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Acute Couples Counselling Psychotherapy

Are you and your partner constantly arguing? Here’s how to break the negative cycle

Contrary to common belief, arguments are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, research has shown that couples who have regular arguments are more likely to stay together.

Conflict and subsequent resolution can bring us closer and aid an understanding of one another’s boundaries.

 

It is how we argue that changes its influence on the relationship.

Let me demonstrate ways that the negative cycle starts, and suggest how to break a negative cycle of conflict. This transforms the cycle into a healthy, constructive form of communication.

What are we arguing about?
  1. Money

Money is said to be one of the most common topics of contention within a relationship. Secret spending, a change in financial status or disagreement on how money is allocated, are all potential instigators for a row to begin.

2. The children

Parents might disagree on how children should be raised or how to approach a challenging parenting situation. There may also be issues involving a step child or blended family unit. Whether or not to have more children can also cause tensions between couples.

3. Time together / Schedules

Sometimes, one partner can feel neglected or dissatisfied with the amount of quality time being spent together as a couple. Frequency of date nights, sexual intimacy, holidays or time spent with friends can cause arguments.

4. Future plans

When your relationship began, your future plans may have been aligned. But over time, people and circumstances can change. If you are no longer seeing eye to eye on what the future should look like, you could end up arguing.

5. Affairs / Secrets

If one of you has had an affair, or been deceitful or unfaithful in some way, this can cause tremendous rows and tensions – potentially for years. Healing from major impacting events is an important step in minimising these arguments and moving forward from them.

And there are, of course, many more. ‘Annoying’ habits, wider family problems, cultural differences, religious differences, and sexual disagreements are also very common topics for disagreement.

When arguments hurt

Like I said before, how you argue is important. I witness people’s argument styles frequently and have observed that most people fall into one of these categories:

  • The attacker – this is where a person makes an effort to verbally attack the other, pointing out why they are wrong and listing their annoyances.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: You always do this, you’re so tight with money, I can’t believe how mean, petty and controlling you are.

  • The defender – this is where a person spends much of their time defending their choices and actions when they perceive criticism.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: I deserve it. I have been working hard. I never buy myself anything. I am right to want this purse.

  • The withdrawer – this is where a hint of criticism can cause a person to emotionally and/or physically withdraw and avoid the conflict.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: I don’t want to talk about this. I’m going out.

Any of these argument styles can be harmful to a relationship and fuel a constant pattern of arguing. So, what can be done to change this?

When arguments are healing

Arguments arise because something is unresolved – whether that be with one another or within ourselves. Partners must identify the true cause of conflicts and align and work together to find a way forward.

When you attend couples therapy, you can learn to communicate with each other in an honest, nurturing way without an argument exploding. You can be supported in adapting your language to be less attacking / defensive / avoidant, and instead be more accountable and in ownership of your emotions. You can also make the space to properly hear your partner (and be heard) and benefit from a third ear in the room to help prevent misunderstandings.

At the end of it, you will have acquired skills that can transform future arguments from high-conflict and repetitive, to healthy and solution-orientated.

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.