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Does a healthy relationship need to have some conflict?


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I was talking to some friends/coworkers and mentioned how my boyfriend and I have never had a fight. If we disagree about something, we just both present our point of views, try to persuade the other, and eventually come to a compromise. If one of us does something the other doesn't like, we just tell them and talk it through.


My friends said that every relationship needs to have an all out fight at some point. They were saying that if they met a couple that didn't have a huge fight and they were happy, they'd be very surprised. They also argued that if you have any emotional investment at all, then at some point it will all come out in that fight. Or in other words, if you don't have at least one major argument, then there's no real emotional investment.


I don't agree with this, because it's just not our style to fight. They are saying that it's because we're long distance and haven't been around each other enough for that to happen.


What are your thoughts?

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I agree with your friends/co-workers about fighting, Not every relationship is perfect, there are gonna be sme bumps in the road. Fighting is healithy in a relationship, now fighting/arguing a lot or all the time is bad and physically or emotionally abusing the other person while fighting is not good either

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I don't think fights or disagreements are unhealthy if approached with a healthy attitude of respect and sorting things out together.


Maybe too in your case your friends may be confusing no fighting with no disagreements.


I will also say conflict avoidance is not healthy either and not a sign that the relationship is "happy and wonderful" as both are skirting the issues.


I AM a little worried you try to "persuade each other" though...because that is not a healthy conflict resolution style.


They may be right though too...it is a little easier to not get as involved in disagreements when you are not living on top of one another...


Yes, I do think even healthy relationships have conflict - it shows each are still independent minded and want to work things through together....but conflict does not mean "all out fighting" either.

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I don't know if it's unhealthy not to fight but it is unhealthy to leave conflicts unresolved.


If you and your b/f are able to resolve conflicts in the way you describe then I would see no reason to be "fighting". Couples resolve conflicts in lots of different ways...from screaming matches to calm discussion. As long as issues are being addressed do whatever works for you.

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I agree with Eva.


All relationships need to have some disagreements and conflicts, but they don't always have to end up blowing into your fight. There are people in very healthy long term relationships that havn't had a full on screaming fight. I think what your friends are thinking is you're one of those couples where one person always gives in with regards to a fight. I know a couple like that, they've been going out over a year and have never been in a fight. But it's not because they're resolving their differences in a sane and mature manner, it's because the male in the relationship is horribly passive and the female is dominant and controlling, and gets her way with every thing and he gives in. That is unhealthy. Resolving your disagreements by talking through them and figuring out a solution can just point to you both not having a short fuse, and knowing how to work things out instead of blowing up.

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I agree with Raykay that a key is whether there is conflict-avoidance. It's fine if you've never had a fight as long as someone or both is not repressing anger or resentment. I think that there can be situations where the couple fights all the time because there is no emotional investment by at least one person - for example, one person wants more of a commitment from the other and thereforeeee picks fights out of resentment.

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Wow, fast responses!


First, I just wanted to clarify. I think that healthy relationships CAN and most often do involve conflict and/or fighting. My question is though, can you have a healthy relationship that does NOT involve all out fighting? I know we'll conflict at some point, but we don't tend to handle conflicts in a way that ends in screaming or yelling or being mad at each other for very long.


Second, when I said we try to persuade each other, I mean we try to get the other to see our point of view. I don't try to make him think how I think or tell him his way of thinking is wrong. I just present how I see things and why I believe them to be a certain way, and he does the same. Then, so far, we come up with a solution that makes both of us happy.


Last, in my couples therapy class we studied style of conflict. According to Gottman (he did scientific research that is discussed in a book called The Marriage Clinic), people are either volatile, validating or avoidant. Volatile is the all out fighting, validating is what I described my boyfriend and I do, and avoidant is obviously avoiding all conflictual issues. He says that these are all healthy is and there isn't one that's better than the other. Couples with all types were in happy and healthy relationships. He did say it can cause problems when couples have different conflict styles, but they can be worked through. This to me backs up my theory that the way we handle things is fine and that our relationship is healthy without fighting.


Oh, and I asked them about the conflict vs fighting issue and they definitely meant a screaming match.

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I find screaming matches horrible

they are unsettling and I get scared of people afterwards.

imo, it shouldnt need to escalate to that level.


snapping at someone can be bad enough, I feel sick after I have done it, but full on horrible screeching scares me, it shakes my trust.


I dont think healthy relationships need that at all.

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Screaming matches may work for some people but I would definitely not consider them the necessary hallmark of a good relationship. It's just not how some people manage issues.


Daligal83 I think you are right and all is fine with you guys. Using your typology my husband and I are both avoidant/validating types. The thought of abusing the dear man even when I am angry makes me cringe and I am afraid if either of us did it we would damage the relationship terribly.

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I don't believe it needs conflict, but with imperfect humans, it's almost inevitable.


As long as people are mature and work sensibly to resolve their disputes, an amicable solution can be found, I believe.


One thing I will say is this: Resolved conflict and the decision to stick it out no matter hell or highwater only strengthens the bond between lovers.

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its so funny that you posted this because i was having the same thoughts. my boyfriend and i never fight, but we have had "issues" that we've discussed. its been almost 6 months and ive never been really angry at him and hes never been angry at me (that i know of). its so weird. we've definitely both been upset, but the other person will usually step up to the plate and talk it over in a calm way.


this is SUCH a 180 from my last relationship, where we fought pretty much every other day. and we would have huge screaming matches (in fact, i think i posted a long time ago about this). all it did was stress me out and i lost so much sleep over all the fighting. nothing ever got accomplished, all i did was cry and he'd scream and i would spend half my time worrying about making up and if we were going to break up the next day. i constantly felt sad, hurt, and disrespected.


what ive learned from my past relationship is that constant fighting is unhealthy for ME. i think thats why this new relationship is working so far.



so the moral of the story is, do what works for you, dont worry what others think. i think its a wonderful thing to be able to talk out your issues without screaming. if you are addressing your problems and not avoiding them, then thats all that matters


best of luck to ya


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That's funny because my last relationship was like that too. We fought ALL the time. There were so many nights when we "almost broke up" that it was ridiculous. The thing is, before him I wasn't a screamer/fighter. He brought it out in me. And I've never been like that with anyone else before or after him. It's weird how relationships can change us.

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If you have never had a fight because it has just never happened then that is fine.


But if you have never had a fight, because one or both of you is afraid of conflict and you just agree/ fold every time one arises... then that is bad.... very bad.


Fighting isnt necessarily 'good' but I would say that it is a good indicator that both of you can stand up for yourselves and arent agreeing with everything the other person does just to make them happy.

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I'm in a similar situation as far as conflict resolution, Daligal. Neither my SO nor myself believe that fighting is a way to resolve conflict. We both think that it's hurtful and non-productive, so when it comes to resolving conflict, we both tend to share our thoughts and make an effort to listen to one another.


As a child, I watched my mother go through three messy divorces. That experience biased me incredibly against fighting, and like Eva, I have a very bad reaction to screaming. I'd honestly be insulted if my friends insinuated that something was wrong in my relationship because we don't have all-out fights - those (the fights) would be incredibly emotionally damaging to me. I am not prepared to handle conflict expressed through screaming.

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Wow I was JUST thinking about this because I know that I had been going through some things with my gf and I couldn't figure out the proper course of action. I mean I think its natural that there will be some conflicts where the guy will usually be confused by a woman's sometimes illogical behaviour and a woman being confused by a man's unemotional engagement with them. That's why you'll have guys going "why do you always buy shoes! You have like a zillion pairs already!" and women going "why don't you even pay attention to me or listen to what I'm really saying? You only take it as its presented and think that's what I'm asking. If it was that simple I'd just say that." lol


So you have women trying to get men to catch onto their underlying signals because lets FACE it NOTHING is wrong with this! Its hardwired and best that way. I don't believe we need to be so equal that we engage everything the same and there won't be any conflict, but I do feel that as part of a relationship that men and women come together through understanding of one another. Men to admit they enjoy security too much and always seek out the answer to whatever their women is going off about and not really seeing that she HATES having to bring it up before the man does anything and for women to admit that men will take things at face value and like it when the man has to take care of her.


I feel people FORGET that we've been around a lot longer than the 20th century and that our minds aren't all that built around how things are now, so to think people are always so unreasonable well it may not really be their fault. Consider a child. A child comes into this world not knowing anything other than "ooooo that looks pretty!" and "I want to eat a cookie cuz its yummy" not "Oooo that looks dangerous so I'm gonna go and check it out." yet parents rear their children like the child REALLY knows what he/she is doing. Come on, they've only been around a short time and are brought into this world not knowing how or why they're there but that they see things, feel things, hear things, taste things and learn from there. Yet they get treated like they should know better or that the heightened stress they cause is THEIR FAULT like they intended to do that to you.


It may seem a bit off place, but it isn't so much because a lot of us "argue" and "fight" in a similar manner. Typically disagreement and miscommunication will occur in a relationship. By being overly understanding you may get yourself in trouble by not considering yourself in the big picture. Thinking that fights are not necessary and that you two have it good, meanwhile you're their personal assitant or best friend and they see how far you'll go before something "gets to you" and get angry and resentful the more you don't. Not because they're intentionally trying to provoke you, but that they don't like the fact that it seems to be a front and that you are unconsciously manipulating them as a result.


The kinds of "fights" or "arguments" where two people state their case, don't necessarily have to YELL it out or become aggressive but more assertive is key. You simply stand on where you're coming from and hope that the other person understands what you're saying and chooses either to take it into account or dismiss it, only its wrong to cram it down their throat. That's all we really can do without being ovelry controlling or aggressive. But its never right to resist arguing or fighting with someone because you feel its wrong, meanwhile you slowly grow resentment for the other person and not even know why you are. Until one day the "feeling" you had for them is just... gone.


At least this is where I stand on it and while I get worried sometimes my gf doesn't understand it, it truly DOES NOT mean I don't love her any less. But more so that I can understand her better and not be quick to react emotionally or wrecklessly.

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Very interesting...


I too am in the same situation and we live together. In nine months we have not had a fight.


We have had an "issue" where his ex-wife came to our house and told me things I know could have only came from only my boyfriends mouth, such as the fact that my dog ate the bedskirt and he was po'd over it. Or the fact that she told me he wouldn't ever marry me, but what he said in reality was I don't see myself ever getting married again" to her.


It was brought up, discussed and worked out.


I gave him an out if he wanted me to go, but he didn't. He learned that his ex is an ex for a reason and maybe he shouldn't talk so much about what goes on in our home.


So I basically, I chalk this up to no "fights". I think we have the same morals, same principles and want the same things out of life. We have a great "romantic" life and trust each other.


We both have been hurt and know what that feels like. We have a lot of respect for each other and we have the understanding that if you want out at any time, don't cheat, just go.


Sure, we have different opinions on things sometimes, but neither us feels the need to persuade the other to convert to their way of thinking.


I was once engaged to my "now" boyfriend in high school. We were engaged for 2 1/2 years until my parents broke us up. There was only one fight over jealousy issues in 2 1/2 years.


So although I am proof that a relationship can have 0 fights. I too am interested to know everyones opinion.


Does this mean it's doomed? Or, were just alot alike?

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I'm glad someone posted this subject because I was curious about it. My sister said it was freakish that my boyfriend and I don't fight (then again she is very stubborn and hard headed).


I tried to explain to her that whenever we are confronted with a disagreement we usually talk it out, the same way that DaliGal (love the name by the way) and her boyfriend do. What we do works for us, it allows us to see eachother's point of view even if we do not agree.


I think its kind of odd to say fighting is an emotional investment. True, I think some conflict/arguing/fighting (however everyone does it) is healthy because it is all apart of learning to work together. However just because we don't fight doesn't mean we haven't invested ourselves into that relationship.


So I understand where you are coming from Daligal and I agree that you don't always have to fight to have a strong relationship. I think you do need a little conflict even if it is in modicum amounts because it teaches you to grow and work together.

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I'm glad to see that so many people agree with me. I found it disturbing that they felt it was necessary to have a screaming match. One girl said they have them twice a year where her husband ends up yelling "f-you" and storming out. I'm sorry but I dumped my ex when he said that (he was emotionally abusive, that was just the final straw for me). The other girl that that they scream at each other and she ends up throwing things. I just don't get why they think that the lack of that in my relationship means it's not healthy or that I'm not emotionally invested.


This Little Lady...I take it your a Dali fan? I've loved his work since I saw an exhibit of his in Amsterdam when I was 11.

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Yeah I know what you mean. My sister and her ex used to fight CONSTANTLY. She was emotionally abusive and so was he which made for a really bad combination! Fighting all the time. I didn't understand why she thought that was a good thing.


Yes big Dali fan. Kind of an art freak truth be told. But Dali is my hero. He once made Alice Cooper a brain out of a danish!!! I also like the fact that many of his paintings have hidden halves in them. His style is just insanely complicated its delicious!

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I was talking to a girl I know last night.. apparently her and her partner had THE worst relationship at first... they would trash eachothers stuff, he beat her car in, they cheated on eachother and were compeltely disrespectfull to eachother...


...but now they are best friends and are completely in love...

each to their own I suppose!!

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I guess that's the key..there is no right or wrong way, unless it's harmful to one of the partners. But if people are happy with the way they solve conflict, who is anyone to say they should do it differently?


I love how complicated Dali's work is. I've also always been interested in him as a person. From a psychological standpoint, I find him fascinating.

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