Every couple fights and the ones who don’t fess up to it are lying. Here’s how to stop getting stuck in the same old arguments.
“We never have sex anymore!”
It’s a myth that well-matched couples have equally well-matched libidos, says Kimberly Hershenson, LCSW and couples therapist. And even if you were in sync the day you got married, kids, stress, illness, and other life events have a way of changing things. This means it’s inevitable you’ll have disagreements about sex. “There are other ways to feel connected if sex isn’t happening as frequently as someone would like,” she says. “Physical intimacy is obviously important in a marriage but many of my clients don’t realize the importance of having an emotional connection to their partner first.” Once you are working as a team, you can troubleshoot bedroom strategies together.
“Why did you like all your ex’s pictures on Facebook?!”
Modern technology has lead to some uniquely modern relationship fights, especially when it comes to social media. “These days we see a lot of ‘cyber-straying’ which means sneakily looking up and even reconnecting with old flames, despite being with someone else,” says Wendy L. Patrick, JD, PhD, behavioral expert and author of Red Flags. Then, when the partner inevitably finds out, they feel hurt and betrayed, she adds. The fix to this fight? Squelch that curiosity. “Curiosity compromises trust and secrets are relationship saboteurs,” she says. “Ex-relationships are in the past for a reason.” If you do want to maintain a connection with an ex, make sure your partner is in on all communications.
“You love your phone more than you love me!”
Smartphones and tablets are awesome but they are also a huge distraction, ready to interrupt your precious time with your partner at any second, Patrick says. Think checking a text or answering a quick email is not a big deal? Imagine if it was an actual person grabbing your attention every time a notification goes off. They’d quickly be the most annoying person in the room, right? So it’s understandable how phones can become a major source of fights, she says. The solution is simple: Put away your phones and decide on tech rules you can both follow. “The impersonal nature of this communication often builds barriers, not bridges,” she explains. “Remember, your partner is your lifeline. Uplifting, encouraging conversations infused with real emotion will revitalize your relationship in a way that no amount of emoticons could ever do.” Putting your phone away while you talk is one of the 16 relationship resolutions every couple should make.