The first few months of a new relationship is always an incredibly exciting time, where you’re getting to know each other, can’t keep your hands off each other and just want to live in each other’s pockets as much as possible. There’s a reason they call it the honeymoon period, after all, and it’s all just sunshine and lollipops for a while there, with nary a cross word between the two of you.
But, of course, over time this excitement will naturally wear off and hopefully what you’re left with is something true, real and long-lasting, with some serious foundations set in stone for the future. And while this is certainly something to be celebrated, what you’re also sure to find is that you and your partner start crossing swords from time to time.
When you spend a lot of time with someone, it’s absolutely inevitable that you won’t always see eye to eye and arguments are bound to happen occasionally.
But what’s important to remember is that, although fighting can be very upsetting at the time, it can actually be a sign of a strong, healthy relationship and, in fact, it can also help create a stronger bond between the two of you… something that might sound a little surprising.
Think about all those couples you’ve come across in the past who’ve bragged about how they never have a fight. It doesn’t sound entirely believable, does it? It’s entirely possible, however, that the lack of arguments is masking something else more problematic, such as fear of acceptance, low self-esteem, no self-confidence or a fear of abandonment.
Let’s instead posit the theory that arguing can, in fact, be actively good for a relationship. The actual fight itself won’t feel great at the time, but it’s how you and your partner go about resolving your issues that will really strengthen the bond between the two of you, bringing you closer and improving your communication levels.
It’s all about the bounce back and you may well find that you feel a lot closer to each other after a fight than you did before it.
But it’s not just us espousing this particular theory. It’s actually backed up by science! A recent survey carried out by Joseph Grenny – co-author of New York Times bestseller Crucial Conservations – found that couples who argue are ten times more likely to be in happy relationships than those who practise avoidance when it comes to problems.
Featured in a Guardian article, the study suggested that many couples out there think that avoiding sensitive issues in their relationship means they’ll avoid an argument, which will benefit the partnership in the end. But four out of five survey respondents said that poor communication had a role to play in previous failed relationships.
Mr Grenny was quoted by the news source as saying: “The biggest mistake that couples make is avoidance. We feel something, but say nothing – at least until we can’t stand it anymore. So we wait until we are certain to discuss it poorly before we bring it up.
“We tend to avoid these conversations because we are conscious of the risks of speaking up, but unconscious of the risks of not speaking up. We tend to only weigh the immediate and obvious risks without considering the longer term costs to intimacy, trust and connection.”
But the good news, if you’re afraid of arguing and want to change this, is that there are lots of steps you can take that will make fighting productive and make it easier for both parties. For example, don’t just jump into the problem on your mind… make sure you let your partner know you care and respect them first.
Also consider the language you use when addressing issues. Problems will be exacerbated if you just use inflammatory or judgemental language and you’re unlikely to get the outcome you want if you go on a judgemental attack.
All of this being said, however, if you and your partner are arguing more often than not and the fights are starting to take their toll on both of you, it might be time to step back and consider whether the partnership is right after all. Excessive fighting can be a sign that all is not well – so just make sure you’re honest with yourself, as well as with your other half.
For help with dating in North Wales and beyond, get in touch with the Select Personal Introductions team today.