Dealing With Arguments That Wreck Relationships

Forward this on to anyone you know who is in a relationship and could use a pick me up.

We’ve had so many emails in recently from people asking me to do a few videos for people in relationships.

If you’re seeing a guy or you’re in a relationship right now, I want to share something that can make your relationship even more special.

Today’s tip revolves around arguments…

Arguments are always seen as negative, and people often assume that in the early stages of a relationship arguments are a sign of things coming to an end.

Let’s imagine for a second that you’re with your guy and the two of you start arguing.

Immediately emotion comes in that says, “I need to win this argument”. This might be caused by pride, stubbornness and insecurity, and today I want to make sure that we argue from a more mature place (I’ve been guilty of this wanting to ‘win’ myself, which is why I know the topic so well!).

Remember that there’s a difference between winning in an argument, and winning in a relationship.

I want to make sure that you win in the relationship.

The argument is just a battle; the relationship is the war.

Next time you’re in an argument, there are two words that I want you to remember:

I Understand

Sounds obvious – the key to relationships is understanding. But it’s true. When you get to the head of an argument, showing that you understand someone is THE KEY.

You might not agree with someone’s reaction to a situation, but you can acknowledge where their feelings have come from that have lead to their reaction.

Imagine that you’ve done something that’s caused him to feel jealous and to come over and shout at you. You’re annoyed because you feel like he had no right to start shouting at you.

Now, you can disagree with his reaction to shout at you, but try to understand and acknowledge the feeling that the shouting came from.

When you’re empathetic and understand the feeling, people will very often show that they’re sorry and you’ll diffuse an argument.

I want to make our default response to someone’s anger to try and figure out why someone is feeling a certain way before you retaliate. Going on the attack is where you can do serious damage to a relationship.

You’re a team, you want to help each other, and the easiest way to do that is to show that you understand.

Question of the day

I read an article on the Huffington Post recently that couples that argue once a week stand a better chance of staying together. Do you agree with this? Can arguments be a good thing?

Let me know in the comments below. I read every single one, and I’m going to do my best to reply.

See you soon!

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Want more like this?

In my programme The Man Myth I have a whole module dedicated to the male mind. In it you will learn a better way of dealing with jealousy, the kind of game playing that destroys relationships, and how to ‘pre-frame’ a guy’s behaviour before you even get into a relationship. Click here to learn more.

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126 Replies to “Dealing With Arguments That Wreck Relationships”

  1. One persons discussion is another persons argument/fight.
    Until a couple are able to agree discussion is a safe, open way forward one personmay always feel the agenda is an arguement.

  2. In 27 years together (he is now deceased) my husband and I never shouted at one another we had discussions. The only time things could have “got out of hand” was when his sister ran me down to him and tried to cause trouble. But he dealt with her and I just kept quiet. I never reciprocated and treated her with animosity as she did me. Quite frankly Matt on the day of his funeral she was no other word for it “evil” to me. Arguements are not good.

  3. Excellent tip Matt. I totally agree that “understanding” is the key. But when the feeling is so strong, understanding is always surpassed. To remain calm, reflective and temperament could be best. Try to hold one’s temper, keep quiet and never reciprocate shout with a louder shout! I could not recall I had argument with my husband in public but we did one or two during our entire marriage (he passed 2 years ago) inside our house. I perfectly knew it’s me and my big mouth that started it and since he’s a very understanding husband, things went well after that…I’m so grateful for having such a husband. Couldn’t thank him enough for saving me from the snare of “words that can kill” So, for those who are dreaming for a lasting relationship, deal with arguments squarely…take the advice of the Guy Matt Hussey!

  4. I think, that arguments are healthy for relationship. They clear up the air. I much more prefer a reasonable argument than beeing angry at someone and just be quiet, so the other person doesn’t know, what’s going on.

    In my past relationships, the ones, where we were arguing (a bit, I don’t mean crazy yelling at eych other) always lasted longer. In my opinion, I’d much rather have a healthy relationship whit a few storms, than one, which seems to be perfect, but we would be confused of each others angry reaction or quitness. And because I’m quite passionate person, I get bored really quickly, when there is no action in relationship.

  5. I think that arguing can be damaging to a relationship because quiet often they are loaded with emotion and misunderstandings and that is where alot of damage is done to the relationship. I was fortunate enough to learn a conflict resolution technique at a Native American teaching weekend, where each of you ‘hear’ what the other person is saying and what their issues are. once you have been heard you come to a resolution and share a display of affection. its time consuming but much healthier and more productive. Its not too far removed from the point of understanding that you were making Matthew.

  6. Matthew, this is a great video–thank you. I’m looking forward to hearing about when the other person does not understand or take any responsibility for their behavior–then wonders why the relationship begins to detriorate. Could you address the man that “checks out” (leaves, ignores, runs) from dealing with issues or challenges? While it may not be the case in the majority of men in relationships, it is quite common.

    1. Oh yes, I’d love that too. I’m always for solving things in a respectful manner, yet my latest guy went totally silent on me after I asked an inconvenient question (long distance relationship) and ignored any of my attemps to contact him ever since:( I felt terrible, but not because I asked what was important for me, but because the guy I thought was so mature (34yo)and reliable decided to end things in such irrespectful manner because of his inability to solve issues. Of course, it only shows he is not a relationship material inspite of his good looks, succesfull career, intellect and characteristics of a great friend. Its nothing but a passive agressive way of showing that there only be conversations that *he* wants.

    2. I know the type you are talking about. He shuts down, goes quiet, walks away… To be honest, I would rather have a shouting match than endure the silence.

  7. My opinion? Yes, arguments, done properly, are fine and necessary. As long as it’s done with a loving base, the disagreement itself can be loving. No sucker punches, no name calling, no pouting, etc. Clarity, respect and a bit of calm can make for a good heated discussion because chances are I’m not going to be in a relationship with someone who is exactly like me. There’s going to be differences with emotions attached to those differences and once the air clears after our little ‘kicking up some dirt’, I want to be able to kiss and make up with a sense of positive release.

  8. I would agree and disagree.I would agree because if a couple have something to hid or some reason that is anoying about each other they can clear it up by an argument or by discussions, it is also sometimes healthy and sometimes its not. I would also disagree because it could break up a relationships if they keep at each other for every little thing and it could also affect the nervous systems if not carefull.

  9. I was married to a man for 17 years and we never had a bad argument , we really loved each other and always put the other’s needs first, He was very patient but I think was always ‘bottling up’his emotions. Sometimes we tried to discuss issues but we could never resolve them and they were left ‘up in the air’ We divorced in the end……… I’m now with a completely opposite type of man. Volatile and emotional and expressive. We’ve spent weeks apart because of rows but always go back, apologise to each other and resume our loving relationshoip. We have recently been apart for 2 and a half months but missed each other and the good parts of our relationship so much that we have tried yet again. This time we did what you have talked about, Matt, Listened and tried to understand each other. We agreed that this is what we must do in future.Difficult when you actually know that the other person is wrong.We agreed that we must be more careful with what we say to each other. I remember my mother calmly saying to me ‘ You know, you don’t always have to be right’….I’m reading your book Matthew and its brilliant. Thank you so much!

  10. To a certain extent, arguments can help preserve a relationship as couples who argue actually get to voice out displeasure.

  11. Hello Matt,
    Thank you for talking about this topic :)

    I believe that arguments can be healthy for a relationship, so the couple can get to know each other even better. The key is how they would end that argument in the best romantic way.

    I’m in a relationship with this great guy for almost four months now, we don’t argue that much, almost never.. every time we start an argument, he changes the subject to avoid it, which got me concerned that we’re not honest enough with each other.

    How can I encourage my boyfriend to open up and not to be afraid of losing me if we start arguing?

    Thank you!

  12. I believe arguments absolutely help relationships. No two people are going to be on the same page all the time…it’s the differences that draw us to our mates a lot of the time. If it’s a constant battle that gets progressively uglier then you need to rethink the relationship but if it’s arguing that leads to understanding and enriching the relationship, that’s a good thing.

    I was married for 20 years and we rarely argued…it wasn’t healthy and it didn’t work…feelings need to come out; bottling them up causes resentment and distance between couples. I believe there is such a thing as “positive arguing”.

  13. Hi there, great video and post as usual! As for the question, arguments are more than normal, the problem isn’t the argument itself, but how each member of the couple manage it. We tend to see arguments as a problem to solve, however if we forget about SOLVING and just focus on managing it, we can not only nourish the relationship but also end up learning more about one another! It’s kind of like criticism. Some people see it as something negative, however constructive criticism is always a plus in improving ourselves.
    At least that’s my point of view on this aspect and what I’ve learned from past relationships :)

    Cheers!

  14. In my last relationship we argued so much and it was draining and we were left emotionally raw as we were both such passionate people & felt that our point was the only valid one, we on several occasions agreed to disagree but that didn’t work either, we both ended up separating and resenting each other, it was nice in beginning but a quarter of the way throughrright to the end of the 9m was a living nightmare of pure arguing :(

  15. I was seeing a guy over a year off and on, and his growth was really slow even after we talked and discussed what we can say, cannot say, not to hurt each other and to make our communication more construcive and to build more healthier relationship.

    Very dependent, inmature guy he was though he was in his middle age, and everything incl finance is taken care by the parents. We argued every single time we met, and then after discussion it reduced down to couple of times a week but still it was not so healthy and I found it was very draining as I found he was not really changing fundamentally. In the end, I gave up and decided to move on.

    It is better to find a guy with very similar core values, almost the same mental and emotional level, almost the same spiritual level. Men would not be changed and it is pure an absolute time and energy waste to deal with a guy who is less developed mentally and emotionally as it cannot avoid series of arguments.

    If you cannot agree with the vey core values, then he is not the right one for you. He would not change though you try.

    1. K,

      I agree it’s really important to find someone with the same core values. That’s why it’s so important to figure out what their values are early on so we don’t waste our time. Eliciting values is one of the most important things to be learnt in human interaction.

      Mx

  16. My partner and I argue frequently about the same thing… he makes off-the-cuff remarks about my weight, looks or anything that comes into his head (he doesn’t think before he says things and is always joking around). I hate criticism and get very angry, tell him that I’ve said hundreds of times that he shouldn’t say things like that as they upset me, I end up storming off or packing my bags to leave. He then tells me he doesn’t mean anything by the comments and not to take them to heart and that I’m always overreacting. I always end up staying with him as we are otherwise really good together. Would love to know how to deal with this as it may one day be the end of us and I don’t want that to happen.

  17. If the argument is about the same thing every week, then it might not bode well for the relationship, unless it’s about pickles or something =P. Thanks for the video and pointers! I forgot the other thing I was going to say.~ x

    1. Well the thing you did say was great : ). Recurring arguments are not good over the long term. When this happens we have to find a way to break the pattern so that it becomes impossible to keep following the “formula” that leads to that argument.

      Thanks for your comment Yuetching

      x

  18. Hello,

    Okay, I dno if I’m right or wrong, but with me and my ex bf we used to fight everytime we get cold, and everytime after every fight he would become the sweetest person on earth he would pamper me like crazy say I Love You all he time and keep on telling me sweet stuff about how he cant feel happy if I’m mad at him and he would go like pleaseee forgive me I’m sorry for like 100 times until I give up and smile… That made me unconsciously create a problem and become picky whenever I used to miss him being attentive… He loved me so much and I knew it, but we would fight every week almost about so many things.. and we would get back stronger everytime we make up and forgive each other.. Until last time, I felt I was always stressed and he wasnt being the way I expect my one to be.. we don’t love in the same way although our love was strong.. So I decided to leave.. because I couldnt take any more fights every time… although maybe I was becoming too sensitive and picking on every small mistake but I thought he was driving me there because he is different, and he would do and re do the same mistake several times until a sorry felt lik nothing for me anymore I started feeling like he just says sorry to get away not because he really is sorry… I still miss him now, and for several times I felt like I just wanted to go back to him especially that he is still trying until now.. But I started believing that Love isnt enough, I need someone to understand me and bring out the best of me instead of bringing out the worse..

    I Really wanna Thank you Mathew because you always send very interesting emails and I can always relate to them.

    Love, xx

    Layla

  19. Hi Matt,
    thanks so much for such a helpful video. I´ve been following most of your posts and they have all been very insightful. THANK YOU.
    After being single for almost a year, I recently started dating a somewhat younger guy. The problem is, we argue almost everyday. In the month that we´ve been together we even managed to break up 2 times already (and now are seeing if we could get back together). After the first break-up, for a while I thought we were beginning to learn about each other and were getting more skilled at solving problems, but in the end somehow we always end up arguing.
    I guess the two words I UNDERSTAND can help both sides realize they are not fighting against one another but for the relationship. I will try it next time we argue and let you know how it worked!
    Hana

  20. Arguments are healthy if both people use them to understand each other better, which is usually what an argument does between a good couple does. However, arguments that are part of a power struggle or used to hurt each other, it becomes toxic to the relationship.

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