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You Asked: Why Do We Fight So Much?

Dear Sugar,

My husband and I have been married for nearly four years now and lately it seems like all we do is fight. Everything turns into an argument, and most of the time I have no idea why. I can't seem to trust him or anyone else not to hurt me. He says that I only listen to half of what he says, and even that half gets misinterpreted. I'm sure that I listen carefully and that while I definitely have trust issues, I'm not misinterpreting. He's a very arrogant man who has trouble admitting when he's wrong. The problem is that I don't know who's the problem here: am I being overly-sensitive or is he just being a jerk? How do I learn to trust him so that I can be more rational about this?

— Caught in Conflict Carol

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Caught in Conflict Carol,

Though I certainly can't say which came first, my best guess is that you and your husband's arguments have become cyclical. Meaning that his arrogance has led to your insecurities, which only further communicates to him that he's always right, in turn, only making you feel less trusting, and so the conflict continues. It shouldn't be a matter of determining who's in the right or wrong — it sounds like you both have significant grievances — but figuring out how to stop this cycle of fighting before it gets worse.

It's time to decide if you guys are ready to make a commitment to end these disputes. If so, then you have to stop playing the blame game because it's not going to get either of you anywhere. Instead sit down and communicate what it is about his language that makes you feel insecure; try to use specific words and phrases. When he says something that hurts you, repeat it back to him as you understand it, and let him explicitly say whether or not that's what he means to say. Even though you may not be misinterpreting things, it's quite possible that what he's saying is not what he actually means.

Finally, you both need to work on apologizing to one another. Though you can't force your husband to admit when he's wrong, you can start by doing that yourself. And instead of telling him when he's wrong, let him know that a simple apology would mean a lot to you. If none of these changes in communication work, consider talking to a therapist to find other avenues for you both to work through your concerns. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
bluebird bluebird 9 years
Maybe you two need to work on how you communicate with each other- if you keep "misinterpreting" what he's saying, he's probably not saying it in a way that communicates his feelings appropriately. My fiance never admits he's wrong, either, but he's starting to understand I would rather hear "I'm sorry that what I did/said hurt your feelings, I'll try to do/say it differently next time" than a reason as to why he still thinks he's right.
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
My husband and I are totally going through this. Our outside stress is we are trying to sell our house and move out of state. I feel like we are in this terrible spiral, every time we get a low offer we start all over again. It's mostly small things that I have changed on the house that we didn't agree on which has now become the "reason" for the low offers which isn't true. I will definitely use this technique next time. Thanks
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
If this isn't some phase due to unusual amounts of outside stressors and you think there's a real problem in your relationship, there's no shame in seeing a marriage conselor. It seems that you're confident enough to admit to your faults so hopefully your husband would be willing to do the same. If not, you just have to do what's best for you.
Sporky Sporky 9 years
Good Lord, this sounds EXACTLY like my ex-husband! We went to couples therapy for years, changing therapists three times because he "didn't like them" or thought they were worthless (my feeling? because they usually agreed with me that he was being difficult and causing a lot of the problems in our marriage). When 9/11 happened I realized life was really too short to keep living that way and left. Wished I'd done it way sooner.
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