5 Relationship Fights You Should Actually Have

If you’re anything like me, you grew up internalizing the belief that chill is the new black – we play it low-maintenance and cool, we pride ourselves on our ability to go with the flow, and we rarely start fights.  But no matter how easy going you are, some fights just need to be fought.  No need to freak out about a missed call or a toilet seat cover, but here are five fights worth picking…

The "I want to be exclusive” Fight

This is a conversation worth starting because – let’s be honest – what do you have to lose?  If you’re not in a relationship but want to get exclusive with your promiscuous partner, you might as well be upfront. Frame it as definitive statement instead of a passive-aggressive attack (“I’m ready to stop hooking up with other people and I want to be exclusive” instead of “Ew, that girl you hooked up with is a trashy b*tch”) to avoid ambiguity. Worst case scenario? You spare yourself a bad break-up by bypassing a relationship you never had.  Best case scenario? You risk a fight and get a relationship as the reward. 

The “You’re never around” Fight

I get it, your boyfriend is busy, but you have every right to start a serious conversation (we don’t want to call it a fight, because we’re hoping it ends with a simple “You’re so right. And beautiful.”) asking him to spend more quality time getting to know your friends. By asking him to integrate himself into your social scene you’ll save yourself a big headache down the line – relationships are infinitely easier when all of the important people in your life get along (the last thing you need to hear after skipping ladies’ night for date night is how rude and boring your boyfriend is). To avoid drama, frame the conversation as a compliment: “My friends like you so much that they really want you to be around more…”  Not convinced friend/relationship harmony is important to your sanity? You can disagree with me, but you just can’t argue with the Spice Girls: “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”

The “You’re being too controlling” Fight

I don’t care if your boyfriend is Marc Jacobs – he still shouldn’t be telling you what to wear.  Who you hang out with, what classes you take, where you live, and what you look like are decisions between you, your friends, your academic advisor, your landlord, and your hair stylist. Your guy has no business micromanaging your life.  Scared to have this fight? Then cut straight to the “I think we should see other people” talk. Your hair stylist will be there to dry your tears.

The "Don't push me to have sex” Fight

This is less of a fight and more of a defense against sexual assault.  But seriously, some girls are worried that standing their sexual ground will stunt a relationship, upset their boyfriend, or lead to a reputation as a prude (and really, you can only pretend that you’re on your period for so long…).  But the bottom line remains - so what?  At its worst, your aggressive rejection of his aggressive sexual advances is a little bit uncomfortable; at its best, confidently discussing sexual boundaries keeps you happy and safe and free of genital warts! You can reassess the situation when you feel ready to go further.  Whenever you fill like caving in, just remember – the person without the weird crotch itch always has the last laugh. 

The “You’re acting weird in front of your friends” Fight

We’ve all seen it: the dashing, amazing, Prince Charming of a guy who turns into a real villain in front of his bros (fairy tale metaphors never get old).  Maybe he’s scared of getting called whipped, maybe he’s uncomfortable introducing you to his friends, or maybe he’s just really, really socially awkward.  Whatever the reason may be, he needs to stop treating you like trash.  A simple “Hey you were acting really weird in front of your friends” gives him the opportunity to explain himself without feeling automatically accused.  Why should you start the fight? Because you deserve better. Why do you deserve better? Because, as L’oreal would say, you’re worth it.


Contrary to sit-coms and your grandmother’s dating advice, you’re not a cold, high-maintenance, unlovable girlfriend if you occasionally raise important problems in your relationship.  Euphemisms aside, you’re not necessarily a jerk for starting an argument.  So do it.  Because, trust me, you’ll feel better after a good, clean fight (and I’m not even talking about the make-up sleepover…).  Pick your battles, fight fair, and thank us when it’s all over.


Rachel Peck is a senior at Barnard College, Class of 2012, where she is majoring in English and Theatre and minoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Although she admits to actually enjoying high school in her hometown of Bexley, OH, her favorite thing to do is explore her new--slightly more exciting--home, New York City. When she isn't watching good (and bad...) TV, finding excuses to plan dinner with friends, window shopping, or napping, Rachel enjoys working for the Barnard admissions office, serving on her sorority's various boards, and writing for whoever will read it.  You can also follow her on Twitter (@peckrachel) if you're into that.

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