If you’re tempted to call BS on that one co-worker or friend who swears she and her significant other “never fight,” you’re probably right. “All couples argue, and that is totally normal,” says Rachel Sussman, LCSW, a relationship therapist in New York. “It’s how you argue that separates the healthy couples from those who are more challenged.”
In any fight, the main thing to remember is that you want to communicate more, not less. “When you feel yourself getting frustrated or annoyed with your partner, try to nip it in the bud. Address your concern,” says Sussman. “Tell your partner what’s bothering you and why and try to be solution focused instead of just doing an emotional dump. Then sit back and listen and validate your partner’s response. It’s as important to listen as it is to explain and explore your own feelings.”
To help you navigate the totally normal tiffs and blowouts, we asked the experts which fights are most likely to surface in your relationship and how to handle them when they do.
You have different financial priorities.
You want to upgrade the couch while he thinks you should put your cash into bitcoin. Or maybe you want to book the cheap hotel on your next vacation because you’ll be exploring the beach the whole time, while he wants to book the luxe resort. Having different ideas about what to do with money is totally normal, but “it’s important to make your feelings known so you do not start to collect resentment,” says Rebecca Hendrix, LMFT, a therapist in New York. “You may not win every preference difference, but sharing your needs is healthy.”
How to handle it: “It is important to understand why your partner wants to do what they want to do. Sometimes just validating their point of view will help a mutual decision happen,” says Hendrix. Say you totally get the perks of staying in a super-swank hotel, but your thought was you’ll probably be out doing activities the whole time so it might not be worth it. “Help your partner to understand why it will benefit you and them,” she says.