How much fighting is normal?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
How much fighting is normal?
4
Tue, 12-03-2013 - 3:56am

I've been with my bf for about 3.5 years and we have just entered our 30s. We came from very different backgrounds. I pretty much had a pretty happy carefree conflict-free (spoiled) childhood where the discipline style was merely scolding. him, not so much. Which kinda explains his temper and tolerance to conflicts.  We had worked through a lot of issues in the past and I'd say pretty good progressive from where we used to be. However we both admit that we are not where we'd like to be. We have a pretty open communication And we always discuss how we can better handle conflicts after a fight. However we periodically (every 3, 4 weeks, sometimes more often) find ourselves having a (in my opinion) huge blow out over the littlest things. Which kind of resets the previously peaceful and loving period. It's like we keep going through these "rough patches" And it really hurts the relationship, or at the least not allowing us to move forward. We try to work through them but it just seems that it's never ending. I know that all couples fight, but I'd like to get to a point in my relationship when I can consistently believe that he's the one, that this relationship can work out in the long run. Because every time  we have these fights, I get these doubt about whether this relationship could work out. I know I can't rush things and sometimes you can keep working and working on it and you never really know until one day it just all makes sense.  im not getting any younger and I'd like to start thinking about having a family. I really want this relationship to work out in the end, but I'm also scared of the possibility that we put all these efforts and time into it and one day it will just bust.  I keep finding myself in confusion whether I am doing the right thing trying to work things out, or I'm just fooling myself and wasting time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 12-03-2013 - 1:40pm

I do not think that having a big fight over some little thing every few weeks is normal.  Now you didn't explain how this happens--is it both of you that start the arguing and yelling or is it  mostly him?  It does take 2 to have a fight and you can't change someone's behavior so you could try changing your behavior and see if that improves things.  If he starts yelling for example, you don't have to yell back--but you could tell him that you are not going to stand for being yelled at over stupid stuff (or anything for that matter) and that if he behaves like this, you will leave the room or even the house if you have to.  The 2 of you need to learn how to disagree about things without having big arguments--if you can't do that then I think you need to give up on the relationship--how would you really like to spend the rest of your life like this?  And if you get married & have kids it's a lot harder to leave than now when you are not married.  I was married to a guy w/ bipolar disorder who would get into these kind of arguments--we could go weeks or even months and then have a huge fight and it was all tied in with his MI, but after several years of marriage, I just had it--I couldn't go on like this forever.  I would never again be with someone who can't control their temper and wants to have big arguments.  Adults should be able to have differences of opinion and be able to discuss things, not have arguments about it that leave everyone feeling bad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Tue, 12-03-2013 - 4:43pm

I wish you'd explained what a "little thing" is.    I agree with Musiclover.......actually, there is no "normal".......everyone is different, but to have huge arguements over little things that often is a red flag.  You explained how you were raised, and then said him, not so much.  What does that mean?  Children learn how to live life from the "same sex" parent.  If your husband's father was authoritative, and controlling with his mother, if they argued over little things, he has a "learned behavior"......and it's unlikely it will change, ever!  My ex came from a very cold mother, and a father that was never home, working dawn to dusk 7 days a week.  So he was basically raised by his mother.......who never hugged him, kissed him, did nothing but put him down constantly, and praise his older brother.  So I wound up with a husband who eventually treated me the way she'd treated him, and never praised his sons, but criticised them constantly.  Look at his parents to see how THEY treat each other, and that's probably what you can expect from him.  Also, you could try not reacting to his anger in kind, but calmly tell him that when he cools off you'll discuss the problem with him.  It MIGHT work......it didn't with my ex.  He just got madder when I wouldn't "participate".  He refused counseling.....and I eventually divorced him.  If I'd understood the situation better, I never would have married him I don't think.  It also comes down to self-esteem, and he had none because of his mother.......and he became an alcoholic womanizer before I'd had enough.   Think long and hard about marrying him and starting a family with him.  Good Luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Tue, 12-03-2013 - 8:03pm

You really don't explain what happens during the arguments and what they are about. If he calls you names, or you call each other names, that needs to stop. If that's what's happening, you need to explain how this causes bitterness and is very hurtful. A boundary needs to be set where cussing at each other or calling each other names is off limits. Off limits should be not attacking each others characters. Explain to him what you've said here. You want to feel good about a future with him, but there needs to be improvements in how you communicate with each other. I'd check some books out from the library on couples communication skills and read it together. Practice using "I" in an argument instead of "you." Here's an example. "You always play your video games when you should be spending time with me." Or, "I'm feeling ignored and unloved. I'd like you to put down the video game so we can go for a walk." Basically starting with "I" is telling how you feel and who can argue with that? Maybe he'll join you for counseling so you two can work together on better communication. If he cares for you, he will give it his best effort to keep you in his life. If he doesn't care, he'll continue with the same destructive behavior. I hope he comes through for you. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
Wed, 12-04-2013 - 1:08am

Thanks for your replies.

To elaborate, there was no name calling or cussing, just loud voices. The most recent arguement is partially my fault. It started out with just him asking what we were having for dinner and I got impatient/annoyed because we've discussed it a couple times already. I know it's stupid, but somehow it just snowballed. I've been seeing a therapist about something else and I've asked him to see one about his temper and his issues with his mom, he said he would. He grew up with his parents working all the time and he got disciplined physically alot as a kid, and apparently for small mishaps. He realizes him and his sisters all have their mom's temper, she used to scream at him and beat him. So I get where he gets it from. Actually his dad puts up with his mom so I'd say he takes after his mom more and tries to not be like his dad (whom he thinks should've stood up to his mom more). He's really nice and sweet usually, but it seems to me when he gets angry he becomes a complete different person. And it's really hard for me to deal with the conflicts because I grew up in an enviroment where there's minimal conflicts and everyone was very loving. My therapist is helping me to deal with these things and find ways to handle these situations better. However he also has things to work on. We usually get along great, until one of us presses another's buttons, and sometimes it seems that we're good at doing so unintentionally, hence the periodic fights over trivial matters. We'll keep working on it, but sometimes I don't feel as optimistic and feel super confused.