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Sometimes there are disagreements in a relationship and that's normal, but if you're stuck in a pattern of constant arguing and finding it hard to change, you may need more help. Here we look at how you can move forward.

Why do we fight all the time?

Constant fighting in a relationship can be due to several underlying problems or unaddressed emotional needs. A common cause is communication problems, where difficulties in expressing feelings, needs and expectations effectively lead to misunderstandings and frustration. Unrealistic expectations can create a sense of disappointment. External pressures such as work stress, financial problems or family issues can increase tensions and result in frequent arguments.

Feelings of insecurity or jealousy can lead to conflict if not managed in a healthy way. Differences in values, priorities and life goals can create a gap between partners and cause recurring conflicts. Untreated wounds or trauma from previous relationships can also affect the current relationship, leading to conflict.

A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) found that 71% of women and 62% of men who went to couples counselling were satisfied with the type of counselling they received. The study also found that over 80% of participants would recommend counselling to others.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

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A sense of power imbalance, where one partner dominates decision-making or does not respect the other’s boundaries, can also be a contributing factor to arguments. If a partner has mental health problems such as depression or substance abuse, he or she may also need to undergo self-help therapy.

To reduce conflict, you can work on improving communication, managing stress more effectively and seeking compromise. Couples therapy can reduce the feelings of loneliness and distance in the relationship that can arise if there is a lot of fighting. It can bring people closer together and improve the quality of the relationship.

How often is it normal to fight?

The frequency of arguments in relationships differs between couples and depends on factors such as personalities and communication styles. What matters is how conflict is handled, not how often it happens. Constructive conflict can strengthen relationships by increasing understanding and personal growth. Frequent and destructive arguments, on the other hand, can signal deeper problems that can damage the relationship. Developing good communication skills and seeking couple’s therapy when necessary is essential for a healthy relationship.


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Are there any benefits to fighting?

Conflicts in relationships can be beneficial if managed constructively, acting as catalysts for improved communication, increased understanding, development of conflict management skills, resolved problems, stronger relationships and personal growth. By expressing feelings and needs, couples can achieve better communication and increased empathy. Healthy conflict management enables problem solving and promotes self-reflection and development. However, if conflicts are mismanaged and become destructive, couples may need professional help, such as couples therapy, to learn more effective communication and conflict management.

How to deal with the fights?

Managing arguments in a relationship effectively involves good communication, understanding, empathy and sometimes creative solutions. You can use ‘I’ messages to express feelings and needs, which helps to avoid your partner becoming defensive. Actively listening to each other and showing that you understand and respect the other’s perspective, even if you don’t agree, is crucial to reduce tension and increase understanding in the relationship.

An effective strategy is to take a break if emotions become too intense, giving both parties a chance to calm down before continuing the discussion. Then focus on problem solving and if compromise is possible, you both show that you value the relationship and are willing to work together to find a solution that works for both of you.

To further strengthen the relationship, it is important to spend quality time together outside of conflict situations and to share personal thoughts, feelings and dreams. If you find that the arguments are becoming destructive or difficult to manage on your own, it may be a good idea to seek professional help through couples therapy. Learning to manage conflict constructively is an important part of building a strong and lasting relationship.


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What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy works with core issues to improve communication, manage disagreements and strengthen their relationship.

This involves exploring the history of the relationship, improving the expression of thoughts and feelings, addressing specific problems such as finances or parenting, and developing conflict management strategies. Couples therapy is valuable during crises like infidelity or major changes, and the goal is to help the couple understand what is best for them, whether that means staying together or separating in a healthy way.

The therapist acts as a neutral, supportive and objective party who helps the couple navigate through their problems without taking sides or placing blame. Seeking couples therapy can be a powerful step towards revitalizing a relationship and building a stronger, more fulfilling future together.

Treatment for relationship problems

Couples therapy begins with initial sessions where the therapist gets to know the couple and their challenges, followed by setting joint goals to improve the relationship, such as better communication or conflict management. The work phase focuses on developing communication skills, resolving conflicts, working through emotional issues and introducing positive behavioural changes, with active input from both partners. The process ends with an evaluation and a plan to maintain and improve the relationship further. The therapist’s role is to guide and support the couple through this process, where the couple’s involvement is crucial for success. Couples therapy aims to provide insights and tools for a stronger and more satisfying relationship.

Different methods of couple therapy

There are several different approaches to couple therapy, each with their own theoretical basis and techniques to help couples improve their relationship. Here are two evidence-based approaches that are commonly used in couple therapy:

1. integrative behavioural therapy for couples (IBCT)

IBCT aims to help couples accept the irreconcilable differences between them and work on increasing closeness and understanding by improving emotional acceptance and empathic communication. The method combines behavioural changes with acceptance strategies. It is an evidence-based approach, meaning that it has been shown to produce good results in research and is a further development of cognitive behavioural therapy for couples.

2. emotionally focused therapy (EFT)

EFT is a method that focuses on strengthening the emotional bond between partners by exploring the emotional responses that underlie the couple’s interaction patterns. The therapy helps couples identify and express their underlying emotional needs and learn to meet each other’s needs in a more satisfying way. EFT is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to produce good results in research.

Each method has its own strengths and may be more or less appropriate depending on the couple’s specific situation and needs. There are also other methods such as the Gottman Method, other couple therapies and literature that can be helpful in learning more about relationships. Many couple therapists use a combination of these methods to best address the couple’s unique challenges.


12 common questions and answers about fighting all the time

Why do we fight all the time?

Fighting in a relationship can be caused by a number of different factors. There may be communication problems, unmet emotional needs, external pressures such as stress and financial worries. Past relationships and trauma can also have an impact, as well as mental health problems on either side.

How often is it normal to fight?

The frequency of arguments in a relationship varies widely between couples and can depend on many factors, including personalities, communication styles and life circumstances. There is no normal frequency that fits all relationships, but it is important to focus on how conflicts are handled rather than how often they occur.

Are there benefits to fighting?

Conflicts in a relationship can actually have potential benefits if managed constructively. They can serve as catalysts for improved communication, deeper understanding of each other, development of conflict management skills, resolution of underlying problems, strengthening of the relationship and personal growth. However, if conflicts are destructive and repetitive, it may be helpful to get more help in couples therapy.

How to deal with the fights?

Managing arguments in a relationship effectively requires good communication, understanding, empathy and sometimes creative solutions. An important part of the process is using messages and active listening. You can work on problem solving and other strategies in couple therapy to change the pattern you have developed.

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help couples understand and resolve conflicts, improve their relationship and communication, and strengthen the closeness of the relationship.

How does treatment for relationship problems work?

Treatment often starts with an assessment phase to identify problems and patterns. This is followed by an active treatment phase where work on tools and strategies to change patterns is central. Finally, there is a closing phase where the treatment is summarized for further work after the therapy.

What is IBCT?

IBCT (Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy) is an evidence-based therapy that aims to help couples accept their differences and work on increasing intimacy and understanding by improving emotional acceptance and empathic communication. The method combines behavioural changes with acceptance strategies.

My partner is mean when we fight, what should I do?

If you have developed a destructive pattern in your relationship, you can seek help in couple therapy. Abusive behaviour is not okay but help is available if both partners are motivated to change.

I am afraid of my partner and do not dare to leave, where can I turn?

If you experience threats and/or violence in your relationship, you can contact the police on 000 or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 (24 hour service). Women’s shelters can also be helpful in getting more support to leave the relationship.

The children notice that my partner and I are fighting, how should I handle it?

If the children are affected by conflicts at home, it is important to seek therapy to get more help.

My partner has a problem with alcohol, can we go to counselling?

If you have problems with addiction or other mental health issues such as depression, it is important to seek help for this separately from couples therapy. These problems need to be addressed before you can get a good result from couples therapy.

Where can I seek help?

If you want to go to therapy, we recommend that you contact a licensed psychologist or therapist who works with couples. You can book a first appointment with one of our therapists here at Lavendla. We make the difficult easier.

Treatment for relationship problems with Integrative Behavioural Couples Therapy (IBCT)

Integrative behavioural couple therapy (IBCT) is an evidence-based form of couple therapy that aims to help couples improve their relationship by accepting each other and increasing the couple’s emotional closeness. IBCT combines traditional behavioural therapy techniques with a focus on both change and acceptance. Here is how a treatment with IBCT usually works:

Initial phase

  • Assessment: Treatment begins with a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship, including their current problems, relationship history, and each party’s perspectives and experiences.
  • Feedback session: The therapist provides feedback based on the initial assessment. This phase often includes discussions about the couple’s strengths as well as areas that need development.

Work phase

  • Focus on acceptance: IBCT emphasizes the importance of accepting unbridgeable differences between partners. The therapist works with the couple to help them understand and empathically accept each other’s needs, desires, and patterns of behaviour that cannot be easily changed.
  • Emotional closeness: By encouraging openness and communication, the therapist helps the couple increase their emotional closeness and understanding of each other.
  • Behaviour change: Although the focus is on acceptance, IBCT also includes strategies for behaviour change. This may involve developing new communication skills, solving problems, and working on improving daily interactions.

Closure

  • Evaluation of progress: The therapist and the couple together evaluate the progress made during therapy and discuss any future steps or continued support.

IBCT focusses on helping couples develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of each other, which can lead to a more satisfying and sustainable relationship. By balancing acceptance with active change efforts, IBCT aims to reduce conflict, increase closeness and strengthen the emotional bond between partners.

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Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.