Three hidden dimensions under relationship fights

Identifying the hidden dimension under the relationship fight can affect how we fight and how we move forward.

  • Power and control fights: "You undermine me with the kids."/ "Because I make less money, I feel like I have to check with you before I buy anything."
  • Care and closeness fights: "Why am I always the one to text or call you? "Why can't you support me when I'm anxious?"
  • Respect and recognition fights: "You never acknowledge my accomplishments."/"I don't think you realize how much I do."
Matthew I. (@matthewyi40) - Profile Photo


Love & Family


Someone is usually extremely angry or deeply upset because they care. But that care can be better used. It requires developing the skills and language to identify the underlying dynamics which is behind our fights.

When we together understand how these patterns came to be, we can help each other through it and create new patterns.

  • "I feel something, but that doesn't mean you're necessarily doing it. I need you to hear that,"
  • "Honey, I'm going to friends tonight, but was thinking we can do something special tomorrow - what do you think?"

The deeper issues that drive escalation is seldom about the content of the fight. The real issue is about the needs, vulnerabilities, and biases that get triggered again and again, creating a lens through which we view every interaction.

For example, if our partner makes time to play tennis with a friend but doesn't show interest in a date night, we may think they don't want to be with us. We may then interpret everything else from the angle that they don't want to be with us.

We all know that moment when a relationship fight pushes us over the edge. It's when we wonder how this very same issue that upsets me so much can pop up again.

Dishes left piling up in the sink. Too much time scrolling through social media when we desire quality time. The tone of voice that makes us feel stupid. The personal jabs that leave us feeling raw.

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It’s not necessarily a bad thing to fight

Certain lines should not be crossed, and it’s important to repair them.

For that, keep in mind you have to validate the other person’s feelings and acknowledge the fact they experience things differently than you do.



The stabilizing effect of routines and rituals

Hard anniversaries, like the birthday of someone we've lost, are helped by routines and rituals. They create a grounding structure with a reassuring and stabilising effect.

  • Routines are repetitive actions to help us develop skills while creating continuity and order.
  • Rituals are routines elevated by creativity, driven by intention, and injected with meaning. Rituals help us through transitions. If setting the table is a routine, a ritual is taking the special china and making grandma's favourite recipe to remember her and process the time passed since her death.
There is no such thing as the ideal partner

Thus, you should give up the hope that you can be flawless and put together every day in a relationship.

That idea is not realistic, puts you in a continuous state of feeling that you're not good enough, and can stop you from developing real confidence in yourself.

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