Arguments in a Relationship: Can they can be good, and the most common mistakes

When most people think about arguing in a relationship, they imagine two people shouting and screaming at each other. However, fighting and disagreeing can be a good thing – as long as it is done in the right way. 


When couples argue constructively, it can lead to a stronger relationship. On the other hand, when disagreements turn into fights, it can cause serious damage to the relationship. So, how do you know if your arguing is constructive or destructive? Read on to find out

Also, if you wish to know how to reconnect after a fight, you might want to read this article as well.

Read time: approximately 15 minutes.

Arguments in a Relationship: Can they can be good, and the most common mistakes


Why arguing might be good for you?

Fighting is an inevitable part of relationships, so it is best to prepare it and learn how to do it as less damaging, and as constructive as possible. You will also find some reasons why you may want and need conflict for things to work out well with the person you’re dating or married to!

A 2020 study by PhD Raquel Peel from James Cook University in Australia found that couples whose arguments were rated as heated (i e — they argued frequently) reported being happier than those whose interactions didn’t rise above polite dialogue.

Furthermore, these same people also said there'd been much less fighting recently on average over time-which means if we can just learn how to fight properly, so to say, then our relationships will reap rewards like increased harmony.[1] 

Why arguing can be good

And, when not so much?

As you read before, there's no doubt that arguments and conflicts are a part of a relationship and can be very healthy in certain circumstances. 

But just like you wouldn't want to have a car that won't start every morning because it must be pumped with gas every day, you don't want to have a relationship that isn't healthy and fun because it's constantly having to run out the door with some new argument to avoid.

The purpose of this blog post is to offer insights into why arguments, conflict, and fights are actually good for your relationship as a whole, and how to handle them effectively.

We can argue about what is right and wrong, what to do or what not to do, but as long as you're doing it in the wrong way then it's not going to matter. When we fight without a solid reasoning that we end up in a cycle of arguing. 

We have all seen couples where one person says something so blatantly unfair and untrue that the other person doesn't know what to do anymore so they fight instead, and then the first person fights more, and so on. 

This is the wrong way to handle things because arguing for the sake of arguing never solves anything. 

Are arguments bad

Which kind of couples fight?

The short answer is – any couple that is in a serious relationship will have a heated argument from time to time. 

As much as we might wish it so, there are only two types of people in the world related to this topic: those who argue for the sake of arguing, and those who argue because they really need to resolve things. 

Now you can stop for a second and try to think, which one are you. 

Now that is out of the way, and hopefully, you wish to improve your relationship by having constructive arguments, let's have a look at the most common things people do wrong in arguments.

What to avoid, when arguing?

Evidently, when you are in a relationship with someone, you will argue with them from time to time. But you need to recognize when to fight and when not to. 

So here are 11 things and mistakes you should try to avoid, so your next fight will help not hurt your relationship (not in a particular order).

Arguments in a relationship

1. Using "You" and  “I” statements. 

It's not that "You" and “I” statements are bad, it's that they are bad when you use them in arguments. If you use "I" statements like “I know”; “I don’t care” then you're telling the other person that their point of view doesn't matter. 

And, if you are using “You” statements like, "You are wrong."; “You did that” etc. it means you remove all the blame from yourself.

If you are in an argument with someone, and these statements are thrown back and forth, you know, this will only get worse. So, try to avoid them and use more neutral statements like “It makes me feel…”; “Can we take a second to…”; “This wasn’t necessary” etc. 

2. Trying to desperately prove your point 

As people we are built that way, we have at least some need to be right, and this is especially true in arguments with your loved one. You wish to make yourself right by being argumentative. 

But this is not constructive and only will make your partner feel like you're trying to win the argument instead of solving the problem, which in turn will lead to more arguments.

So, you shouldn't say things like: "You don't understand; I don’t want to hear any of this; I am right because..."

If you are saying these things, then you are not actually doing your part in a conversation. It's a sure-fire way of getting your partner mad and making them think you're just being rude. 

If you want to resolve a problem or argument with a person then you should be able to show them that you're actually listening to what they are saying. Say “Ok, I get that you are upset. Can you explain, what made you upset”. Then listen and only after that say your point of view.

3. Arguing only for the sake of arguing

If in an argument you are trying to find new, different arguments (we all know this phrase “…but THAT time you did THAT”, you are just arguing for the sake of fighting and this really won’t help anyone, especially your relationship. 

Arguments aren't about finding who is "more guilty", they are about finding a solution and compromising with each other on both sides of the problem until you solve it together.

4. Not trying to turn things around 

In addition to the last point, this is one of the most common methods people use when they argue just for the sake of arguing. Instead of listening to what your partner has to say and seeing where they stand, you turn it all around so that they become the bad guy while making yourself look good in front of them.

This can be a lot more subtle than your typical "I'm right, you're wrong" argument. It's really about making them feel as if what they have done has been unjust to you, even though it hasn't been.

So for instance: If your partner is telling you they were late because of work and you start arguing with them by saying things like "you always do this to me" or "you never do anything for me," then that's just going to make them angry at you.

These kinds of statements put the blame on them when the real problem might be something else that doesn't have a thing to do with what they did or didn't do.

When having these kinds of thoughts and feelings, before starting to blame the other person, try to simply ask “Why were you late”; or “I noticed that every evening you put the socks on the floor. Would you rather put them on the chair, if that would make me happy?”

5. Keep fueling the flames

This means resorting to name-calling or bad-mouthing, and “pouring” in hurtful statements.

Doing this will not only make the argument go into a downward spiral that can't be stopped, but it also means that your partner will probably not want to talk to you for a while once they see how much of an irrational person you are (at least at the time he/she will think like that).

The last thing anyone wants in their life is to feel like they are always walking on eggshells around someone else because they don't know if today's the day the other person finally "loses it."

6. Not giving up by any means

Also known as “having the last word”, it has similarities to the previous point. It means having the urge to say something against anything your partner said. Sometimes, even to something reasonable.

This is a recipe for a disaster argument, because at some point you will just keep repeating the same thing over and over, and not coming to any kind of solution.

First, try to avoid saying something hurtful yourself, but if your partner says something rude and nonsensical to you it is best to turn the other cheek and walk away instead of spouting out more nonsense.

This way you won't waste any more of your time trying to make your partner say sorry when they don't even want to. If they want to argue with you then let them, but only for so long.

7. Sabotaging the conversation

This happens when people do different things during arguments so they can distract themselves or get under their partner's skin during an argument.

Some people look at their phones, some even sing while their partner is talking so they become distracted while some others do things, so their partner forgets the fact that they have done something wrong.

This can be as simple as folding laundry or doing the dishes while your partner is talking to you about something important and explaining why they got hurt. This way, your partner will feel like you're not listening or just doing things to get back at him/her without trying to resolve anything.

So, next time you will be arguing and will feel the need to spontaneously do chores or read that one email, stop and think – maybe it would be better to listen to what your partner is actually saying instead.

What not to do during fights as a couple

8. Trying to win by any means

This may seem like one of the same things as numbers 2 and 6 on this list, but it's actually a lot different and can be hard to understand until you think about it in more detail. 

When people say "win," it means that they are not trying to compromise or find solutions with their partners; instead, they're just doing whatever they can do to get their point across and look good in front of their partners.

It doesn't matter if the argument is really bad because what matters is that they were right. In order to stop this from ever happening, you have to make sure that both parties are always willing to compromise with one another and give in a little bit, if necessary.

If you really want your partner to see where you're coming from then just say "I can see why you may think this way," which will show your partner that their opinion matters and that they don't just have to fight for it because someone else is going to let them win.

9. Repeating yourself over and over 

This is a very common thing people do when arguing, and it happens when people say the same thing over and over again because their partners don't seem to understand what it was they were trying to say in the first place.

But unfortunately, the only thing this does is make your partner feel like crap not because you don't understand what was said, but because you want them to feel like crap about it.

If you feel that you start to repeat yourself, stop yourself, breathe in, and try to mentally remind yourself that this is a moment of heated emotions, and saying your argument for the 5th time really won’t help.

So, say something like “Ok, I don’t understand you right now, and I feel like you don’t hear what I am saying right now, so let’s calm down for a bit and explain ourselves later”

10. Carrying an argument or returning to it while angry

This happens when one of the persons goes into an argument just because he/she is angry about something and wants to let it all out on the person he/she is close to – unfortunately, in most of the cases it is our partner.

If one partner is angry, they won't be able to have a clear mind or think properly because all they will be thinking about it how mad they are at the other person, even if they actually are angry at something else.

They will want nothing more than to see that person suffer and wait for them to apologize even if they did nothing wrong. This is really toxic and can cause a lot of damage, especially, if done regularly.

What can you do? If you feel angry, just say to your partner you are not feeling like talking right now, so you can avoid an unnecessary fight. 

And, if you feel like your partner is starting an argument out of the blue – before things get heated, ask “What is the reason you are so upset now? Did something happen during the day?”. 

Of course, not always this will work, but it just might disarm your partner, so he/she can calm down and tell you the actual reason for their emotions.

11. Not listening

This might be the most important and common thing that makes an argument go truly bad and avoiding you from letting an argument turn into something valuable for your relationship.

When we argue, most of the time, we feel like we had been hurt in some way, or not being heard, so our emotions get heightened and we feel like there is no other way how to express ourselves other than by raising our voice, getting aggressive, getting cold and so on.

But deep down we only want to be heard, so when you start to argue remember this – and try to truly listen to what your partner is saying. And, especially, after the argument, go over to all the things both of you said. 

Maybe, there are things that need fixing. And only by listening we can truly understand each other.

Not listening to your partner

How to know when arguments are ruining your relationship

When you find yourself arguing about the same things over and over again, it may be a sign that you're sabotaging your relationship.

If you can't seem to have a civil conversation with your partner without getting angry, it may be time to reconsider whether this is the right relationship for you.

In most cases, when the arguments are toxic, you'll find yourself sabotaging the conversation by repeating yourself, not listening to what your partner has to say or getting angry about small things. 

These things lead to arguments that end up going nowhere and one party feeling as if they're not being heard.

Of course, if these kinds of toxic arguments are something rare, there is not a big reason to worry about, just make sure that after the argument you can get past it without resentment.

But this is happening a lot in your relationship, you may seek professional help from a couple’s therapist, or you can talk with a friend you can trust about it and ask for their advice on whether this relationship is worth working towards, or if it's finally time for each of you to move on separately.

How to handle arguments effectively

Many people agree that arguing is healthy for relationships as long as you know how to conduct yourself during an argument and after it. 

Arguing allows each partner to express his/her thoughts and emotions, which can help create a deeper connection between two people. It can bring up issues that one may have been too afraid to discuss before and can help you understand your partner more.

It also allows the two parties to have a sense of "closure" after an argument, as they have been able to fully express themselves without fear of being judged. 

You can reach closure by empathizing with your partner and seeing where he/she is coming from. It can be helpful to think of how you would feel in his/her shoes, if the situation was reversed.

Couples goals: good type of arguments

In conclusion

Arguments and disagreements are natural parts of any relationship. Fighting is a part of life that we all have to face at some point in our relationships. However, it’s not just the fighting itself that matters – how you fight can affect your relationships too.

When couples argue constructively and show they want to understand their partner, they show each other respect and work together to find resolutions for their problems rather than turning into an argument where one person wins, and one loses.

Arguments turn into senseless fights when both people refuse to listen or cooperate with the other person's opinion on what should be done next to solve a problem - instead only focusing on winning the argument by being right about everything.

We hope that by reading this article you have learned both the benefits and dangers of fighting in a relationship. 

If you are struggling with your ability to communicate but want to strengthen your bond and understand each other better, we can recommend trying our Life Conversation game for couples. It is a set of 100 meaningful questions about various topics related to relationships and life in general. 

Have any thoughts or questions about what we discussed? Share them in the comments below!

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