Fighting with your boyfriend or husband is never an enjoyable experience in the heat of the moment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean arguing is bad for your relationship. In fact, disagreements can be a way for you and your partner to grow closer and reach a new level of intimacy that you may never have reached before.
That being said, there’s a right way and a wrong way to argue, and while the former might create a new bond in the end, the latter can result in disaster.
Experts say the most common things partners argue about are the small, mundane things that make up our life—who will do the housework, use of social media, paying bills, etc. While we think it’s the big things like infidelity that take up most of our time fighting, it’s actually the everyday parts of life that we end up arguing over the most. Making matters worse, the fact that women and men are naturally wired differently lends itself to misunderstanding. And even though your boyfriend loves you, there are some communication barriers that might make it difficult for him to understand where you’re coming from.
The most common things partners argue about are the small, mundane things that make up our life.
To ensure every argument you have with your boyfriend or husband is productive and brings you closer together, avoid escalating things unnecessarily. These are six common mistakes women make when arguing with their partner:
1. You Call Him Names in the Heat of the Moment
When things get heated, it can be hard to keep a hold of your tongue. But out of respect for your partner, don’t succumb to emotion and call him a name that you might regret later. Name-calling is never productive; it will never help you solve the problem faster, and it will never bring you two closer together. In fact, it will only drive a wedge between you, and you’ll likely regret your words later.
Think about it in the reverse: how would you like it if your boyfriend or husband called you a heinous name while you’re arguing about finances? It would only make you feel unworthy and escalate things to a breaking point. No matter what, refrain from disrespecting your partner.
2. You Keep Past Grievances Bottled Up and Suddenly Unleash Them
As women, we naturally have a higher emotional intelligence than men. This means we tend to be more sensitive, which isn’t inherently good or bad—it’s just how we’re wired. That’s why you see women bottle things up more often than men do. We tend to keep score on things that were said or done to us in the past, while men often just come right out and say they don’t like something, only to forget about it afterward.
Don’t bring up things from the past that he did or said that upset you, especially if they aren't related to what you're talking about right here, right now.
When you’re fighting about something with your partner, stick to that one thing. Don’t bring up things from the past that he did or said that upset you, especially if they aren't related to what you're talking about right here, right now. For example, if you’re arguing about who will clean up the house after all your friends leave, don’t start yelling at him about that one time he abandoned you to go watch the game with his friends and you never told him how upset it made you. Now is not the time to start unleashing all your grievances. Stick to the matter at hand. If you need to have a separate conversation another time about that moment in the past, save it for later.
3. You Go to Sleep Angry at Each Other
This may sound like a cliche at this point, but don’t let the sun go down on your anger, especially if you live together. Studies show we don’t sleep well when we’re angry or stressed, so it’s not good for either of you if you don’t resolve the issue before you go to bed. Additionally, if you let things build up overnight, you never really know what will be waiting for you on the other side of the bed in the morning. Resolve things before you go to bed. Take a break from each other for an hour or two if you need to, but say your apologies and mend things before your head hits the pillow. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and grateful, rather than resentful and angry.
4. You’re Highly Emotional When You Argue
Men tend to be more analytical creatures, and, let’s face it, some of them just freeze when there’s a crying woman in front of them. Again, emotions don’t have an inherent value; they’re not inherently good or bad. It’s all about what you choose to do with them.
Rather than bursting through the door yelling, crying, accusing, and pointing your finger at him, take a minute and gather yourself. Shut yourself in the bedroom, take a walk around the block, or go grab a tea by yourself. Even better, do a breathing exercise to lower your heart rate and regulate your nervous system. Approach the conversation calmly and rationally so you two can find the best way to communicate and solve the problem in front of you. This is the only way you’ll be able to move forward.
5. You Don’t Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions
It’s all too easy to point your finger at your boyfriend or husband and tell him all the things he has done wrong. In fact, that’s the easy way out. But very rarely do we sit down and reflect on the consequences of our own actions.
Part of being an adult is humbling yourself and understanding what you need to take responsibility for.
Part of being an adult is humbling yourself and understanding what you need to take responsibility for. What are you choosing to overlook in your actions? What have you been lying to yourself about? You might find that taking a break from blaming him will allow you to look critically at yourself and figure out what you can do differently in the future. Because, just like your partner, you’re not perfect. And part of being in a successful relationship is growing and learning independently so you can move forward as a couple.
6. You Fight in Public
There might be some of you out there who could never even imagine arguing in public, but it can happen to the best of us. Fighting in front of others should be avoided at all costs. It’s never a good look for you as a couple, and it will only lead to embarrassment and regret. If he does something to upset you while you’re out together, wait until you’re home to bring it up. Don’t blow up in front of your friends. It’s not a good look for either of you, and you won’t end up fighting in a constructive way.
Relationships are never easy, especially a lifelong marriage. But the hard work it takes to fight the right way is well worth it in the long run. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes along the way. If your partner is right for you, he’ll understand that this is a learning process for both of you and he’ll be patient. No matter what, approach it with a teamwork mindset. Think of it as “we” and not “you” or “me.” At the end of the day, you two aren’t at war with each other. You’re on the same team, and you’re facing life together.