Why It’s OK To Row

Five reasons why arguing can be good for you

Couples shouldn’t shy away from having a row. Done right, they can help you both.

It’s natural and important to argue with the people that you love. Conflict is inevitable. And it doesn’t have to mean anything is seriously wrong or that the relationship is doomed. A fight done well can help not hinder. Here’s why…

Arguments can teach you what you want and what you’re like

Sometimes it can take a row for you to see what’s really bothering you and more importantly, why. It’s only when frustrations come to the surface that you learn how you feel about yourself in the relationship, what you want and what might be missing. The trick to working this all out is to look beyond the thing that triggered the fight. Step back and ask yourself why it’s bothering you so much. Are you feeling disconnected, lonely, taken for granted? Get to the feelings behind the words and then you’ll get a sense of what’s underlying these fights. Only then will you be able to address what’s at the centre of your bust-ups.

Rows show you what you need to be concerned about

You can’t fix what you never knew was broken and sometimes the first we learn of a problem is when we start fighting about it. We’re all guilty of having the same argument on repeat but occasionally a row can provide us with information we never knew. We learn what we need to address and now we’ve identified the problem, we can start to resolve it. A disagreement shows us where we are misaligned and where tweaks are needed.

Fights can bring you closer

Handled well, an argument can lead to better understanding and more trust between you two. You need to air the things that are troubling you, challenge them, explain them, and come up with ways to change them. Done right, the knowledge you gain from a good row can help you manage difficult moments in the future. They can teach patience, respect and even admiration.

They remind you that you’re different

It’s hard to hide your true personality when you’re in the midst of a blazing row. We show our true selves, we get to see all sides of our partners. Most crucially, we see the bits that are different from ours and we’re forced to confront them. That can be tough, but it’s a good thing. Arguments shine a light on how your partner thinks and feels on certain issues, which ultimately allows you to understand them better.

It’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders

When you’re in the thick of it, rows can be exhausting and stressful, but afterwards, boy can the relief be palpable! When you can let it all out, release that frustration and anger, you feel lighter. Instead of suppressing how you feel, you’ve released your emotions and your insecurities. It’s not always easy in the immediate aftermath. You’ll need to calm down, take a break, reflect on the argument. But, as the saying goes, you grow through what you go through. A fair fight can leave you feeling much lighter.

When to quit the fight

Not all rows are beneficial. Sometimes they’re like alarm bells that go off in your relationship. Listen out for the warning signals.

Is your partner trying to control you.

If the rows are turning into battles for control, pay attention. If your partner is telling you who you can see, what you should wear or eat or watch on TV, be careful. If they steer you away from your friends and family so that they’re the only person in your life, watch out.

Are they violent?

If your partner often loses their temper, to the extent that it becomes frightening, get out or get help. When they start lashing out, throwing things, punching the wall, or breaking furniture, these are red flags you can’t ignore. You could get caught in the crossfire or worse, you could be their next target. If you feel you already are, if your partner hits you, make plans to leave safely.

They’re emotionally abusive.

Emotional abuse can be just as dangerous as physical abuse. Just because your partner isn’t hitting you, doesn’t mean what they are doing should be tolerated. Watch out for partners who make belittling or disparaging remarks and then pretend they’re joking. It’s not funny. It needs to stop.

Is it getting worse?

If the situation is escalating and you’re worried where things are headed, pay attention. As yourself what you would tell your best friend if they were in this situation, then take your advice. We’re often more protective over our friends than we are ourselves.

You feel threatened.

If you feel physically or emotionally unsafe when you fight, then it’s definitely time to leave. If you absolutely have to stay, get help from a professional. Speak to your GP or talk to a therapist. As soon as you feel things have crossed a line, confide in someone. Tell a friend, or a family member as soon as possible. Is your life is being adversely affected by your partner’s behaviour when you row? Maybe your friendships, job or health are suffering. Remember, you don’t have to stand by someone who doesn’t respect you back.

Your loved ones are worried.

If people who love you are concerned for your safety, if they fear you’re in a nasty relationship, please trust them and listen to what they’re saying. It’s normal that one person might not like your partner, but as soon as a few of them start saying the same thing, take their advice. They’ve got your best interests at heart.

If the rows are getting to you, please get in touch at anna@kingsleycounselling.com and book a free 10 minute chat with me.

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