Social Question

chyna's avatar

Is there a couple that you are around that fight or argue constantly?

Asked by chyna (33984 points ) June 19th, 2012

How do you deal with it? Is this couple friends, relatives, your parents or just someone you have to be around for various reasons? I find this extremely uncomfortable and don’t know how to deal with it.

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27 Answers

cookieman's avatar

My parents were like that. They would fight in front of anybody. My mother was always the aggressor, with dad sharply defending himself. Neither had the sense to shelve it until they were alone or take it in another room.

The rest of us just sat in awkward silence until the end – which was usually bombastic – with her storming out and/or him in tears.

When I was younger, I’d try to inject some humor into the situation to diffuse it. It never worked as my mother would lash out, “This is not about you! Mind you own fucking business. Shut the fuck up!”

I finally learned to just leave the room (or the house).

bkcunningham's avatar

My in-laws. They pick, pick, pick at each other. My father-in-law thinks it is funny to insult his wife and she returns the favor. I try to avoid being around them but it is difficult. Last year my husband’s father asked him if he could help him move near us in Florida so we could help him out financially. Long story, short-we did because it is the right thing to do. We bought them a house near us last September and we see them weekly. My father-in-law by himself is funny and nice to be around. Put him in the same room with his wife and they are miserable.

I use to try to steer the conversation and try to keep the peace. Not anymore. I just ignore the insults and squabbling when I’m near them. I try not to be around them very often, but it is difficult. Really, really sad. I don’t like it and neither does my husband, but what do you do?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes. My sister and BIL do this. Well, he does. She just takes it in stride now. It’s been going on since they married over 25 years ago. Like you, it makes me uncomfortable. Despite my concerns, their marriage is secure, if not stronger after all of these years. Their sons seem to be able to maintain healthy relationships with others, even after growing up under that atmosphere. I just chalk it up to a different form of communication that works for them.

serenade's avatar

I have some friends/mentors who are aware that they argue/fight openly, but they also point out that they’re still married and many of their peers are not. It’s taken a while to get used to, but now I can deal with it. It’s just a weird way to live.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I have a friendship like this currently. (Admittedly it was more than a friendship at one point and kind of evolved into one.) I have to say it is terrible for everyone else but pretty fun to be involved in. Sometimes. You can laugh about how so and so seriously thinks you hate each other and that you have the most dysfunctional thing in the world. Plus, you get to say all of the things that you think. Well, most of them. Nothing has time to ferment in your mind.

However, I’m at a confrontational stage in my life. I genuinely enjoy arguing, especially if there is no purpose to it. It makes absolutely no sense.

However, there have been times where one or both of us has gone too far and later had to apologize. And it does make all but our closest other friends a tiny bit uncomfortable.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I didn’t put up with it as a kid. My parents had some issues to iron out when I was young. I let them know exactly how I felt.

wildpotato's avatar

My aunt and uncle. I dont know how to deal with it, especially because it happens in front of my cousins. My uncle just puts her down constantly; it’s awful and incredibly awkward. I deal with it by concentrating on not opening my mouth and occasionally making eye contact with my SO to reassure myself I’m not alone in being appalled. I think the only way I can deal with it in a psychological way is to use it to reaffirm that I don’t want a relationship like theirs, and that it’s important to work at relationships to make sure they don’t slip into that.

marinelife's avatar

No, but my aunt and uncle used to. They constantly bickered never agreeing on anything. it was grueling to be around them.

Trillian's avatar

Not any longer, but there is a girl whom I am having difficulty escaping who is under the mis-impression that I want to hear every detail about her drama filled life.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Everyone in my family—by which I mean to include my extended family on both sides—is argumentative. This will likely come as a surprise to no one, though it might be surprising to know that my siblings and I are by far the least argumentative members of the family. It’s important to remember that many couples thrive on conflict. Your lack of arguing might make them just as uncomfortable as their constant arguing makes you.

It does depend, though, on what kind or arguing we’re talking about. While rational debate is one of the best and healthiest things a human can do, malicious sniping is quite the opposite. Many people have trouble distinguishing the two, but it might help you be less uncomfortable if you take the time to see if either of the people in the argument seem hurt by the conflict. If not, what is there with which to be uncomfortable?

That is perhaps what helped me the most when I was younger and getting used to the way my family is. When I realized that none of the arguments surrounding me were malicious, but were instead genuine attempts to exchange ideas and improve beliefs, my discomfort decreased. It can still be a little odd in public; but then again, there’s no reason to be embarrassed just because others can’t appreciate a good thing when they see it.

Sunny2's avatar

We had a friends we often enjoyed, until their bickering started ruining evenings we spent together. We saw them less and less until they became just former friends. We still cared about them, but we didn’t care to be with them any longer.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are some neighbors like this. She corrects everything he says. Pointless corrections like:
He:“The ketchup is on the table.”
She:“Actually, you mean the ketchup bottle is on the table ”
He:“OK the ketchup bottle is on the table.”
She:“Actually it’s a plastic squeeze bottle.”

I find it so tedious. If possible, I try to sit next to him – away from her.

@athenasgriffin Doesn’t that get tiresome? It takes so much energy.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@LuckyGuy It does get tiresome. I do avoid this friend on certain occasions when I don’t feel like arguing. But, we don’t actually do MUCH nitpicking. We talked about Mubarak today, and America’s position in the world, It is more that whatever one says, the other plays the devil’s advocate against. Even though we agree with each other on mostly everything but issues of morality and relationships,

But the devils advocating is done with a little bit of flair that MAY seem like anger to the casual onlooker.

augustlan's avatar

Years ago, my ex-husband and I had a ‘couples friendship’ with another couple like that. Almost every time we got together with them, they’d get into a fight, no matter where we were. At one of our homes or the middle of a crowded restaurant, it was just the same. Big argument, she’d end up storming out. Initially, we attempted to mediate and calm them down, but it never worked. Eventually, we just didn’t see them much anymore. I’ve seen them a couple of times in recent years, and after many hardships, they are still together and seem much more loving toward one another now.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Am I wrong or is it women who seem to be the root of this constant bickering most times?

chyna's avatar

@ZEPHYRA In the case of the couple I’m thinking of, it is the man that picks and bickers and snipes. It is hurtful and it spills over to others in the area when he gets started.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@athenasgriffin Since I so rarely get angry I might find what you call a “little bit of flair” a bit disturbing and uncomfortable. Unless mid-orgasm or you are calling someone out of harms way, there is no need to yell. I try to avoid being in the company of arguers. I’d rather spend my limited time on this earth with nice people who are nice to each other.
(Like Randy, ;p )

@chyna Is there any way you can just invite her out and leave the noise maker at home?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LuckyGuy Agree 100 percent. Life’s too short to spend with arguing idiots. I’ll hang with the Randy’s of the world.

bookish1's avatar

My best friend in college was dating a real abusive dickbag of a man-child. Real waste of carbon. They were joined at the hip and so I couldn’t see her without seeing him, and they always fought in this awful childish passive-aggressive manner that I couldn’t stand to witness. Honestly, I just stopped seeing them, provided what support I could to her on the side, and celebrated when she realized it was an abusive relationship she needed to get out of.

I do realize that not all couples that fight alot are in an abusive situation, though! It’s just the first thing that comes to mind when I consider this question.

chyna's avatar

@LuckyGuy No, it’s my brother. They live in another state so I don’t see them often.
I was there this past weekend to go to his daughters wedding. We were all in the car, lost because not only do they argue with each other, they argue with the GPS. We were 15 minutes late to the wedding. That didn’t go over well.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@chyna They argue with the GPS? Oh god that cracked me up. Was he supposed to give away the bride too? Or was she in the car?

chyna's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe No, thank goodness, her son gave her away.
The GPS would say “turn right here” and one of them would say “that doesn’t sound right, let’s go straight.” They had never been there before! How could it not sound right? The bride was pissed!

SavoirFaire's avatar

@chyna Okay, that’s insane. Not even my family argues with the GPS.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I hate being around couples that behave like this & if there is anyway I can avoid it – I will.

MilkyWay's avatar

My parents. They have several fights a day, some of them over the most trivial of things…
When it happens I usually just slink off to my room, trying to speak up and stop it didn’t turn out too well.

thesparrow's avatar

@bookish1 Definitely not always! Abusive relationships usually harp on a person’s self-esteem; the abuser typically undermines the other person’s self-esteem. They can do things like insult them, their intelligence, their personality. My BF and I fight over things, too, but I feel like fighting in an abusive relationship is different. I know because my best friend was in one and continues to be in one. She constantly saw herself as inadequate because he would say she wasn’t a good girlfriend, would call her unattractive, would talk to other girls behind her back, would say she wasn’t an interesting person. And rather than fighting back she would kind of just feel shitty about herself.

SaitieRose's avatar

My parents and I dealt with it by growing up and moving away.

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