I have spoken to so many couples in the last six months that have all said the same basic thing, stated slightly differently: “We just seem to be arguing so much more. We used to get along so much better, but now it’s like every little thing just sets us off.” They are arguing more, or so it seems. Everything is a trigger. Nothing gets resolved, and it’s seemingly coming out of nowhere.
Or is it?
The reason that most couples seem to have been arguing more in the past six months is because they ARE. Couples are arguing more, and they are triggering each other more. But why? Keep reading for two reasons and two fixes to try and combat them!
Reason #1: Quarantine Closeness
Yes, you love each other. And before quarantine, you likely had to fight to find time together between work, family responsibilities, kids, gym/ workouts, etc. But once quarantine started, everyone got A LOT closer. For better or worse. Many couples just aren’t used to being together this much, and being together this much allows you to see much more than you did before. So yes, perhaps her habit of chewing on the end of her pencil drove you nuts, but you only had to see it on Wednesdays between 7pm-8pm when you sat down together to adjust your budget. Now? You’re together all day, and you can watch her gnaw away for hours. Yes, it drove you crazy to listen to his music blaring from the basement while he puttered around in his “man-cave”. But that was only on Saturdays. Now? It’s every day, and it’s driving you crazy!
The Fix: try to give each other as much space as possible while you’re under the same roof. Being home together not only means that you’re around each other a lot more, but that you have the opportunity for more observation with fewer distractions. It’s only logical that you would notice more under these circumstances- not that they’re doing more to annoy you.
Work in different areas of the house or apartment, work in shifts (if possible), and try to structure each day as closely as your standard work day as necessary so that you don’t feel like you’ve been up under each other all day. If you’re working in a different room from her, you won’t see the gnawing. Music driving you crazy? Get him some wireless headphones. Some problems really do have simple solutions!
Reason #2: Your Stress Levels Are Higher
More than likely, there are other increased stressors that may be lowering your patience. Helping the kids with their online schoolwork, taking care of a baby/toddler, being furloughed, family members getting sick, not being able to spend time with friends/ family. All of these things eat away at our ability to stay calm, making it more likely that we’ll take it out on the nearest person- our partner.
The Fix: Recognize that they might just be the easy target, not the source of your stress- and try to identify those things that might be causing you to feel more anxious overall. Once you recognize the source of your stress, it will be easier to not take it out on your partner. And if the source of your stress really is your partner? This warrants a conversation to see what needs to change. Remember- if one of you has a problem in the relationship, the relationship has a problem!
With a little consideration of the situation, your feelings, and your partner’s feelings, you can identify those stressors that may be taxing your relationship and beat them at their own game! Has this been an issue for your relationship? Comment below and share your best tips for handling this kind of conflict!