8 Tiny Signs Your Arguments With Your Partner Are Really Unhealthy

Every couple fights, but are you fighting the right way?

Last updated on Jun 05, 2024

Couple arguing Marriage Advice: Stop Arguing With Your Partner

Do you know the difference between healthy and unhealthy arguments in a relationship? The answer could be a matter of life or death for your relationship and you. It turns out that Danish research connects frequent patterns of unhealthy arguments in personal and work relationships with premature death. Those who argue regularly in their relationships had about a 50 to 100 percent likelihood of dying from stress-induced high blood pressure or heart disease.


Have you ever considered the toll your unhealthy arguments are taking on your health? Maybe it's time to explore the nature of your arguments. Of course, some degree of healthy arguments are important. Think about the power of debate. When two people present their opposing views respectfully and passionately, understanding flows back and forth. Each party may discover something new so long as each remains open to learning something from the other.

I've longed for this kind of healthy arguing in my marriage. But for most of our 26 years, we were stuck in some pretty unhealthy patterns. I married a trial lawyer who rocks in court as an arguer extraordinaire, but who can be trouble on wheels in an at-home argument. He rarely backs down at work or in his personal life. Given that I'm rather stubborn, it took years for us to recognize that our arguments had become frequent and often strayed into unhealthy territory. 


RELATED: The Death Knell Of Any Good Relationship, According To Research

Here are 8 signs that you're having unhealthy arguments with your partner:

1. The need to win fuels the argument

When one of us needs to win, the other becomes defensive. It's a fight to the finish. One victor stands while the relationship loses. Our "we" becomes lost in "me."

2. We lose the ability to take turns

When the back-and-forth flow of opinion and discussion stops, adversaries emerge. One of us can feel like a witness being badgered by the prosecuting attorney. A previously healthy argument becomes an unhealthy power play.


3. We lose the ability to truly listen to each other

When we tune each other out, we get lost in our agendas. We listen only for a pause to speak our part and we ignore what the other is saying. Understanding flies out the window.

RELATED: 10 Most Common Need-To-Win Fighting Styles That Destroy Relationships

4. We jump in and cut the other off

When we start interrupting each other, we demonstrate our lack of respect. Blatant disrespect eliminates the possibility of an effective compromise or an agreement to disagree.

5. Rising anger enters the argument

If we don't recognize and control our anger, raging emotions hijack a previously healthy argument. We use tones and words that may demean and hurt. We deviate from the rational platform of our disagreement.


RELATED: The Most Common Fight That Destroys Relationships

6. Our voices rise and our tones become harsher

This is a sign that we're entering fight-to-the-finish mode. The battle of ideas (the original premise of the argument) becomes a battle of partners. As tempers fly, it's him versus me.

7. We argue about the same things in the same way

It's argument déja vu. Why? Because we've steadfastly refused to accept our unchanging differences on this issue. And we're not curious to understand each other's views. We're beating a dead horse, and our relationship is taking the hit.

@therapyjeff Repeatedly fighting about the same thing is not a relationship red flag, unless it is. #mentalhealth #therapy #therapytok #mentalhealthmatters #relationshiptips #dating #datingadvice ♬ original sound - TherapyJeff

8. Neither will step away from the argument

There are some things that we will not agree on. Ever. So when we forget this, a healthy repartee can easily devolve into an angry verbal war. No one wins these arguments, and the relationship loses.  


This is what I've learned from my relationship with the man of my dreams. When we are stuck in unhealthy arguments, our lives are nightmares. But just like a nightmare, the power of an unhealthy argument fades the longer we are away from it. When you spend time thinking about other things, you will be able to move past the argument and get your relationship to a better place. 

RELATED: 6 Relationship Arguments Way Too Petty To Ever Fight Over

Gina Binder is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works with individuals and couples who feel stuck in life and helps them discover a pathway to healthy change.