Love Matters: Expert reveals what do frequent fights mean in a relationship; EXCLUSIVE
The one thing most of you will agree with us on is the fact that the number and frequency of fights between couples have increased considerably in the last two years courtesy of the COVID-induced lockdown and the extended hours that couples have to spend together. Such has been the case that many even decided to part ways.
While constant fights in a relationship may make you think that you two are not meant for each other and that relationship is going downhill, the reality is that experts say, conflict is inevitable in a relationship.
“Conflict is inevitable in a relationship. While popular culture tells us that fighting harms relationships, research says that healthy arguing makes couples closer. In fact, married couples who don't have any conflict often end in divorce. Although regular conflict is the key predictor of divorce, the key is not what you argue about but how you argue. Apart from that, compatibility is high in the list of relationships and disparities can result in significant challenges, but too much compatibility can predict boredom,” says Dr Prakriti Poddar, Mental Health Expert, Director Poddar Wellness.
Differences in characteristics and behaviours get people attracted to each other, she adds. It is important for couples to identify their mismatched characteristics and understand what is hurting their relationship and what is enhancing it.
“So, it is not necessary that mismatch only leads to constant conflicts. Whenever anyone gets attracted to someone and aspires to enter a relationship, it is based on similarity in likes and dislikes. However, when a relationship starts, a couple may find differences later or after marriage. This may lead to some frustration and fights, but one should understand that conflict rises out of differences in values. The meaning of love is to accept and comfort each other, so the only key is acceptance. It is a two-way process and once both starts understanding and respecting each other, love will follow,” says Poddar.
According to psychologists, compatibility, trust issues and unmet expectations are some most common reasons why relationships fail. Although arguing with your partner is normal, fighting every day shouldn't be ignored. Consistently fighting can lead to troublesome relationships, if handled poorly. However, there are ways to stop fighting and prevent a relationship from getting over.
“To avoid frequent fights, you need to ‘fight well’ actually. This takes time and commitment to get to the root of the problem, so do not run away from the conflict but face it honestly. You can apologise or ask your partner what you can do to resolve the issue. Instead of being defensive, be receptive to what the other person has to say. Apart from that, if the argument becomes too heated, step away from the situation to cool down. Once you clear your head, you may be able to regain your perspective, so consider spending some time alone,” explains Poddar.
Always fight face to face and not through digital means, as is the case today. “Texting may pave way for fighting as it creates misunderstanding or taking things out of context. In addition to this, couples may consider therapy or counselling to work towards peace in a relationship,” she adds.
It is imperative to note that frequent fights may arise from the silliest of arguments, but research has shown that top issues couples fight about include physical intimacy, free time, money and managing family relationships on either side. “Lack of trust and compatibility may also add fuel to the fire of conflict. When it comes to sex, one partner may always want more than the other, so differences in sex drives can cause a lot of problems in a relationship. When it comes to money, couples may fight over what to spend money on and what to save money on,” says Poddar.
The other less common reasons may be sexual jealousy, hating each other's friends and managing household chores. It is important that you sit down with your partner and identify your issues. “Review all the arguments you have had in the last few days or months and try to identify common patterns behind the frequent fights. Start with small agreements with your wife or husband like controlling your desire to have alcohol daily or spending more time together by cutting down on social media use. Although your ‘honeymoon phase’ may be over, remember how and why you started your relationship. Through minor adjustments, acceptance, and faith, you may be able to heal the emotional wounds and rebuild love in a relationship,” concludes Poddar.