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Why Do Couples Keep Having the Same Fights?

It may feel like the 1993 movie Groundhog Day where the main character keeps reliving the same day, but this is real life.

Many couples find themselves repeating fights over and over again. It can feel like clockwork for some, but for others it can seem to come out of nowhere.

Feeling like you can’t get off this roller coaster can be really frustrating.

Not getting the safe, reliable connection that you want is even harder. Some of us want to feel heard, while others want calm and safe connection more than anything else. However, our best efforts to get these things often lead to what seems like a never ending let down and frustration.

Connection can be hard to establish, takes work and needs to be maintained. The fighting can stop with work and its worth it.


Couples can find a fight in just about anything. An extensive list would be overwhelming and is probably not necessary. A few of the primary categories that couples fight about include:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Sex
  • Division of Labor
  • Parenting

There are thousands of starting points for conflicts and most of them lead to one of these categories. Couples can also have conflict around quality time, vacation and dealing with family of origin.


Fighting with your partner can feel like a firestorm. And trying to resolve things can feel like you are constantly putting out fires with varying degrees of success. These efforts can sometimes be effective in the short term but seem to inevitably resurface later on.

It’s like trying to put out a fire on the surface while the source of the fire continues to burn underneath. Couples focus on the content of the fight, the details of what happened and trying to figure out or prove who was right or wrong. And this never works to repair anything.

Couples struggle to talk about their process, their experience of connection and their relationship needs. These unresolved and often unspoken components are part of what keep the fires burning.

This probably sounds a lot easier than it is. Most couples need help learning how to get to this level of communication, understanding and support of one another. This does not mean that your relationship is broken or a failure. It just means that your challenges with communication and connection are driven by parts of self that most of us don’t often access or think about.

  1. The problem is not with your partner or yourself, it’s a relationship cycle problem.
  2. Criticism and shutting down keep conflicts fueled more than the content of the conflict.
  3. Identifying your relationship needs is an important first step to ending the cycle of fighting.

The Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change is committed to providing the highest quality mental health services to help you establish the connected relationships that you deserve. To schedule a free couples counseling consult, email or schedule a time with us by clicking here.

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