguing at all could point to some serious issues in the relationship. Conversely, it is also unhealthy to be in a relationship where arguments are constant and intense, as this can create a toxic environment. It could be an indicator of a lack of investment in the relationship. So, yes, occasional arguments in a relationship can be healthy if the people involved fight fair while continuing to be respectful towards each other.

Being in a relationship with someone entails having differences of opinions at times. However, frequent arguments marked with screaming and yelling are characteristics of unhealthy, toxic, and abusive relationships.

Arguments in relationships are inevitable, and it can be good to let out pent-up feelings. But only occasionally because they negatively impact your physical and mental environment. Moreover, consistently arguing can create a pattern of negative interaction, making it difficult for the relationship to recover and thrive. It is not healthy if you and your close ones are constantly engaged in ugly arguments. Therefore, it is crucial to learn to resolve arguments in relationships using healthy methods.

It might not be easy to walk your way around or talk your way out of arguments in certain circumstances. However, if these situations have started getting out of control, it would be best to seek medical counseling. The key to successful relationships is fighting fair, listening to each other, and resolving issues together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do couples that argue stay together?

Yes. Couples who argue fairly and address the issue instead of dragging it further usually have a satisfying and long-term relationship. They don’t argue to bring each other down but to tackle problems in the best way possible.

Should we break up if we argue all the time?

If you and your partner argue disrespectfully and are verbally abusive, and if the focus is not to find a solution but to insult each other, then the arguments are not healthy. It is best to seek couples therapy to fix this or part ways if you both cannot agree to be respectful in the relationship.

Key Takeaways

  • Arguments over finances, sex, other family member, ideology or even minor and mundane issues are common in relationships.
  • While arguments are not only common but also healthy for relationships, what differentiates successful couples or relationships from unsuccessful ones is the manner in which the arguments are conducted.
  • Having respect for each other while entering an argument, attacking the issue instead of each other, focusing on the issue at hand instead of digging up or dragging in other problems and communicating openly and directly can help to reach a resolution.

Discover ways to stop arguments with your partner in this video. Check it out and find practical tips to diffuse tension and improve communication, promoting a healthier and more harmonious relationship.

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Dan Auerbach
Dan AuerbachPsychotherapist & Relationship Counselor
Dan Auerbach is a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist and a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist for Couples with two decades of experience. He is also the Founder and Co-Director of Associated Counselors & Psychologists, a network offering diverse counseling services across over 40 locations in New South Wales and online​​.

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Shivani Chandel
Shivani ChandelBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Shivani Chandel is a postgraduate in English literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh and a certified relationship coach. She has four years of experience in copy editing and writing about entertainment, health, lifestyle, and beauty.

Read full bio of Shivani Chandel
Shatabdi Bhattacharya
Shatabdi BhattacharyaAssociate Editor
Shatabdi is an associate editor and an alumnus of Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata, where she honed her skills and developed a deep understanding of the world of literature and expression. She has worked with various organizations and websites operating in different industries, ranging from education to lifestyle, showing her adaptability and drive to learn.

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Sneha Tete
Sneha TeteBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Sneha has a master's degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Hyderabad, a professional Relationship Coach diploma, and over four years of experience in writing. She writes about relationships and lifestyle.Sneha began her career as an instructional designer, shifted to freelance technical and research writing, and self-published a novella on the theme of adolescent mental health.

Read full bio of Sneha Tete