The Argument

The argument is natural conflict in relationships that occurs when values clash.  Healthy relationships and mature attitudes are able to identify the real issue.

The top three arguments for intimate partners are

  • Finances

  • Parenting/Children

  • Sex/Intimacy/Infidelity

With this short list you can see how when Police are called to a domestic dispute they are not equipped, trained nor is it their job to resolve these issues in your relationship.

The role of a police officer is to prevent violence and protect life and property.  They might be concerned for your safety, may have genuine fears for your life and are obligated and legislated to investigate and implement safety measures, even if it is against your will.  Having seen the impact of abuse and violence, Police, Governments, DV and health professionals are right to have concerns. They can identify the signs and signals of potential and actual risk and it is based on this knowlegde and understanding that policy and legislation exists.

I used to tell victims that when the police of called we know it’s not the first time this has happened.  In a recent interview Amy Mouif shared how victims will experience abuse or violence up to 26 times before they report it to police.  This is a pattern of argument, conflict and escalating conflict where an unresolved issue has become the struggle of that relationship.

Couples can experience hundreds of disagreements, arguments and engage in abusive behaviours  within their relationship to establish a platform of equality, being heard or control.   But what I’ve come to see is the way couples fight with each other, establishes a pattern of how they deal with everything.

Every relationship has a power dynamic and an attitude that drives the beliefs, decision and emotions of each person.

The complex and complicated nature of relationships means that the power dynamic in each area of the relationship can cause friction and left unresolved causes tension and resentment.

Weapons of the relationship are money, children and sex.

In determining the risk of the argument, an investigation can unpack the concerns and dive deep to the issue.  It is commonly something within the aggressor (another hard task to identify by police).   The dissatisfaction in a relationship is increased by stress. A perceived loss of support in parenting, undermining of discipline, reckless spending, lies, omissions and behaviour that produces guilt and shame.  And this can be found in every household because it’s the place where you can be you, make mistakes, learn and breakdown with less judgement albiet high accountability to be the best version of you.

The classic undermining of a parent will show up when the other parent doesn’t want to take responsibility for the discipline or uphold the expectations of the family unit.

Mum will be get so angry if your room isn’t clean by the time she gets home.

I’ve had countless women share their experiences of unwanted sex because they felt obligated to please their husband or partner and as it would lessen the tension and aggression in the relationship.  Sex plays an intricate role in the intimacy experienced.  The lack of sex in a relationship is the absence of the connection. For this you’ll need to read so much more about how men and women see sex differently, the different kinds of sex and the chemical reaction it creates.

So in an overlapping issue, if one partner in a committed relationship engages in sex with some else, the betrayal is not the act of sex – but the lack of loyalty, trust and respect demonstrated by doing.   When partners find themselves in this situation the range of emotions is both intense and distressing.  The hurt felt by betrayal, lies and omissions is a direct insult on the capacity for the other partner to accept, understand or participate in a conversation that is well over due.   Cheating has long been a driver of resentment and revenge. It  breaks hearts and has the capacity to dissolve family units which defeats the purpose of the sneaking around.  The brave thing to do is stop, have that conversation just as you are with the person you intend to have sex with and consider the cost before you go there.   Why?  because the police can’t help you with this, a counselor can support you but can’t fix it and ultimately it’s about understanding what was lacking, missing or the capacity of the partner in his communication.

A new survey found 16 Percent of Couples Survive an Affair and up to 40% of marriage end because of one.   Despite the high percentage, most people — even those who stray — will say that cheating is wrong.

Often it’s the belief and social conditioning that our partner must provide everything for us.  It’s certainly true that we expect an intimate relationship to be sacred and exclusive.  More often low self-esteem can cause people to be very dependent on the attentions of their partner and  others—and in some cases, the attention of just one person isn’t enough.

It may also cause someone to feel insecure in their own relationship, so much so that they might cheat as a way of rejecting rather than being rejected, Guilt and shame for sex outside the marriage or partnership is normal and common, but the bigger issue and the microscope should be on why they didn’t feel they could discuss this insecurity with their partner.  It’s an opportunity for growth and to preserve the relationship.  Discussing this is a sign of respect for the other person. Not discussing it continues to be perceived as selfish, unthoughtful and mean.  Hurting someone you claim to love is a shame on you. Honesty is the ingredient for trust and without trust the relationship is over.

Finally money, this has been found to the root cause of many relationship breakdowns and is the driver of arguments inside and after it has disolved.  Money represents the time, energy and attention that partners put into a relationship. The paid and unpaid work, contributions and collaborations that go into building a family, home and lifestyle, and causing couples to ‘fight’.

This dynamic is difficult to identify as money is still a taboo subject, but I do know a healthy relationship can ‘talk’ about money, ‘discuss’ priorities and options and agree on fair and equitable outcomes for both.

So much has changed in 50 years and for the better, but money still provides a lot more value and self worth to many men who think their earnings are their own and that the support provided by a wife or stay at home mum or wife is of a non financial contribution.

Money drives abuse when it comes to power and control with decisions.  It’s an informal slavery that compels an obligation and combined with the power of sex I’ve had many women share they have felt like a prostitute. Harsh but true. The bedroom is a playground and a war zone.

This was one of the only studies I found on How Do Money, Sex and Stress Influence Marital Instability.

A study by Dew in 2009 found ‘A wives’ marital satisfaction and perception of how divorce would impact them financially fully mediated the relationship between assets and divorce (Dew, 2009) whilst further, financial satisfaction has been shown to be associated with marital satisfaction (Archuleta, Grable, & Britt, 2013).
“Finances, sex, and marital instability. Almost no studies have incorporated
finances, sex, and marital instability simultaneously. Those that do are often studies or reviews exploring the degree to which a variety of marital issues predict divorce. For example, Dew et al. (2012) found that among various topics  of conflict, financial and sexual conflict were two of the topics most predictive of divorce. No study has tested the relationships between financial and sexual stressors, resources, perceptions, and outcomes within marriage at the same time. This study is unique in incorporating both financial and
sexual variables in the same empirical model”

Worth a read – deep but offers a greater understanding of the stressors on relationships and how particular attitudes of entitlement develop.

Whether it’s saving, spending or investment – Money should never reflect the value of who you are.  Percentages are derived for a transactional purpose, but it doesn’t accurately reflect your contribution.

Without keeping the end goal in focus, partnerships and families loose sight of their why.   Why they are together.  If it’s not to add value to each others lives, to care and provide for each other, to support and strengthen them as well as receive the kindness, compassion and respect an intimate relationship can offer, then it’s time to go.  It’s simple and natural.  Life is short.

Incompatibility and irreconcilable differences is the distance between where your beliefs and thoughts intersect.  So if you don’t feel you are on the same page, if you are wanting to understand the discord, take action.

Hard conversations are worth the effort. Stay calm and express yourself respectfully.