All couples argue, but one relationship expert says the real reasons for the fights aren’t what you think they are. Couples coach Erica Wright explains that rather than the small, surface-level thing you’re bickering about, like your partner not texting you back, there’s actually a hidden dynamic at the heart of it.
Wright’sTikTokvideo captioned “What are you actually fighting about?” has gone viral with more than 900-thousand views. In it, she says when you fight with your partner about something small, like them forgetting to take the trash out, it may set off a defensive reaction in you because these little triggers can build up and lead to a big reaction. But she says that reaction is a result of deeper emotions. According to Wright, these are the underlying causes of the petty things couples tend to fight over:
- Power and control- This can come out in a fight like, “You always undermine me in front of the kids” or “You need to load the dishwasher my way because that’s the right way.”
- Respect and recognition- Wright says arguments about these can sound like, “You always make plans without even asking me first” or “Do you even realize how much I do around the house?”
- Caring and closeness- The third deeper meaning for couples’ fights relates to when one partner says something like, “Why am I the only one to text?” or “Why don’t you ever plan a date night?”
When these issues come up over and over, Wright says they can trigger insecurity and over time, change the way we see our partner and our relationship. “If we think our partner doesn’t care about us, every interaction is seen as if we are wearing sunglasses,” she explains. But on the flip side, if you feel like your partner really does love you, you’ll “interpret every interaction through that lens.”