Every couple is a universe. But every couple has conflicts. That is not necessarily a negative thing. When the universes of two adults meet, it is normal for discrepancies and frictions to arise. Differences of opinion are not only inevitable, but are even healthy because it means that has not occurred a symbiosis in which the identity of one of them has been annulled.
In fact, the strongest and longest-lasting couples are not those who do not have conflicts, but those who know how to resolve and emerge stronger from them. However, when latent conflicts are kept and arguments become daily bread, the relationship will end up undergoing great wear and tear and will cease to be satisfactory, so it is likely that it will end up breaking down.
Why do couples argue normally?
A research conducted at the University of Michigan looked at the top reasons why couples argue.
1. Condescension. Condescension is a particularly difficult trait to digest. When a person looks down on us and behaves as if he or she is better than us, we can feel hurt or attacked. Condescension is even worse because it mixes arrogance with pity, assuming we have no chance to understand, grow, or change. When condescension is established in the relationship, it is offensive and closes the possibilities of understanding.
2. Possessiveness. In a society where relationships are often exclusive, it is easy to cross the red line and fall into possessiveness and jealousy. If a person believes that his or her partner is “his or her property” and claims the right to set limits and impose things, they are likely to generate an intense emotional response from the other party, a response aimed at defending personal freedom. For this reason, possessiveness and jealousy are a reason for repeated discussion in couples.
3. Negligence. Lack of care and application is another of the most common reasons for discussion in the couple. When emotional neglect occurs, one of the members of the couple feels abandoned, so that he or she is accompanied, but feels alone. The other person ignores his or her needs, either consciously or unconsciously, which often leads to complaints since the relationship does not really meet emotional needs.
4. Abuse. In relationships, abuse can take on a thousand nuances. It is not always about physical abuse, verbal and psychological violence is usually more common, which can also be extremely harmful. The humiliations, disqualifications, yelling or even the use of indifference as punishment are signs of abuse that often lead to problems in the couple.
5. Inconsideration. The day to day can take its toll on couples. The division of daily obligations and responsibilities, housework and childcare are usually one of the main reasons why couples argue, especially when one of the two feels that the other does not help enough or behaves inconsiderately. In fact, in many cases the problem is not even the unequal distribution of tasks and obligations but the lack of recognition of the person who carries the greatest weight on his or her shoulders.
6. Emotional instability. Having an emotionally unstable person by your side, who continually changes mood and makes you feel as if you are walking on glass each and every day of the year, is not only unnerving but also exhausting. From a relationship we need security, when we receive exactly the opposite, our needs are unsatisfied and we end up “exploding” at the slightest setback.
7. Self-centeredness. Overly self-absorbed people tend to have problems in their relationships because they don’t tend to show empathy. When we feel that the person who is supposed to support and provide us with emotional validation is simply ignoring our feelings and concerns, continually putting us on the back burner, or always having something more important to do, it is understandable that conflicts arise to end in heated arguments.
If you analyze the reasons why you argue with your partner, you are likely to discover that they are generally recurring themes. Knowing your emotional triggers will allow you to work on those psychological contents that are generating friction, in order to overcome those conflicts and strengthen your relationship. It is important that you address these issues so that they do not end up becoming an elephant in the room that continues to grow until the relationship is ruined.
Buss, D. M. (1989) Conflict between the sexes: strategic interference and the evocation of anger and upset. J Pers Soc Psychol; 56(5):735-747.