All couples fight sometimes, that's just how life is. That being said, how you and your partner fight and what you fight about really matters, even if you don't give it much consideration most of the time. There are some arguments you'd never have with your partner if they're The One that might be able to help you sort out whether or not your relationship has a real future.
"First, I believe it's important to be realistic in relationships: every relationship will have moments of conflict," Dr. Claire Nicogossian, Psy.D., tells Romper in an email exchange. "The larger question [is] how do couples work through conflict? There are healthy and unhealthy ways of working through conflict." If you're attacking each other, fighting dirty, calling names, or otherwise being disrespectful to one another, that's not great.
"If you are with a good match, then you should be able to have any and all conversations with each other," Lesli Doares, a couples consultant and coach, tells Romper by email. "Nothing should be forbidden. A good relationship/partner encourages you to be authentic about your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, needs, desires, etc. That doesn’t mean things will turn out exactly as you want, but it is safe to share." Some arguments, however, just might indicate that the person you're with actually isn't the person for you, after all.
1. Wanting Them To Be "Less Abusive"
If you ever feel the need to ask your partner to be less physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive, your partner isn't right for you. "If someone is abusive, reasoning and talking it through does not work," Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, M.S.W., author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Not dating this person is really the only answer. If a person is physically, emotionally or sexually abusive, that person is definitely not 'the one.'" Don't spend time arguing about it. Your safety is more important.
2. Anything About Your Fundamental Beliefs
The person you're meant to be with might not agree with you on everything. In fact, chances are good that they won't. Still, if you're arguing with each other about things that you know the other feels strongly, that's not great either. "When couples have true compatibility, fights involving fundamental belief system won't happen with frequency or intensity," Dr. Laura Deitsch, a licensed clinical professional counselor who works with Vibrant, tells Romper by email. "This isn't to say that couples have to have identical values and beliefs, but it's more likely they have found a way to avoid fights about these fundamental differences. They know and respect each other well enough to have found a way to accept their partner's differences and not argue about it. They know opinions won't change and have no incentive to push their own agenda on their partner."
3. That They Need To Be More Respectful To Your Parents
Sure, your partner might get frustrated or annoyed with your parents every once in a while, just as they might with their own parents, but if you're constantly having arguments about how much they respect your parents, that's a sign that you two aren't meant to be. "Your partner doesn’t have to like your parents or family for that matter, but they have to be kind and respectful," Rhonda Milrad, L.C.S.W., the founder of online relationship community, Relationup, & a relationship therapist, tells Romper by email. "Part of being in partnership with someone means that you are also in a relationship of some sort with their family. If your partner treats your parents poorly or is rude or ungracious, then that is a sign that they don’t value family and connection and you are with the wrong person."
4. Whether Or Not To Have Kids
Having kids is a big decision and it's one that you definitely have to make together. "This argument should not occur because there will be a clear winner and loser," FitzPatrick says. "This is typically not a topic that leads to compromise. You can’t try out having children. And if you choose not to have kids and one person later regrets it, there is a world of resentment. You will be on the same page with 'the one' about having kids."
Feeling backed into a corner or forced to compromise on such a big issue will likely put a lot of pressure on your relationship.
5. Asking Them To Choose Between You And Their Family
Asking your partner to choose between you and their family members isn't fair. "Relationships with family members, the family you grew up in, can be complex and complicated," Nicogossian says. "It is critical for each partner to have healthy boundaries with their family of origin. If one person has an unhealthy family system, where the family members do not accept the partner, then this can be a source of stress for the couple." Your partner and your family need to at least respect one another, even if they're not the best of friends.
6. About How Controlling They Are
"It is OK for your partner to make suggestions or provide guidance to you, but it is another [thing] to feel controlled and restricted by them," Milrad says. "You should have the freedom to make your own decisions without feeling that your partner is setting up roadblocks or manipulating you to take action in a certain direction." If you feel like you need to constantly argue with them about the things they tell you to do or the way they react when you choose not to, that could be a sign that they're not actually the person for you.
7. Anything About Choices They Made In The Past
Just like you lived a life before you met your partner, so did they. That means that you both may have done things or made choices that the other might not love. "Arguing about the past or life experiences of the person before you were a couple is going to cause stress in the relationship," Nicogossian says. "You can’t go back and change history. However, you can learn from it and see how it impacts the relationship today. If your partner has a past you don't approve of or is of concern to you, talk about, try to understand it, but let's be realistic: it’s not worth arguing about, unless those behaviors are a current source of conflict in your current relationship. And even then, hold off on arguing or fighting about it and instead seek to understand it."
Fighting about things that they did in the past isn't productive.
8. About Wanting Them To Change Who They Are
"I hear this a lot in therapy," Nicogossian says. "couples who saw traits in the early phases of dating and thought those traits would just go away as the relationship became more committed. Do I think people can change? Of course, but only if the person is willing to change." Don't expect that you can change or "fix" your partner. Arguments that imply that you can force them to change who they are just mean that they're probably not the right person for you.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.