We can't stop arguing

Arguments are common in all kinds of relationships. Some degree of conflict can even be healthy, as it means both people are expressing themselves, rather than keeping everything inside and letting emotions fester.

But if you’re arguing all the time, or simple disagreements end up in a hostile silence or screaming match, it can really start to take a toll on things – or even leave you wondering whether you’re all that compatible in the first place.

Learning ways to handle disagreements constructively is crucial in any relationship. We always say: conflict is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

Find out why you're arguing

It can be useful to think of an argument like an onion. The outer layer is what you're speaking about, while the deeper layers beneath represent the issues beneath this.

In other words, sometimes what we argue about is only a symptom of what's going wrong, not the cause.

For example, Sam gets into an argument with his partner about whether they do their fair share of the household chores. On the surface, the argument may seem to be about something small, but it could also tap into wider feelings about how well supported Sam feels in the relationship generally.  

It may also remind him of other situations when he has felt let down and unsupported by other people in his life. For Sam’s partner, the argument may tap into deeper worries about how controlling they feel Sam can be.   

If you find you and your partner arguing frequently, or about the same kinds of things a lot, it can be a good idea to think about what’s really causing the conflict. Are you arguing about what you think you’re arguing about – or are there other things going on in the relationship that frustrate or worry you?  

You may want to consider other influences too: have there been any recent changes in your lives that may have put extra pressure on either of you? This could be something like bereavement, starting a new family, moving house, financial problems, work pressures or just a reaching a relationship milestone such as reaching a big birthday.

Maybe you have been spending less quality time together than before? Has there been an incident that one or both of you is struggling to get over? Did you use to argue less? And if so, why do you think that is?

Seeing past your emotions and trying to look at the wider context of the situation can be a great way of getting to the bottom of what’s going on.

Talking it over

From there, it’s a case of talking things over in a calm and constructive manner. This can be hard when you’re feeling emotional, so you might like to try the following tips:

Choose an appropriate time to talk 

If you think you’re going to struggle with your emotions, it may be worth simply coming back to the topic when you’ve both calmed down. Likewise, it’s a good idea to have the conversation at a time when you’re both able to focus on it – not immediately before someone must go to work or with the TV on in the background.

Make it time-limited 

Chances are that if you’re still arguing after 10 to 15 minutes you’re getting so worked up that it’s not going to be productive. It’s probably stopped being a discussion and more like you are out to win! 

Try to start the discussion amicably 

Don't go in with all guns firing, or with a sarcastic or critical comment. It can be useful to start by saying something positive, such as: ‘I feel like we were getting on really well a few months ago. I wonder what we were doing better then?’

Use ‘I’ statements, not ‘you’ statements

This will mean your partner is less likely to feel like they’re being attacked, and you’ll be taking responsibility for your own emotions. For instance, instead of saying ‘you never listen to me’, try to say: ‘I feel like I’m being heard better when you do this’.

Try to see things from your partner’s perspective

A conversation is unlikely to go anywhere productive unless both participants feel listened to. It can be tempting to just try to get your point across, but if you want to resolve things, it’s really important you take the time to hear what your partner has to say too. They may have an entirely different perspective – one you’ll need to understand if you want to get to the root of what’s going wrong. Try to validate each other’s feeling by saying things like: ‘It makes sense to me that you feel like that’. Making your partner feel heard can be hugely powerful.

And remember: you may not just be arguing the surface problem

As much as we like to believe our partners will – or rather, should – always understand where we’re coming from, the truth is they’ve grown up with their own ideas and with different influences. For instance, if you think they’re controlling around money, it may be that their role model (when younger) was in charge of all financial affairs – so they’ve always assumed that’s how things work. Read more about emotional relationships with money.

Keep tabs on physical feelings

If things are getting too heated, it can be a good idea to take time out and come back once you’re both feeling calmer. Listen to what your body is telling you in terms of getting worked up. Saying something you later regret because you were really worked up is only going to make the fight worse and can leave feelings seriously hurt.

Be prepared to compromise

Often the only way to reach a solution is for both partners to give some ground. If both of you stick rigidly to your desired outcome, the fight is probably just going to keep going and going. It might be that one or both of you need to compromise a little so that you’re able to move past things. Sometimes, an imperfect solution is better than no solution at all.  

How not to argue

There are lots of destructive things that people do in arguments that tend to make conflict worse rather than help resolve it. Try to avoid any of the following:


This is a total withdrawal and refusal to discuss the issue. It usually leaves the conversation with nowhere to go. Stonewalling is often used by people who don’t like conflict and so try to avoid it. It’s very common in relationships for one partner to habitually stonewall while the other gets frustrated trying to get answers. This leads to a dynamic called ‘distancer - pursuer’. 


Commenting negatively, over and above the current problem. 'You're always so forgetful.' This can cause the other person to feel attacked and threatened. This behaviour often creates a very defensive response, and so can be the trigger for a real shouting match.   


For example, sneering, belligerence or sarcasm. 'You think you're so clever.' This is very unproductive and can cause the other person to feel humiliated and belittled.


Aggressively defending and justifying self to the other person. 'You haven't got a clue just how much I have to remember every day.' The other person is likely to feel attacked by this and the argument is likely to escalate.

Future arguments

It can take a while to change negative behaviours and learn to disagree in a constructive and calm manner.

If you’ve gotten used to certain patterns of behaviour, it might take a little practice before you’re ready to start working together better.

However, do try to stick with it – because once you get used to working through problems in a constructive and calm manner, it can produce some really positive changes in your relationship.

Relationships are always a work in progress.  If you find yourself rowing again, look at what happened, think about what you each could have done better, and talk it through. Then forgive yourself and your partner and move on.

How we can help

One Session Therapy is a solution focused, one off appointment, which can help you navigate through these feelings, process what has happened and discuss how to move forward from an argument that keeps coming up, either in your own time or with further Therapy. 

Finding ways to communicate after a lot of arguments takes time. One Session Therapy equips you with tools to communicate effectively, set boundaries, and work towards understanding eachother, either on your own, or with one other person. 

Ready to move forward and take steps to argue better, or argue less? Book a One Session Therapy session with us to speak with a counsellor at a time that works for you and take the first step in resolving the problem you’re facing. 

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