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Study Finds Why We Fight

Finding Out Why We Fight Might Help Us Patch Things Up

What do we fight about in relationships? Credit card bills, household chores, the failure to call when you're going to be late, or perhaps something as serious as suspected infidelity. The list of specific catalysts goes on, but a study just concluded that most fights boil down to one of two concerns: the perception of either a threat or neglect.

A perceived threat comes about when one member of the couple thinks that the other is being hostile, controlling, critical, or too quick to blame. And when one partner feels the other is not sufficiently invested in the relationship or not making enough contributions to it, that leads to the perception of neglect.

The researcher behind the findings says they can help us resolve arguments. If a fight is caused by the perception of neglect, for example, an apology helps the couple move on. And when a perceived threat is to blame, demonstrations of deference and appreciation will help the threatened partner move on.


Do you have any good tips for mending a fight?

Source: Flickr User Ed Yourdon

Join The Conversation
Pistil Pistil 7 years
If the neglect is merely perceived, what is the other person apologizing for?
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
It depends on the fight. In my opinion, there is no blanket approach to resolving fights -- so much depends on the issue, personalities involved, etc.
idanceinmycar idanceinmycar 7 years
In my relationship I am definitely the one who gets angry and shouts, while my bf is more calm and wants to talk through things. But I know myself and I know that I need a cooling off period of alone time after an argument. Acknowledging this is good because hopefully after this time I won't say hurtful things and be more in control of what's irking me.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
^ I agree. That's why when I'm in a fight I just get over it because I would rather just move on rather than getting my panties in a bunch! haha
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I think most people know why they are fighting - someone, or both, isn't meeting their end of the bargain on the issue because they just don't want to make the compromise
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