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Scared of the Fight: The Breakdown in Expectations

One of the most common issues that I come across working with couples is the lack of communication on a day-to-day basis. Life gets busy with work, kids, hobbies, chores, and all of the other daily, mundane aspects of life. These are the most common excuses that I hear from both sides of the relationship. I am not saying that these aren’t playing a role in the issue, but usually by the second session the real reason starts to show up. “Every time I open my mouth I fear that it’s going to be a fight.”

Why Do We Fight?

Where and when the breakdown occurs is different for every couple. Usually, it starts with a high-stress situation where the parts of the brain that are responsible for reason and logic are pushed back and stress, anxiety, and survival rule the landscape. The situation may not be that dire, but things like the birth of a new baby followed by sleepless nights, postpartum depression, or promotions at work with more responsibilities cut into time for check-ins and date nights.


Intensity Increases and Intimacy Decreases

High stress tends to cause more fights and more fights mean less desire to initiate conversations. Expectations are implied but sometimes not stated. Before long the relationship starts to look like a couple of roommates that don’t really like each other and might have sex now and then. Resentment grows in the absence of communication. People pull away from each other and divert what energy they have left to things that give them a sense of accomplishment such as work, the kids, hobbies, or extramarital affairs. Everyone copes in their way.


Fixing the Issue

Seldom do I see people when things are starting to slide usually it is when they have skid to the bottom and the ground hurts. I wish I could say that there is a quick fix to the issue. The reality is the first step is accepting that there is a problem and both of you want to fix it. Second is setting some time aside to say what you are actually feeling to each other. Both of you will want to run during this. Don’t. Third have a willingness to accept your side in the situation and have at least one thing you can do differently moving forward. Fourth reach out for help if you need it. Sometimes having someone there to “mediate” allows us to open up and start communicating. I can’t guarantee that every relationship can be saved. I can say that if these patterns continue, it won’t be.


At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock, TX we specialize in helping couples who are tired of relationship conflict and disconnection. Our counselors are ready to help you create better lines of communication. With hard work and perseverance a stronger, healthier relationship is possible.


Learn more about the Relationship Therapy services we offer.


Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.


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