Fighting constantly is a sign of a bad relationship, but on the flip side, never arguing at all is not only rare, but also not particularly healthy. If you can’t ever disagree constructively with your partner, one has to wonder how healthy and stable your relationship truly is.
Many of us panic during the very first argument we have with someone we love, as disagreement brings up a lot of anxiety for all of us, and we might not know how to fight effectively. However, having healthy relationship fights indicates two people who respect each other.
And let’s be honest: there are some words and some topics that really don’t belong in relationship fights with someone you love. The problem is, so many of us listen to respond, rather than listen to understand.
The bottom line is that there are certain fights you should have in your relationship, all of which indicate you belong together.
1. Fights about the direction your relationship is headed
Obviously, you two should be headed in the same direction when it comes to your commitment level, but if you fight about it initially, it’s a good sign the two of you are being direct and honest about your needs.
The pivotal moment is that you both agree on the direction. If he wants to move in and so do you, great! If he does and you don’t, that’s not so great. But a healthy relationship often has conflict over how you two will move forward.
This is unhealthy if it’s a repetitive fight. If it happens once and done, it means you two are being honest and direct.
2. Fights about family
Let’s just say that constant fighting over family is unhealthy. My ex and I did this, and it was one of the main signs that our marriage was not healthy. But setting boundaries regarding how the two of you envision having family in each other’s lives is healthy.
You need to know if your wife envisions the extended family moving in eventually. You need to know if your boyfriend’s toxic family will be a permanent fixture in his life, and how he handles them. This is a worthy fight to have.
3. Fights about personal space
Every relationship is a dance — you’re both trying to figure out how to exist together, but also how to exist as an independent person. We all evolve and change, even as we exist as a couple, and we even change as a couple.
Fighting over how to keep those personal boundaries and identity intact is important. You should both feel like you can be your own person as well as the other half of that couple. Healthy couples honor the other’s needs to be an independent human.
4. Fights about sex
No fight should be a daily battle. That’s not healthy. But in long-term relationships, it’s common for couples to disagree over how sex plays into the relationship. Timing, frequency, variety — these are all battles healthy couples have, because they’re not hiding their feelings or engaging in other activities outside of the relationship.
They’re coming to each other and talking about it openly and respectfully. People evolve sexually, too. Talking about your needs and your partner’s, and then trying to find the balance, is extremely healthy.
5. Fights about money
Yes, you should openly discuss and maybe disagree over how money is spent, especially if you’re living together, engaged or married. You need to talk about everything from big expenses to small expenses.
You can’t sit there and hold it in while your partner goes on a shopping spree and the two of you are broke! If money is a daily battle, it’s a sign there are other larger issues at stake, but periodically fighting over money is really common.
6. Fights about your social lives
Personal space as independent humans is a necessity for anyone in a relationship. You don’t want to feel like you can’t move or breathe without the other permitting you to, and you don’t want to feel as if you’re in a relationship by yourself.
It’s common and normal to discuss and argue over how often you see other friends or social groups together or alone, how actively these people are involved in both of your daily routines, and how often you let people socialize in your home. In general, it’s okay to fight about this, as it’s a balancing act maintaining your friends, your own identity, and your identity within the partnership.
Overall, fighting is good when you do it without name calling, listen first and can understand what the other is saying before responding, aren’t fighting constantly, and are honest. So, don’t be afraid when you have that very first fight because it happens in all relationships.