You Asked: Why Do We Fight So Much?


Dear Sugar,

My husband and I have been married for nearly four years now and lately it seems like all we do is fight. Everything turns into an argument, and most of the time I have no idea why. I can't seem to trust him or anyone else not to hurt me. He says that I only listen to half of what he says, and even that half gets misinterpreted. I'm sure that I listen carefully and that while I definitely have trust issues, I'm not misinterpreting. He's a very arrogant man who has trouble admitting when he's wrong. The problem is that I don't know who's the problem here: am I being overly-sensitive or is he just being a jerk? How do I learn to trust him so that I can be more rational about this?

— Caught in Conflict Carol

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Dear Caught in Conflict Carol,

Though I certainly can't say which came first, my best guess is that you and your husband's arguments have become cyclical. Meaning that his arrogance has led to your insecurities, which only further communicates to him that he's always right, in turn, only making you feel less trusting, and so the conflict continues. It shouldn't be a matter of determining who's in the right or wrong — it sounds like you both have significant grievances — but figuring out how to stop this cycle of fighting before it gets worse.

It's time to decide if you guys are ready to make a commitment to end these disputes. If so, then you have to stop playing the blame game because it's not going to get either of you anywhere. Instead sit down and communicate what it is about his language that makes you feel insecure; try to use specific words and phrases. When he says something that hurts you, repeat it back to him as you understand it, and let him explicitly say whether or not that's what he means to say. Even though you may not be misinterpreting things, it's quite possible that what he's saying is not what he actually means.

Finally, you both need to work on apologizing to one another. Though you can't force your husband to admit when he's wrong, you can start by doing that yourself. And instead of telling him when he's wrong, let him know that a simple apology would mean a lot to you. If none of these changes in communication work, consider talking to a therapist to find other avenues for you both to work through your concerns. Good luck!

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