Here’s the thing about fights: they’re hardly ever really about what they seem to be about. Instead, they usually have much deeper meanings.
Even the most seemingly perfect couples have their fair share of fights - they’re an inescapable part of being in a romantic relationship. While most of us hate the idea of getting into yet another argument with our guy that ends up solving nothing, it’s unrealistic to think fights can always be avoided.
In the midst of these arguments, it can often feel like our partner is a million miles away from us; we’re constantly arguing past each other, not at all understanding where the other person is coming from or what they’re feeling. We’re inclined to take each other’s complaints at face value, but more often than not, there’s a lot more beneath our surface-level argument.
We’re inclined to take each other’s complaints at face value, but more often than not, there’s a lot more beneath our surface-level argument.
This is compounded by the fact that when we’re angry, it can be difficult to express what we’re really getting at. Sometimes, we don’t even understand it ourselves. This is where taking what our (or our partner’s) argument seems to be about and digging just a little deeper until we hit the crux of it becomes essential.
Here are some common fights between couples, and what they really mean:
1. “You still haven’t done the dishes?”
Or any variant of “Why haven’t you done x?” It’s understandable to immediately go on the defensive when we hear a question like this directed at us, especially because it feels like our work ethic and cleanliness are being attacked, like we’re being called lazy slobs.
But when we hear someone direct this at us, it most often means more than we think. Doing dishes, making a simple dinner, or moving laundry into the dryer are small yet effective ways of letting our partner know we’ve got their back and that we care about making the space we share a nice one. So when we hear this complaint, it’s normally coming from a place of, “Don’t you care about me? I’ve worked really hard all day because I care about you.”
2. “Why don’t we do anything fun anymore?”
Couples usually hit a point after they’ve been dating for quite some time where they can’t remember the last time they went out for a proper date. Evenings spent together for the past few months (or even years) have generally included some kind of chicken dinner and a doctor drama on Netflix. Of course, it’s normal to slow down on somewhat-overpriced-gastropub-burger dates after we’ve gotten used to each other because we no longer have to go to great lengths to impress anymore.
They’re trying to let us know that they don’t feel special to us anymore and that they just want some excitement back in the relationship.
But when we hear our partner say this, they’re trying to let us know that they don’t feel special to us anymore and that they just want some excitement back in the relationship. It’s important that we set aside regular time to have date nights, even after being married for years.
3. “You never let me come hang out.”
There comes a point in every relationship where it feels like we do everything together and share everything: our food, our bed, our friends. And when we’ve hung out with our friends and our significant other in a group setting often enough, it becomes expected that our partner will always be invited to join in on the fun. But sometimes, it’s nice to just have a night out with our friends. This is where an issue may arise if we’re not on the same page as our partner.
Most often, when we hear our significant other complain about not being invited to an outing, it may be because they’ve been feeling lonely lately, unknowingly relying on us to provide friends for them, or they feel that we’re all they really need. The best and most sensitive way to deal with this is to speak openly with them from a place of understanding their loneliness and encourage them to make deep connections separate from us. After all, we can’t be our partner’s only friend.
4. “Why did you like their Instagram post?”
Ah, Instagram. Overly inundated with hundreds of thousands of highly photoshopped pictures of already attractive influencers, it’s almost unavoidable to have a fight surrounding something that one of us liked on Instagram. It can feel like our significant other is policing what we’re looking at when we hear them say this, causing us to dive straight into defense mode, thus creating an ugly fight.
A question like this from our partner might stem from their own insecurity.
But it’s important to understand where a question like this from our partner might stem from. Most often, it’s due to their own insecurity. Instagram is notorious for making its common user feel like a hideous pleb compared to its goddess-level-beautiful influencers, so it’s not difficult to understand where this insecurity comes from. And in all honesty, we probably shouldn’t be liking a bunch of thirst-trap pictures of random pretty people we don’t even know.
It’s rare that a fight is really about what it seems to be about at face value. Human beings are complex creatures, so it can take some time to fully understand each other’s thoughts, feelings, and motives (and to be honest, it’s not always easy to pin our own down). It’s so important to the health of our relationship that we take a moment, during every fight, to ask ourselves: What is this really about?