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Do You Argue About the Same Thing All the Time?

Posted by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 11:24 AM
  • 2 Replies

How to Stop Having the Same Fight Before It Ends Your Relationship

couple argument

Whether you've been together with your partner for one year or 10+, chances are there's something you each do that really bugs the other. Hopefully it's something small. (Like he always leaves his empty coffee mug on the back of the toilet.) But ... it could be something very, very big. Like maybe he wants to go to church and you don't. Or he's pro-life and you're like, "Uh. No." And then what?

Research shows that a whopping 69 percent of issues that life partners face can't ever be worked out. That's right. No compromise. No concession. Whatever major thorn is in your side just keeps digging in deeper.

"In my opinion, these irresolvable issues are based on individual difference in personalities and needs," says Venus Rouhani, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationship, couples, and family counseling and the author of The No-No List: How to Spot Mr. Wrong So You Can Find Mr. Right.

Some problems truly are non-negotiable -- things that we simply can't tolerate in another person, or traits that "trigger" us in some way. For instance, says Rouhani, "someone who grew up in a chaotic family with no consistency who has to control every aspect of her life will get triggered badly by an impulsive, 'whatever goes' personality."

These non-negotiable arguments are "the ones that cause gridlock in a relationship," Rouhani says. "And the majority of relationships that struggle with the non-negotiable are the ones that break up or continue as a miserable relationship."

But!

A big portion of perpetual problems can be conquered, Rouhani believes.

Here's how to stop 'em before they derail your LTR:

Step 1. Stop trying to change your partner. All that nagging isn't helping, huh? So stop already! "If you try to change another person, you're telling them that he or she is somehow defective or not good enough," Rouhani points out. "That puts you on unequal ground, and that is a bad place for a relationship to stand."

Step 2. Accept your partner as is. Instead of seeing your differences as "right or "wrong," explains Rouhani, simply view them as different perspectives. Tomato, to-mah-to.

"Nobody wants to be wrong, and defending your ground is what keeps the conflict going," she says. Once your differences normalize, then you'll be more prone to compromise. 

Step 3. Pick a strategy that works for you. Once you've stopped trying to get your partner to do X -- and accepted the fact that his doing X isn't wrong, it's just different than what you want -- you need to put those choices into action.

In other words: "You need to be willing to either ignore without judgment or embrace wholeheartedly," Rouhani says. And once you do, you might realize that whatever was previously stuck in your craw wasn't such a big deal. And may even have some benefits.

But let's back up a sec. What if you and your SO are dealing with one of those aforementioned "non-negotiable" issues? Maybe he thinks gambling is totally okay, and you're like, Uh, you just lost our life savings and that is not f***g okay. Or, who knows, maybe it's an issue that seems small on paper but enormous in your heart.

What then?

Look at the characteristic in question and try to figure out why it's stirring up such huge emotion in you, advises Rouhani. Then ask yourself honestly: "If my partner has this characteristic for the rest of our life together, can I tolerate it, without ever trying to change it?"

If your answer is no, you're dealing with a deal breaker.

"Unfortunately, I have no magical solution to these issues," Rouhani admits. Long-term therapy might help make them more tolerable, but the reality is, she adds, "these are the ones that usually cause breakups."

Do you argue about the same thing all the time?

by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 11:24 AM
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Replies (1-2):
lachica
by on Apr. 1, 2016 at 12:14 PM

My DH and I have been married for 14 years and have 2 beautiful girls.  We have had the same fight our entire marriage and have nearly divorced a few times over it.  The fight...my DH wants to have sex ALL THE TIME.  And I am happy with once or twice a week.  Plus he likes to grope all the time.  This is very annoying to me.  For a lot of years, I tried to make him happy every day but I was not enjoying myself and he could tell. I always say it is the quality not the quantity. But he wants them both.  So now we have come to a point where he sleeps on the couch because if we don't do IT he does not even sleep in our bed.  He complains a lot that I don't love him or even like him because I don't show him enough affection.  He sometimes starts to think I am cheating on him (which I would never do). He thinks he is sacrificing the marriage he always envisioned by being with me.  I feel bad, not fulfilling his needs but I feel like once a week after 14 years together should be enough.   And let me also add, I do almost everything else to run our household, including working full time, doing all of our finances, all dr appoitments, all car related needs, cooking and cleaning.  He cleans and cooks very occationally and thats about it. And we live pay check to paycheck so I am always stressed about money.  He does not seem to care about money or the bills or if they get paid.  This will always be an issue in our marriage.  Anyone else have this issue?

Jinxed8
by Gold Member on Apr. 4, 2016 at 11:52 AM

my Ex causes the bulk of fights that happen between DH and I.   Sadly there's not much I can do about it. My ex is a first class JackAss who's life mission is to make my life miserable.  He's using DD as a tool to make that happen and he knows that when DD is involved I go into Angry mama bear mode and I will react.  I don't hide anything from DH so when ever something happens with my Ex - I tell DH and of course it leads to talking about it, it infringing on our time in our home, in our couple, our marriage etc etc

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