4 Relationship Fights That Might Mean A Breakup Is Coming, According To An Expert

In any given relationship, there is a range of conflicts that a couple can experience. There are those silly passing arguments over where to have dinner that night or who was supposed to DVR Game of Thrones. Then there are those middle-of-the-road fights that probably last a bit longer than they should, but you ultimately learn something from. And finally, there are those more explosive, ongoing ones — the fights that might mean a breakup is coming.

According to a 2016 study from Wakefield Research and LearnVest, the most common topic that causes tension in the average relationship is money, with 68 percent of couples citing finances as a source of ongoing problems. In fact, a whopping one in four participants admitted to having broken up with a partner due to financial issues. Clearly, money can make things complicated, but it’s not the only thing that causes problems. Jealousy, chores, and quality time can all trigger arguments as well. Fortunately, the vast majority of these ultra-common disagreements are totally possible to resolve, as long as both people are able to have empathy for their partner and find a compromise.

However, fighting about certain things can potentially hint at a possible breakup, which is why it’s so critical to be aware of those subjects. Because if you can identify the fact that you and bae have been having these particular fights, you can do something about it before a split becomes inevitable. Here are some relationship fights that could raise some red flags, according to Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles.

A Second (Or Third) Betrayal

Infidelity is obviously a super understandable cause for a fight. There is a whirlwind of emotions at play when one partner discovers that the other has been unfaithful, including shame, disappointment, anger, and guilt, to name just a few. Not only that, but trust has been broken. That said, a fight about infidelity doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. Some couples are able to move forward from these incidents and perhaps even strengthen their bond further, as long as they’re able to gradually rebuild the trust.

But if the fights are about multiple betrayals, then Dr. Brown says that could be a warning sign of an impending breakup. After all, if you’ve both pledged to be monogamous and one partner has failed to honor that repeatedly, that erodes the trust more than if it were to only happen once. It can be difficult to feel secure with a serial cheater, and a sense of trust and security is so key to a happy, healthy relationship.

A Web Of Lies
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Ever get the feeling that bae is a compulsive liar? If your fights center around the fact that one person has caught their partner in lies on more than one occasion, then Dr. Brown says that's cause for concern.

“Persistent lying erodes one of the core foundations of a loving relationship and that is the ability to feel that you can trust your partner to be truly open and authentic with you — and themselves,” explains Dr. Brown. “Lack of trust is one of the leading reasons that relationships may lead to a breakup.”

It's definitely worth exploring the reason behind the partner’s chronic lying ways if you want to salvage things. Do they fear judgment or rejection? Is there an addiction involved that’s causing them shame? Have their experiences from childhood or past relationships triggered some fear around being honest? If the partner who is lying is able to identify the root of the problem and is willing to work on it, that bodes well for the relationship. On the other hand, if they have been dishonest — and particularly in a purposefully deceitful or manipulative manner — that could understandably cause the kind of fights that end a relationship.

A Nonexistent Sex Life
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Very often, one partner’s sex drive is a bit lower or higher than the other’s. And guess what? That’s totally OK. It’s definitely possible to find a balance that works for everyone when it comes to being intimate. Sometimes, you’ll go through phases during which you’re having less sex, and those ebbs and flows are completely normal as well. However, when you begin having fights revolving around the fact that your sex life is essentially nonexistent, that’s a red flag, according to Dr. Brown.

“Arguments about the lack of romance and love-making is a potential signal of an impending breakup, particularly if one partner is simply not into sex or, worse, doesn't feel sexually compatible with their partner,” he says.

When the intimacy is lacking, that partner whose needs aren’t getting met may become resentful. And unless they bring this issue to their SO’s attention and the two work as a team to improve their sex life, the resentment could continue growing until it starts affecting multiple areas of your relationship. This is why it’s so crucial to discuss your feelings about your sex life earlier rather than later.

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One thing that keeps couples happy is a sense of gratitude. Think about how you feel when your boo thanks you for cooking dinner, or for sacrificing your Friday night to help them study for an exam, or understanding when they have to work late. When you strip all of that away, you’re left with another situation that could breed resentment.

“A strong history of lacking felt and expressed gratitude can lead to people feeling unappreciated,” explains Dr. Brown. “Feeling unappreciated as exampled by an increasing number of conflicts is also a potential indicator that your relationship may be vulnerable to a premature breakup.”

It’s so critical that both partners feel appreciated. So, if your fights have something to do with the fact that one person continually feels like their actions don’t matter or go unnoticed, that could spell trouble for the relationship.

To be clear, having any one of these fights does not mean you’re definitely headed for a breakup. Some couples are able to move past trust issues, dissatisfaction with their sex life, and other problems, provided they’re both committed to doing their part in making any necessary changes to make their partner feel safe and loved. However, Dr. Brown says if you’re having these same fights over and over, that’s typically a warning sign.

“Couples are who are what we ‘high conflict’ are also at higher risk for a breakup because their relationship is constantly embroiled in turmoil without any real means to resolve the arguments,” he explains.

If you're having one or more of these fights with your partner and you're worried about the fate of your relationship, Dr. Brown recommends sitting down with your SO in a neutral environment to talk about what’s been going on. This talk shouldn’t happen right in the middle of a fight, but rather, once you’ve both calmed down and can have a rational, empathetic discussion.

“The goal should be to understand, not to 'win’ or prove a point” he adds. “The circumstances should make it safe to express your thoughts and feelings without fear of retribution.”

Dr. Brown also advises seeking out the help of a couples therapist if you feel unprepared to solve the problems plaguing your relationship on your own, but are determined to salvage your bond.

“Doing this can help enhance your mutual understanding as well as the odds that you may be able to work things out,” he tells Elite Daily.

Don’t panic if you’ve noticed you’re having these kinds of fights with your SO. Now that you’ve identified that your relationship could be in trouble, you have the power to do something about it. In other words, when you realize that you truly feel your relationship is worth fighting for, you can start figuring out what you want to stop fighting about.