How to Stop Fighting in a Relationship

Published on: 30 Sep 2022
Clinically Reviewed by Meaghan Rice PsyD., LPC
man and woman fighting in kitchen

Occasional conflicts and arguments are a part of every relationship, but constantly fighting with your partner is stressful and unhealthy. A pattern of fighting can lead to toxic and harmful behavior that could ultimately end your relationship.

If it feels like you and your partner are always fighting, it’s not too late to change. You can learn how to stop the cycle of fighting in a relationship and communicate with your partner in a healthy way. Read on to learn how. 

The Cycle of Fighting in Relationships

Couples who are constantly arguing often fall into repetitive cycles and patterns. In some cases, they may have intense, incident-specific, rage-filled fights one day, only to make up and behave lovingly a few days (or even hours) later. 

Other couples may find themselves arguing over the same issues, time and again, with no real resolution in between.  

“Frequent fighting can be a sign of deeper issues in the relationship. When the cycle is evident, it’s important to look for help.”

Talkspace therapist Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, LCSWC, MSSW

Still, some others may have a habit of blaming their partner when something goes wrong. Couples who play the blame game often focus on “winning” arguments. They may lash out at their partner and target their vulnerabilities to try and shut them down.

While conflict can cause arguments, avoiding it won’t be much better. When a disagreement occurs, one person might shut down and completely withdraw. This can cause the other to respond with anger or fear, which can lead to major arguments. 

In some cases, couples might find themselves fighting at the same time, or over the same thing nearly every day. For example, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of arguing every evening when both people get home from work, tired and worn out from their days, maybe fighting over what’s for dinner, who has to cook, and/or who will clean up. Because the source of the issue is something that must be dealt with regularly, the fighting can become habitual.  

The point is, regardless of why, when, or how a couple fights, recognizing patterns can be key if you’re hoping to learn how to avoid arguments in a relationship. 

What causes constant fighting in a relationship?

When couples aren’t able to communicate in healthy ways, they can fight about almost anything. That said, there are certain issues that are more likely to provoke arguments, including:

  • A lack of affection or fear of intimacy
  • Unfair distribution of household chores
  • Financial issues
  • Plans for the future
  • Disagreements about family planning
  • Differing parenting styles
  • Pet peeves
  • Politics
  • Jealousy
  • Rude or forgetful behavior

Try to identify some of the subjects that you’ve noticed trigger arguments between you and your partner. When both of you are calm, try to talk about these topics in a healthy way. Over time, having open and honest discussions about some of your pain points can be an effective way to learn how to stop arguing in a relationship.

8 Ways to Stop & Prevent Fights in Your Relationship

If you and your partner fight all the time, arguing can start to feel inevitable — but it’s important to remember that you can learn how to avoid arguments in a relationship. Here are a few effective strategies that can help you stop fights before they start.

1. Give each other space

While you do need to make a point to talk through issues, you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) discuss things when emotions are high. When you’re angry at each other, it’s more likely that one or both of you will lash out or make hurtful comments. It may seem like a small thing to do, but take some time to take a deep breath and tackle the topic once you’re both calm. You’ll likely avoid a heated argument and those irrational, hurtful things you might’ve wanted to say to your partner at the time have subdued.

2. Don’t worry about being right

Really, there are no winners when you argue with your partner. Just because you may be on the “right” side of an issue doesn’t mean you win. Sometimes, letting go of your desire to be right is necessary if you want to learn how to stop fighting in a relationship. Try to look at things from the perspective that you and your partner are a team — you’ll both win if you’re able to find a compromise to the issue that you’re dealing with.

3. Try to become a better listener

Not only can being an active listener help prevent fights, but it can improve the quality of your relationship while simultaneously enhancing many other areas of life. Make it a point to really listen to your partner and show them that you’ve heard their concerns. If your other half tells you about something important to them, ask them questions, be engaged, and value what they’re saying so you can learn more about their thoughts and feelings. Lacking communication skills and not being an active listener in your relationship can cause insecurity in relationships for both partners.

4. Be open about your feelings

It can be tough to be vulnerable, especially when the two of you are constantly fighting. However, opening up about what you feel can help you learn how to stop the cycle of fighting in a relationship. 

When you have the occasional disagreement (which, keep in mind, is totally normal), let them know how it makes you feel. Instead of blaming your partner, use “I feel” statements to express yourself. If you find that your partner is constantly dismissive of your feelings, don’t fall victim to gaslighting in relationships. Don’t let your partner blame you or outside circumstances for something that they caused, or you’ll find yourself in a one-sided relationship. 

5. Pause before you speak

It’s common to say harsh and hurtful things in the heat of the moment, only to regret your words later. When you’re discussing a hot topic, make a point of counting to 3 before you speak. Pressing the pause button can help you avoid hurtful comments that may otherwise escalate an argument into a bad fight.

6. Build healthy communication skills 

Poor communication can cause all kinds of issues in relationships, especially when you’re at odds with your significant other. If you’re able to learn how to communicate in a relationship in a healthy way, though, disagreements can make your relationship stronger. When you talk, make sure both of you are listening and feel heard.

7. Try to be empathetic   

At times, your partner’s behavior may feel outlandish or unreasonable. One good tactic when you’re learning how to stop fighting in a relationship is to try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand your partner’s perspective. Instead of becoming defensive, try to understand why they feel the way they do. You may want to ask your partner questions so you can get a better grasp of where they’re coming from that will hopefully lead to finding common ground. 

8. Try couple’s therapy 

There are many strategies that can help you resolve romantic relationship issues, but if you have a lot of bad habits or find that you struggle with having productive conversations, you may need professional help. 

When it comes to how to fix a broken relationship, working with a therapist can help you and your partner begin to recognize unhealthy patterns so you can work together to build a stronger, healthier relationship. If you’ve tried to figure out how to stop arguing in a relationship, and you haven’t had much success, either in-person or online couples counseling might be a great next step.

Work Towards a Peaceful Relationship 

An important thing to remember is that arguments are normal. They can even be healthy, but constant fighting is a sign of a serious relationship problem, and is detrimental to both your and your partner’s mental health. If you want to learn how to stop fighting in a relationship, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. When you consult a professional, you can learn to stop arguing and enjoy the time that you spend together.

Ready to get started on a path toward a stronger relationship without the fighting? Not sure where to start? Try Talkspace, the online therapy platform that understands the importance of healthy relationships. 

Talkspace makes therapy easy and convenient, from the comfort of your own space, in the privacy of your own home. When you get therapy through Talkspace, you’ll be able to work towards learning how to stop the cycle of fighting in a relationship. 

Sources:

1. Lemay E, Overall N, Clark M. Experiences and interpersonal consequences of hurt feelings and anger. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012;103(6):982-1006. doi:10.1037/a0030064. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22984830/. Accessed July 15, 2022. 

2. Canevello A, Crocker J. Creating good relationships: Responsiveness, relationship quality, and interpersonal goals. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010;99(1):78-106. doi:10.1037/a0018186. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891543/. Accessed July 15, 2022.

3. Nguyen T, Karney B, Bradbury T. When poor communication does and does not matter: The moderating role of stress. Journal of Family Psychology. 2020;34(6):676-686. doi:10.1037/fam0000643. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7438248/. Accessed July 15, 2022.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

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