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How do normal couples argue?


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Hey Everyone,

Bit of background I’ve been in a relationship now for around 8 months and it’s been really tricky to navigate. There’s a lot I’m trying to figure out about myself and I really want to understand ‘normal’ ways of dealing with conflict.

I want to start with an example from the other day. We went to a concert with her sister and her sisters boyfriend. I met the sisters boyfriend before and we had a few drinks until my girlfriend arrived.

When she arrived she tried to direct me but made a comment that was quite rude in the heat of the moment - ‘stop f*cucking talking to fast and direct me’.

When she got to the bar she asked if I was drunk and I said,’Yes, I’m not drunk I’m tipsy I’ve had two pints’. And she got really annoyed at the fact I was tipsy and started sulking.

When talking to her sister, I looked at her body language being closed and I made a childish comment saying ‘sorry I’m talking to fast’.

I then told her that I was sorry for the comment I made but also it made me feel bad when she swore at me. She then replied saying she was joking when, in my opinion, it was frustration because she was late.

Before we got the concert, I said, ‘are you sure you want me to come, I really don’t want this night to escalate into an argument’. We tried to talk it through on way to the stadium but there were things we didn’t see eye to eye on.

Before we sat down, I went to get another drink and say on the spare seat on the other side for a few minutes. I then went to sit next to her and apologised. I said I’m sorry if I was overly sensitive to a comment you made earlier and if I didn’t deal with this as maturely as I could have. I’m love you and I’m really sorry.

Her sister doesn’t know we say ‘I love you yet’. It honestly makes me feel like she’s embarrassed of feeling that way about me.

The rest of the concert she still said ‘we’re okay for now but there are things we need to discuss tomorrow’. I then replied ‘no can we discuss them now, I don’t want to be here and built it up if we’re going to discus them tomorrow’. She said no and the whole concert I was trying to make so much effort to talk to her. She would reply one word responses and she would make conversation with her sister. The situation overall was tense. I couldn’t leave because she would say that ‘I’ve left her alone’.

I felt really isolated because she wanted me to sit next to her and she didn’t want to talk to me. So I kept going to the bar during every interval to get a drink.

At the end of it, I was writing my feelings down on my iPhone notes so I could review how I felt the next day and she then asks ‘whoa re you messaging’. So I say ‘no-one but it’s funny that now you want to speak to me and care about me’.

At this point I’m drunk. When we left I said to everyone, please go ahead I want to go to a bar and have a drink alone. My girlfriends sisters boyfriend comes and says let’s drop the girls to a cab and we’ll go for a drink after.

I get to the cab stop, really awkward with my girlfriend. And now her sister starts telling me that  my drinking is unacceptable and that it’s not a way to deal with my emotions. I felt fairly defenceless and worthless at this point and I lost it at my girlfriend and told her that I’m fed up of this relationship and want to end it. I even said that she has no emotional availability for anyone but her sister.

On reflection, it’s clear to see how both sides were immature and my response at the end was dramatised. But my girlfriend is now saying that she is upset with how I just dropped and dismissed her the other night. 

 

But I  want to know how ‘normal’ couples would deal with situations like this. I feel like I have this idealist view of being able to compromise one small things like this.

Is it normal to be off with someone for so many hours for something so small? (I found out the day after, she was listing things I was doing wrong after I apologised). When someone does ignore me, how do I deal with it? (I think this goes back to an insecurity of how I’ve been treated when I was younger)

How do couples usually deal with things they don’t disagree on? We usually argue for a minimum of 1/2 days - it’s rare we can ever deal with arguments quickly. There are so many times where she would be ‘grumpy’ at me for hours or days and then brush it off as it nothing happened.

Did her sister have a right to say anything to me? Bearing in mind, I couldn’t tell her half of my feelings because of the secrets between them

 

Just some other background on the relationship:

We’ve been talking exclusively for 6 months and officially dating for 2 months.

We’ve only been on 5 dates alone together because of the dynamic with her and her sister it’s mainly us double dating (she doesn’t really go out much without her sister but also can’t really open up to her sister).

I feel like I do a lot for her and I do it with love. She does appreciate it but I don't feel like I get much back. It's not calculative and I don't hold it against her but I do care for her. 

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1 hour ago, anonomousguy12 said:

We’ve only been on 5 dates alone together because of the dynamic with her and her sister it’s mainly us double dating

Why does the sister have to chaperone everything? Why are you a secret? 

Learn to calm down. She as well needs to calm down. Of course drinking and silly arguments go hand-in-hand. Therefore just drop it. There's no need for her to lay the ominous "we need to talk" thing.  Just hold your tongue until you're sober and cooler heads prevail.

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My thoughts are that you're not the man for her and this is a mismatch. Regarding your attempt at dealing with the issue that evening, it's embarrassing to be discussing your personal issues in the relationship while with company and in public. You may not care as it's not people you know very well but out of respect for your partner, in future, practice more patience and restraint. Deal with your issues in private and allow everyone to have a good time. 

Stay away from drinking if you're frustrated. I understand you weren't happy during the evening but you did handle this very poorly. 

Overall, it seems you are annoyed with her as much as she is annoyed with you on a regular basis. Communicate better at a time where you both are in a good frame of mind and calm in the privacy of your home.

Keep in mind that throwing ultimatums and threats to end a relationship are about control. Combined with your desire to drink uncontrollably when upset this is a ticking time bomb. I suggest limiting your drinks and try to work through those feelings in a better way. 

There is no "normal". Aim for loving, firm and gentle in a relationship. Try to put yourself in one another's shoes. 

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This example isn't so much about the couple arguing thing and is more of a "you" thing. You have to learn how to control your emotions, reactions, and behavior better.

If I was meeting my bf at a bar before a concert and he already got drunk before I even got there, I'd be pretty annoyed too. Was she rude with you about directions? Sure. Sounds like she was frustrated, but here is where most people would realize that "I'm tipsy and shouldn't react" or would simply brush it off as she must be flustered and not react. The more common response would be "sorry, here are the directions." and that's that. This would not escalate to an argument in the first place.

Problem with you is that you hold grudges and acted out on that. So you escalated things with the snide comment about talking too fast. This is while you are already behaving poorly by getting drunk and then continuing to escalate and escalate because emotions and insecurities. You also kept drinking more and more, which doesn't exactly make you great company or someone to talk to. Your gf was correct to ask you to discuss things the following day when you are both sober and not at a concert and when your emotions aren't all over the place, impaired by alcohol to boot. Again, most people would hold off in this situation and leave it for another day and a better time to talk.

As for her sister making that comment - she had every right. When you kept drinking, sulking, and trying to pick an argument right there and then, you were ruining everyone's night. She was right to call you out on that and it's something that you should stop doing going forward. Again, goes back to learn to regulate your emotions better and without turning to alcohol.

Finally, be careful about what you say in terms of ending the relationship. In fact, never ever threaten or talk about break up unless you actually want to break up and mean it. Most people will take you at your word and end the relationship right there and then. So don't ever do that. Again, goes back to learn to regulate your emotions. You were lashing out and that kind of behavior will bite you in the arse sooner or later.

Being so wrapped up in yourself and your feelings and then choosing to lash out because you feel hurt will destroy your relationships. You have to learn to have some self control, some resilience, and to differentiate between things that matter and things you should let go.

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I don't understand why you reacted to being upset and feeling left out or ignored by getting drunk. Her sister was right about that; excessive drinking does nothing but make issues worse.

I can't answer for other couples, but my husband and I didn't resort to drinking, making lists of grievances or ignoring one another when we wanted to resolve an issue. We talked about it and did our best to really hear what the other person was saying. 

You two seem more interested in going on the defensive rather than paying attention to what the other one is saying. And excessive apologies don't work if you don't actually resolve the issue.

I would lay off the drinking and stop with the repeated apologies. And stop making lists of what bothers you about her. Have a calm conversation and don't interrupt or talk over her. And she needs to do the same for you.

I will say, this much conflict after only two months of official dating seems to indicate incompatibility.

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sorry but this won't last with the way the two of you talk to each other like that. You still continued drinking, and she stonewalled you. This is a sign of failing relationship.

You both have to stop being rude and childish. So you should set an example and be the first to start being calm and discuss matters maturely. Hopefully she will follow suit. 

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Most of the above replies are from females.

 

As a guy, I'm here to tell you they are right.

 

First of all, keep disagreements private.

 

Second, stop arguing whe drinking, you will aggravate the situation.

 

Being tipsy is wore than drunk, ask you belive you are thinking straight, but you are impaired.

 

There is no "normal" to arguments. 

 

Your last mistake was to go on a "date" yet leave with her sister's boyfriend. 

 

 

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I dunno, I got one pretty good advice from my married friend that I do practice a lot for an arguments: In marriage and relationships in general(personal or business) its sometimes important to just "swallow" some stuff. Meaning that sometimes we need to learn to shut up at the moment. OK, she made a rude comment. You couldnt get passed that, go have fun at concert and then talk it out when you are both less on edge? Instead you snapped at her, then she got offended, you wanted to talk it out during concert(btw are you always so dramatic?) and then got drunk. Do you even see how dysfuntional situation you created? She is not a little Angel as well, but this is on you. You could have governed this situation way better.

My married friend has a pretty good marriage. He told me that sentence in the wake of his sisters divorce. And how neither his sister nore her (now ex) husband could neither swallow anything and where arguing all the time. Because neither of them could "drop the ball" a bit and defuse situation. So much wrong in such a small story of yours. You dont feel appreciated? OK, talk that out and if it doesnt work out just leave and find somebody who will appreciate you. There was absolutely no reason for you to snap, for both of you to basically pout out during concert and for you to get drunk and lash out on both her and her sister how you are breaking up with her(again, so much drama lol)

Drinking is an issue. Her sister is right, its no way of dealing with emotional problems. For example, would you be more calm if you didnt drink? Would you say some stuff you said and thus made the situation worst? You know you wouldnt. Arguments happen. However you took it to extreme. Very unhealthy extreme. So much so that I wonder how you are in love as you say when you have so unhealthy dynamic. Both of you. Which makes me think that you indeed dysfunctional couple.

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4 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

And now her sister starts telling me that  my drinking is unacceptable and that it’s not a way to deal with my emotions.

She's right. What's this talking thing and why only 5 dates after knowing her 8 months? My sense is from the get go all the "talking" was because neither of you was that into the other or sensed you didn't see eye to eye/didn't have the right rapport.

It's only 5 dates -I'd end it here before things get way too out of hand especially because you choose to drink like this -and then you will be the one choosing the consequences whether it be some sort of screaming match or worse.

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4 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

The rest of the concert she still said ‘we’re okay for now but there are things we need to discuss tomorrow’. I then replied ‘no can we discuss them now, I don’t want to be here and built it up if we’re going to discus them tomorrow’.

You don't want to be there IF you don't discuss it now?

She is right.. there's a time and place for that kind of thing.

And, you had a few, so you were NOT too sober and that's never a good time to communicate/discuss issue's.  Save it for a better time and where you are BOTH sober.

AND, you wouldn't leave things alone throughout, constantly going on & on about ' "I'm sorry'..I'm sorry."

See below:

4 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

I then told her that I was sorry for the comment I made but also it made me feel bad when she swore at me.

 

4 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

Before we got the concert, I said, ‘are you sure you want me to come, I really don’t want this night to escalate into an argument’. We tried to talk it through on way to the stadium but there were things we didn’t see eye to eye on.

Before we sat down, I went to get another drink and say on the spare seat on the other side for a few minutes. I then went to sit next to her and apologised. I said I’m sorry if I was overly sensitive to a comment you made earlier

Again & again. 

 

 

4 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

At the end of it, I was writing my feelings down on my iPhone notes so I could review how I felt the next day and she then asks ‘whoa re you messaging’. So I say ‘no-one but it’s funny that now you want to speak to me and care about me’.

Why would you throw that? .. " Care about you.."

What YOU are doing is throwing her attitude instead of inviting her to 'open up'.

As for her, I don't why why you have to explain who you are talking to..?

Anyways, as mentioned, you two are clashing way too much and by sounds of it have some communication issue's. ( especially after only dating 2 months).

 

Is maybe best to consider you two are not a great match, but more setting each other off 😕 . You both need to learn more about respect & communication.  And not in front of others or while drunk.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, anonomousguy12 said:

The rest of the concert she still said ‘we’re okay for now but there are things we need to discuss tomorrow’. I then replied ‘no can we discuss them now, I don’t want to be here and built it up if we’re going to discus them tomorrow’. She said no and the whole concert I was trying to make so much effort to talk to her. She would reply one word responses and she would make conversation with her sister. The situation overall was tense. I couldn’t leave because she would say that ‘I’ve left her alone’.

Alright, others are giving you some rightful and righteous advice, so I'm gonna hone in on this bit as your topic asks more generally how couples [healthily] argue.  First and foremost, you accept what's in bold.  While it's not a 100% thing, it's a pretty damn good sign a relationship is at least healthier if you don't need to look at each and every issue as something that has to be tackled right at the moment, lest you sit their anxious not wondering where a resolution would land you.  Knowing that things are essentially okay even if a conversation will need to be had at a later appropriate time is pretty key to a healthy relationship.  

My wife and I argue infrequently, and constructively when we do need to.  There have been a few pretty big issues over the several years, but at least since we've been serious, there's been nothing that leaves either of us so anxious something's wrong to where we can't let it go and carry on more or less just fine until an appropriate amount of time has passed and we're in an appropriate enough setting to have a solid conversation about it.  If you don't have that underlying solace, it's a pretty solid indicator things are kinda ****ed and headed in pretty much in only one direction.

ETA:  And while she's not here for me to advise she work on her stress levels, I will kinda pile on you but suggesting not to get ****in' tanked before your lady so much as shows up.  And if you do, acknowledge you've forfeited your right to get indignant.  C'mon.  

Edited by j.man
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Considering the number of people who are on here who argue and cant get along with their partner, my comment is going to sound like total BS but it's true.  We have had one argument in over 30 yrs of marriage.

It was after we went to his sister's place which was filthy with budgie bird poop everywhere because she let them fly loose, abut 20 of them in a 1 bed apt.  Gross. Our kids were 1.5 yrs and 6 yrs at the time and of course the  younger one touched everything.  It was terrible and I told him that the kids and I would NEVER go there again EVER but he could go if he wanted to.  He took offence to that and I wasn't about to back down.  We never went again.  That was our sole argument.

We just get along.  We talk a lot about everything and he is a calm relaxed person and I have learned to not be a hot head anymore.  We dont do things to the other person that are likely to cause a problem.

If people could talk and express what's on their minds rather than losing their sh1t, there'd be a lot less turmoil.

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Sounds like GF was embarrassed to find you buzzed before the event, and you mouthed off and continued to act out, which embarrassed her more. You kept drinking and spouting off, and you likely ruined the event for everyone.

Other than that, sounds like a fabulous time.

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