Everyone has them, but they can be destructive to relationships
But these destructive disagreements can often undermine both partners’ self-confidence. One example, Judith says, is when a partner associates sex with a time to be held, cuddled, and feel affection. Ideally, you’re feeling already close and sex is your way to express that instead of using that to get close.” This is another area where it’s up to you to ask for what you need.
This fight is a Valentine’s Day classic. “It’s like, ‘If he really loved me, he’d know what to buy me or to take me to the right restaurant,'” Judith says, pointing again to unrealistic expectations. “No! Come on! Being in a relationship isn’t having someone to read your mind. It’s saying what it is you need and want, allowing your partner to know what your yearnings are, what you desire, what pleases you, to really be able to share that. But so many women think, ‘Well if I have to tell him, it doesn’t count.’ Yes it does! It so does!'”
Some days, your partner’s loud chewing is enough to make your head explode. Good news: The doctors say it’s okay to point out a partner’s annoying habits. If his chewing really is that bad, then, chances are, it’s irritating his colleagues, too. But the criticism has to come from a good place.
“If you have a vision for the way you want him to be seen in the world, for him to be that respected, wonderful man you see him as, then you have a responsibility to give him that feedback,” Judith says. “But it’s in the context of that vision – not just for you to pull out every time you want to attack him because you’re feeling insecure or upset about something.” If you’re nitpicking every little thing about your partner, chances are there’s something bigger bothering you, and you need to lay off them and figure out the real issue.
You’re not alone. “People are checking out, and it’s really addictive,” says Judith, who points to constant social-media checking and obsessive TV-watching. “These things are a way to not engage. ” Why? They detract from intimacy and “numb feelings.”
The doctors say that these distractions – even your office workload – can also be an indication that you’re avoiding something. “I’ll have men and women say, ‘Did I have a lot of work to do? Yeah. But we also had a fight that morning and I was in no hurry to get home,'” Bob says. “Chances are we’re hiding out in those things because there’s some unexpressed upset or pain, or something we don’t want to share with our partner – and that’s telling.” Perhaps it’s worth scheduling a device-free dinner to talk things out.
If they’re not getting that affection during the day, too, it places an unhealthy level of expectations on a couple’s sex life: “You’re trying to meet too many needs with sex
If your partner is wrong about something, and your very first instinct is to throw a big “I told you so!” in his face, that’s not good. “You not getting enough affirmation in the day-to-day,” Bob explains. “If you’re really affirmed by your partner, you don’t need to rub things in their face like that.” These fights can build walls in between partners, so lose the sarcasm and have an honest conversation.
It can be tempting to talk in absolutes like this, but it’s probably pretty rare that your partner always or never does a particular thing. “[These] fights often stem from a sense of helplessness about the other meeting your needs or heeding your requests,” the Wrights wrote in their book. “The minute we put the words always or never into the fight, it’s easy to denigrate into versions of first-grade-type fights of ‘I do not,’ ‘You do too.'”