9 signs the “little fight” with your significant other is more serious than you thought

Relationships can be difficult to navigate, even the very best ones. Since a relationship involves the coming together of two people, often with different personalities and perspectives, disagreements and little fights with your significant other are expected — perhaps even healthy. However, sometimes those “little fights” you have with your significant other can be more serious than you initially thought.

These little fights could serve as an indication that it might be time for change.

Now, before you start panicking, we’re not saying your relationship is “broken” and we’re definitely not saying it has to be doomed. But we are saying, you should pay attention. Yes, the occasional disagreement is natural but it’s the way you approach the argument that’s important. After a healthy argument there should be resolution and an agreed upon approach to do things better the next time around. The fights you have with your person shouldn’t be destructive or leave you more frustrated with yourself or your partner.

To help us better understand the underlying issues that may be present in our relationships, we reached out to relationship expert, Alysha Jeney. Alysha is a 30-year-old relationship coach based in Denver, CO, and the founder of The Modern Love Box — a subscription box meant to inspire the modern relationship. She has been in a successful partnership with her husband for almost 10 years, so we think it’s safe to say, she knows what she’s talking about!

Here are 10 signs your “little fights” might not be so little after all, according to Alysha Jeney, MA, MFT-C.

1You have the same “little” argument over and over again.

This usually represents an underlying issue that hasn’t been properly addressed with core emotions. It’s easier to argue about a symptom (i.e. the dishwasher not being loaded properly) than it is to say, ‘I feel disrespected by you.’ Try to look underneath the reoccurring issue and see if there’s anything in there (that’s more vulnerable) that hasn’t been addressed.

2You don’t feel heard.

If you feel like your partner never truly hears you, than this may be a bigger issue. Regardless of the content or severity of the argument itself, the problem lies with you experiencing a power struggle in your relationship that leaves you feeling helpless. This is a big deal because both of your voices need to be heard, respected, and validated with any experience/conflict.

3You feel irrational panic.

Let’s face it, everyone can be irrational sometimes and our emotions aren’t always the most poised. That’s okay, you’re human! However, if you experience constant irrational panic before/during an argument (i.e. “They’re is going to leave me,” or “I’ll never do anything right by them”), this may be a sign that you’re not as secure in your relationship as you need to be.

4You feel OK for a few days and then sad or frustrated again.

This could mean that you two aren’t resolving conflict effectively and your attempt at “making things better” is more about “making uncomfortable conversations go away.” You may need more validation or your partner to take accountability in order for you to fully “move on.”

5You use sex as an attempt to repair things.

Make up sex isn’t a bad thing, but if it’s used as a form of reconnection and is the only solution to conflict, then this can be a problem. You’re both avoiding the underlying emotions and hurt feelings and are relying on hormones to solve an issue that they can’t.

6You’re not being authentic or true to yourself.

If you find yourself closing off, shutting down, getting aggressive, etc., and that doesn’t feel authentically you, you may be uncomfortable being vulnerable in your relationship. Instead of getting discouraged, remember that this part takes a lot of time and involves risk-taking.

7You talk to your friend/mother/therapist more about how you feel in your relationship than with your partner.

If you can’t address your frustrations with your partner regularly, you both have some work to do. Your confidants are there for a reason, but issues within the relationship really need to be addressed and validated with your partner themselves. Emotionally, you are attempting to feel heard by communicating with other people about how you’re feeling, but you really need to be going to your partner to get that recognition.

8You don’t ever take ownership of YOUR behavior.

Take some time to really check in with yourself and understand what emotion is prompting your behavior and try to calmly describe that to your partner rather than just react. This could be a symptom of not feeling as secure in your relationship, and also a sign that you’re not being true to your needs and requests. Be vulnerable! Your partner isn’t a monster unless you come at them like a monster. Try being more vulnerable so they can have the opportunity to meet you where you are and understand you better.

9You find yourselves arguing about “facts.”

If you find yourselves arguing about “who is right” and “who said this, or that,” than your argument style is likely not effective. Healthy conflict needs to be about compromise, validation and resolution, which requires both partners to relinquish their egos and hear each other out. If you find yourselves arguing about perceived facts and small details, you’re avoiding the core emotion that got you upset in the first place.

Relationships are hard, so it’s important to be self-aware when dealing with your partner. If you resonated with much of the above, it may be time to check in with your S.O.!

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