Fighting With Your S.O. Isn’t (Always) Bad

Unless that headline scared you away, you’re probably reading this because you are in, have at some point been in, or know someone who is in a relationship that featured at least one major or minor tiff. It happens to the best of us in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Whether you argue about that time they forgot your anniversary, that time they accidentally insulted you, or that time you two couldn't decide who needed to do the dishes that night, a lot of these “fights” are based on real feelings that could be beneficial to your relationship if you just communicate them. It might sound crazy, unhealthy even, but not all fights are bad ones, and some can actually pay off.

Image via Giphy

(Disclaimer: Ross and Rachel may have been on a break but that totally doesn't justify his actions. This is not about them, it's about real life spats that occur on a much smaller scale and are, as I hope to prove, very workable.)

There is, of course, a very real danger in staying with an S.O. who constantly picks fights or whom you never get along with. Your personal well being should always come first in a relationship. That being said, misunderstandings and minor conflicts can actually be resolved with a positive outcome if each of you genuinely care about the other. I counted myself among the no-conflict-at-all-costs people who took any major disagreement as a sign to pack my bags, It wasn't until recently I learned the difference between fighting and communicating.

It’s hard to imagine a relationship where no one ever makes a mistake. The important thing to do before lashing out is knowing whether or not your S.O. actually intended to cause hurt. Maybe they did something to make you feel unwanted or not so good about yourself, but did they truly mean it? You’ll never know until you ask. Voicing the fact that your feelings are hurt can do wonders and is the only way to really let an S.O. know where your boundaries lie.

Image via Giphy

We all have things that we just can’t laugh at ourselves about, no matter how big your sense of humor is. The more open we are when someone touches that topic, the more sensitive others are willing to be about it. You’d be surprised at how much sympathy your S.O. will have when they know they’ve accidentally crossed a line. And if they don’t want to apologize for making you uncomfortable because your feelings and insecurities aren’t important to them, you probably don’t need someone like that around.

Not every argument will start unintentionally though, but even those can leave you and your S.O. in a good place at the resolution if you’re both willing to work on communicating. Let’s say something they do has been bothering you for a long time or vice versa, and after days or weeks or even months of suppressing it to keep the peace, it boils over and starts a fire. Now there are exceptions to every rule, but a problem that blows up like that has to come out sooner or later because if it doesn’t it turns into silent resentment on one side of a relationship. One person will have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the other’s head, which solves absolutely nothing and is unhealthy for everyone.

Image via Giphy

Picking fights are one thing, voicing your opinion is another. “Hey it kind of bothers me when you do that thing I hate and here’s why,” will work a lot better than “Stop being annoying.” It’s totally okay to not absolutely love every single little thing about each other. What’s not okay is attacking someone who’s just trying to date you. Talking it out rather than devolving into shouting matches will help both people learn to communicate, learn to listen, and learn about each other. Jumping into attack or defense mode every time conflict arises between you and your S.O. will only teach you how to argue, which might be helpful for law school but not necessarily for a relationship.

Image via Giphy

Both parties in any relationship need to be open-minded. In addition to expecting it, you have to provide it as well. Your S.O. can’t be the only one who compromises in every argument, so remind yourself that this is a two-way street and allow just as much forgiveness as you would like to receive. Getting in disagreements is normal and natural and actually often helps people stay together longer because the more you can get through together, the stronger you’ll come out of it. So be willing to argue and be willing to be argued with because your significant other is significant for a reason and you need to be open with each other to keep it that way.

Image via Giphy

Unfortunately, some fights are serious and can’t always be talked out. Whether you have an S.O. who won’t compromise, a personal belief that keeps you from moving on, or the two of you just can’t seem to ever get along, there’s only so much you can do to try to make a dysfunctional relationship work. Know the warning signs, like constant verbal abuse or personally aimed attacks, but also know that communication is paramount in a relationship, and you don’t need to be spouting rainbows all the time to be happy together.

Image via Giphy