It may be healthy to argue in a relationship but it’ll all depend on the way you and your partner go about the arguing.
The answer will all depend on your argument style and if you or your partner are able to communicate through to resolution in a healthy way. Healthy arguing is more like debating, where each of you are able to put your perspective on the table without interruption or negative retorts from the other.
Communication styles that make arguing unhealthy in a relationship
You or your partner may sometimes be using specific communication styles that are damaging exchanges and are highly destructive to the relationship. This is when the arguing isn’t healthy and will erode the relationship over time. These include:
Coercive communication: when one person uses negative comments to get the other person to give in. Using this style of communicating is a way to get what you want but is a punishing and unhealthy style. Coercive communication includes criticising your partner until he/she gives in to your needs or demands.
Withdrawal: is when you withdraw from the argument all together either physically or emotionally. It can also be a way of coping, particularly if the arguing has been intense in the past or has been happening too often. Withdrawal, is also referred to as Stonewalling. The stonewaller gives the message to their partner that the conflict is unresolvable so why bother. E.g. one or both of you shut down, refuse to speak or leave the premises.
Retaliation: you make a negative comment during an argument and your partner rapidly and automatically retaliates back with a similar negative comment. Some couples get to the point that neither one is prepared to stop and the cycle continues. Retaliation can become entrenched over time and a difficult habit to break. The retaliation style brings with it deep insults and a significant lack of trust as each person accepts that the other is out to hurt them.
Cross-complaining: is when both you and your partner exchange complaints about each other and attach blame. ‘I feel like I pay for everything and I’m sick of it. Well, I paid for just about everything last year’.
If you or your partner are using these, the arguing is far from healthy
These maladaptive communication styles rarely get better unless you are prepared to get intervention and learn healthy ways to debate your issues. They create deep hurt and have a significant impact on the relationship and how you feel about each other. They can quickly become firmly entrenched so getting help sooner rather than later is preferable.