Disagreements and arguments certainly happen in relationships — arguing about something doesn't necessarily mean that there's something terribly wrong. That being said, there are some do's and don't's that'll help you and your partner fight more fairly, rather than being at complete and utter odds. But in some cases, the way that the two of you fight might actually indicate that there's something wrong in your relationship. If you and your partner argue these seven types of ways, you're just not meant to be together, even if you thought that you were.
"Obviously, no one is perfect, and we all have bad days where we argue and/or handle difficult feelings and situations in not so great ways," Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT, a therapist at Abundant Life Counseling St. Louis, tells Romper by email. "For that reason, it's important to practice grace and forgiveness in our relationships. However, if you notice a pattern of negative behavior, or if you've spoken with your partner about how their behavior makes you feel, and the partner is unwilling to change or seek support in changing, chances are high that they are not going to change by you 'waiting it out' or actively trying to change their behavior."
Some types of arguing just really might mean that you aren't the right people for each other. If you notice these sorts of things in your own relationship, reflecting on things and potentially speaking with your partner or a therapist, might help you sort out whether things can be changed or repaired or not.
1. Either Of You Feel Unsafe
Neither you nor your partner should feel unsafe in your relationship, whether you're fighting or not. "This is crossing a line in the relationship," Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper by email. "Couples can have healthy arguments where they are still emotionally and physically safe with each other." It's not OK for either of you to feel unsafe, and if you do, it certainly can be a sign that the two of you aren't meant to be together. Reaching out to a therapist or other qualified professional for help can be a good idea.
2. You Shout Over One Another
If your arguments typically involve each of you shouting over the other, unable or unwilling to listen while the other person is talking and wait for your turn to express how you're feeling too, that could be another sign that things aren't going as they should, Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist, relationship coach, and divorce mediator, tells Romper by email. Tensions are high and you're feeling strong emotions, but shouting over each other doesn't help you resolve things.
3. You Fight Over Fundamental Beliefs
Fighting over beliefs that are extremely important to you might also mean that you're not meant to be. "This does not mean you can't have differences in opinion, beliefs, values, etc.," Williamson says. "However, if it's causing a serious roadblock in your ability to bond with your partner, or if it's leading you to change an aspect of yourself or compromise you own beliefs, that could be problematic."
4. You Interrupt Each Other
Interrupting each other is another potentially bad sign, Coleman says. It's not respectful to steamroll over what your partner is saying by chiming in in the middle of their thought to defend yourself, put up a fight, or express how you feel about the conflict.
5. You Name-Call
Name-calling is another no-no, Coleman says. Again, these kind of offensive and insulting barbs aren't respectful and can really cause more harm. They don't help your cause and don't get you anywhere closer to a resolution.
6. You Refuse To See The Other Person's Point Of View
If you refuse to try to see the other person's point of view, that's going to make it really difficult for you to ever come to any sort of compromise, resolution, or conclusion of any kind. Sometimes it's hard to do this, but doing your best to see where they're coming from will help your relationship.
"If one or both of you are unwilling to see (or at least try to see) the other's viewpoint, it could indicate a lack of empathy, which makes navigating arguments especially difficult," Williamson says. "If you or your partner are unwilling to hear each other out, it will be difficult to come to decisions you both can live with and make repairs where hurt has happened. A lack of empathy can also deteriorate the emotional bond you have with each other."
7. At The End Of The Argument, You Have A Warped Understanding Of What Your Partner Said Or Feels
Sometimes there are misinterpretations, but if your communication with your partner is such that, at the end of conflicts, you have a completely different understanding of what they said, that might be another indication that your relationship isn't meant to be. There's some sort of disconnect there.
"These kinds of arguments demonstrate disrespect, a lack of concern for each other's feelings, an inability to listen with the desire of truly hearing and understanding, and a shallow knowledge of who your partner really is," Coleman says. "When these are present it is not possible to form a strong, loving and mutually satisfying bond — which is what a long-term relationship needs to thrive."
If you're noticing these kinds of arguments in your own life, working with a therapist to help you both form better habits that'll lead to more constructive disagreements might help. Otherwise, it just might be that the relationship between you and your partner just isn't going to work out.