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You Asked: We Still Fight All the Time!

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together since our senior year in high school (five years), and we have never really gotten over the "fighting" stage. We fight about everything, stupid stuff, important stuff, and it doesn't take much to make either one of us angry or upset. We definitely are still in love, but the fighting is frustrating for both of us and sometimes we feel like it is uncontrollable, like it's just a bad habit we can't stop. It's starting to have an effect on every aspect of our relationship. We want to be together but what can we do to stop the fighting?
— Bickering Betty

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Bickering Betty,

Some couples fight just to rock the boat so ask yourself why you're really arguing. If it's just to get a raise out of each other so you can make up after all is said and done, realize that you could be jeopardizing the foundation of your relationship. If you're arguing because it's the only way you know how to communicate with one another, you might want to think about talking to someone about it.

All couples fight but when it starts interfering with the good parts of your relationship, it's gone too far. Since you're both so used to the cycle you've created, it's going to take some time to break it, but it can be done. When you feel a fight coming on, take a step back and try to actually talk to each other instead. Yelling and screaming about big or mundane issues never works — talking does. If you can agree to make an effort to use your inside voice, in time, your communication skills will get better and better. Love is the foundation of all relationships so keep working on it and hopefully you'll see a change sooner than later. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
amborsita amborsita 9 years
Regardless of being so in love, arguing everyday will drive anyone insane. In the case of spending the rest of your lives together, more chances than not people who go the whole nine yards end up arguing increasingly as they become more comfortable with each other and the relationship. If it's this bad now, just imagine 5 years from now...and ask yourself if you really want to be in an exhausting relationship such as this where you argue all the time.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
poor communication skills.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Working-"Now, when i can feel a stupid fight coming on, all i do is take a deep breath, and realize i don't have to be right over everything." bf and I have been dating for five years, since the senior year of high school, and one of the reasons that we've decided not to get engaged yet is because of this SAME reason. It's less fighting, and more being critical or "having to be right," or just not being entirely sweet. I wish there were more responses to this, but I think personally I haven't admitted how much I feel I need to be right. My boyfriend is the type to not be very nice when he is angry, he doesn't understand the whole, "even if I'm mad at you I love you," concept, so I always end up getting angry with him for that, I think it makes him look worse. But honestly, I pick a ton of the fights by insisting on being right! Even if what he says, and the way that he says it isn't appropriate, I wish we could avoid getting into fights in the first place, because he is actually a great boyfriend even if he will say inappropriate things when angry. I guess I am so caught up blaming him for how he fights instead of just thinking about why we get started in the first place. I do insist on being right A LOT! I am really really going to try to the deep breath thing! If I can insist that he needs to "fight better," I think I should have to work on not picking them in the first place! Maybe it is some stupid thing where you have been in a relationship so long, and it's trusting and good, so where is the fun and excitement? Maybe picking stupid fights and then making up makes it more exciting. It might be more exciting, but it's definitely the reason we aren't getting married any time soon, which is so disappointing. Okay, sorry I wrote a blog-length post on this, I just moved across the country after living with him to start a new job and "figure things out" so I am kind of emotional about this topic right now!
Working Working 9 years
OH man the stories i could tell you about some of the fights my bf and i have had!! We used to be the EXACT same way, after 3 yrs of dating. What i found was that it had to start with SOMEONE putting the effort into not fighting, which turned out to be me. You need to make a serious effort into stopping it, or it WILL continue. Now, when i can feel a stupid fight coming on, all i do is take a deep breath, and realize i don't have to be right over everything. I usually just keep my mouth shut instead of saying anything at all. After a min or two of silence, he usually realizes as well that it is stupid, and VOILA! No fight! Now he has caught on to this wonderful phenomenon of keeping your mouth shut instead of getting angry, and rarely do we have the stupid fights anymore with both of us using this tactic. The key is to actual make, and follow through, with the concious decision to stop.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
"If it's just to get a raise out of each other " I think the correct phrase is "get a rise"
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Whether you love someone or not, fighting constantly for the rest of your lives cannot be something you want to look forward to, right? It's possible that even though you love eachother, you don't *like* each other enough for a longterm relationship. I mean, I wouldn't even stay friends with someone if we were going at each other constantly, and I certainly wouldn't stay with a lover in the same circumstances. If you are both committed to making this work, you should see a couples counselor. I don't know ANYONE who is equipped at breaking a 5 year pattern without any assistance (and if you can and did, good for you, you are amazing, but atypical).
julieulie julieulie 9 years
Do either of you come from a home where arguing was the norm? My mother and I NEVER got along, ever, and we used to fight all the time (not serious fight, but we would scream down the steps at one another, and an hour later it would be totally blown over and we would have forgotten it happened). To me, that was just normal life -- not a big deal, but just normal. When I started to date my fiance, I found myself picking fights frequently. Not for the sake of starting arguments, and definitely not for make up sex (I don't believe in it), but just because it was normal and how I grew up. I'm still working on not being argumentative -- it's been a long process for me to get over it, but I am convinced that if you really try, you can overcome it. It will, of course, be more difficult in your case if you each feed off each other (my fiance hates bickering so he just gets pissed period so it's easier to stop when it's not my mother yelling back!), though I do often slip back after I've had a fight with my mother. I was just so used to having to argue to get my point across (my mother would always start yelling first and I would have to yell just to be heard over her) that it came naturally to me. Oh well, another reason why I will always resent my mother!
almost-famous almost-famous 9 years
Hmm? you two love each other, but can't stop arguing? You never said whom starts the fights, so I'm guessing its the both of you two. Maybe its a clash of the same people being in a relationship? I don't think this(arguing) will hurt the relationship no time soon because he's still there right? RIGHT?! I'm clueless about WHAT to do. All I know is to step back like DEARSUGAR said and find out what's really getting to you.
sofi sofi 9 years
You have set some thing up that will be difficult to break without some real effort from both of you. What do your friends say about this? It sounds like you need to sit down with maybe family and friends and ask them honestly what they see going on between the two of you, or go talk to a professional. Fighting all the time is not healthy and you shouldn't just accept it as part of your relationship. You obviously are concerned, so you need to sit down and evaluate your' love' as well. Is it love or just lust? Are you both just used to each other and 'comfortable' or is there something that bonds you and makes you right for each other? I guess it is just time to evaluate your relationship. I have been in a very happy marriage for 7 years and can't imagine what it would be like to fight all the time. I have 2 kids and that just wouldn't work for anyone and not a good message. I don't know your plans for the future, but marriage will bring more issues as well as children do, too. If you really ' love' each other and are committed, you need to find a better way to communicate to each other because it won't get easier over time. It's hard because you have been together for so long and comfortable, but better now than even further down the road. Good luck!!
clareberrys clareberrys 9 years
I would suggest talking to him at a non threatening time. Open by telling him that you love him and you love being with him but that you hate fighting because no one likes to be in a fight, especially with someone you love! Just start the communication flow and see what is going on. Are you both people that get stressed out very easily? DO the little things that annoy you about him always make you go off? These are things to think about and to talk with him about. I took a marriage and family course and one thing my professor talked about was having a code for saying enough! She said she knew a couple that would fight and when it got to be too much one of them would just be silent and hold up their pinky. They would then realize that they were being ridiculous and talk about why they were fighting. I know that when my boyfriend and I get into fights they don't last for very long and then afterwards we always discuss what happened. If these things don't make it any better I would suggest going to couple's counseling. Maybe you could go by yourself first and the therapist could give you some suggestions. HOpefully your boyfriend will be up to going and I think it could make things a lot better! Good luck and remember that there isn't a couple out there that doesn't fight at all....just try to choose your battles wisely because life is too short to always be angry with the one person you love the most!
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