The heated discussions you need to have – and how to have them
Every couple will argue, but whether it’s healthy or unhealthy depends on the subject of the arguments. Kate Taylor, relationship expert at match.com, gives you the good, bad and ugly version of each row
Good: You’re being so dull. Come out and have fun with us!
If you feel neglected, start planning fun things with your friends and invite your partner to join you. If they come, it’s a bonus. If they don’t, you’ll have fun anyway and they will start wondering what they’re missing.
Bad: You never want to spend time with me
What’s attractive about a partner pouting and sulking to get attention? Nothing. At best, you’ll get a reluctant partner to join you out of duty, at worst, you’ll make them realise that actually, no, they don’t want to spend time with you.
Ugly: You don’t love me anymore
This shows you don’t trust that they’re being honest about their feelings. If you genuinely worry your partner has lost interest, you have to fight your instincts to cling to them and instead keep busy for a bit and see if they come looking for you.
Good: You can buy dinner tonight, Scrooge
If your partner has money but is currently ‘forgetting’ to spend any of it on you, just tell them. If there’s a reason they can’t pay, they’re more likely to reveal it if you approach the subject head-on.
Bad: It’s my turn to pay again, I see. I’m skint but no, it’s fine
Even if you try this passive-aggressive it’s not changing anything: money is still leaving your account. If you know you pay more than they do, just ask them to pay!
Ugly: Waiter, please give me the bill. This person’s a tightwad
Bringing other people into your arguments is messy and embarrassing and makes you look weak.
Good: I’m finding it hard to get on with your family
Ideally, you and your partner’s family will be happily united like the modern-day Waltons. But if you don’t, I don’t recommend avoiding family events. Be honest but not critical instead.
Bad: Your mother hates me and you do nothing about it
In this situation, I’d suggest you try to solve the problem with the family directly. Take his mother aside and say something gentle such as: “Have I done something to offend you?” Then be as reasonable and fair as possible.
Ugly: I won’t spend any more time with them
Hopefully you will be with your partner for many years. There might be children too so don’t write-off all future family Christmases with one moody wave of your hand. Work it out. It’s important.
Good: I’m upset and I just need you to listen to me for a bit
Often, women need to vent their problems but men feel compelled to solve them. If it drives you insane, tell him that his job is just to nod, cuddle you, and say the odd comforting word. “That’s awful,” or “You look really thin,” will do the trick.
Bad: You’re such a know-it-all!
Even if he’s never met half the people you’re moaning about, he’ll try to lecture you on the right way to proceed. First of all, tell him first that his job is to listen. If he still wants to tell you what to do, smile, thank him, then do whatever you think is best. Never burst his ego-bubble by suggesting he’s not helping.
His constant unsolicited advice makes you feel stupid and worthless, and eventually, you give up on trying to talk at all. Don’t! This is the time when counselling can help. If your partner won’t go, go alone. You’ll be taught ways of talking to your partner that get you out of the row-rut.
Good: That colleague of yours sounds great!
When your partner starts mentioning a colleague at work more than you feel is normal, it’s easy (and understandable) to feel threatened or jealous. Don’t. You want your partner to be able to discuss everything with you – even hot new PAs – because then you can monitor the situation.
Bad: You sooooooo fancy that colleague!
Jealousy springs from your own insecurity. If you feel fat and frumpy (for example), you’re 100 times more likely to get jealous than if you felt gorgeous. Do whatever it takes to turn yourself into a person you love, then the jealousy will disappear, I promise.
Ugly: No more after-work drinks for you
Never put a leash on your partner. Don’t go through your partner’s phone and don’t question them every time they’re home late. Whenever you’re tempted to, go and do something positive instead – sign up for a new evening class or do 150 sit-ups. Eventually, you’ll break the insecurity habit.