Does Fighting Mean My Relationship Is Bad?

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Your partner leaves dirty socks on the floor, even after you told him you aren't the maid. He is disagreeable with your parents at family dinners. He borrows your car and leaves the gas tank on empty. On many occasions, the two of you end the evening with sharp words. It has you wondering whether the relationship has gone sour. While spats are bound to occur, some fighting styles reveal an unhealthy relationship at work.

Healthy Fighting

No two people are totally compatible. Differences surface in all relationships. Discussing an issue and working together to solve it is normal, even if it leaves each of you feeling tense and uncomfortable, according to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Avoid blame and give each partner a chance to express his or her feelings to resolve differences.

Unhealthy Signs

Some disagreements are unhealthy. For example, in the middle of a disagreement, a partner mentions something else that the other partner did wrong. There is name-calling. Some partners also resort to shouting to make their points. In severe cases, couples throw objects or resort to physical attacks, according to licensed clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg, writing for the Psychology Today website. These unhealthy behaviors bode poorly not only for future disagreements, but for the relationship itself.

Changing Your Style

If you and your partner have difficulty talking about problems without getting heated, write letters instead. Practice "I" statements. Focus on how you feel when your partner does something, rather than blaming your partner, according to PBS Kids. Instead of saying, "You never spend time with my family," try, "I feel sad when we fight about visiting relatives. I don't understand why we can't spend similar amounts of time with both of our families."

Seek Help

A marriage or family counselor could help. Understand that both you and your partner need to improve the way you handle disagreements, according to Kromberg. If physical, sexual or verbal abuse is involved, it may be time to leave the relationship. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can offer more guidance. 1−800−799−SAFE (7233).