Here’s Why Arguing Is Healthy for Couples

Being in a long-term relationship is fun! (In a way.)

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Arguing with your partner can be fun – a point scoring game where you can assassinate their joy based on who last bought toilet roll. But sometimes they’re nasty: one of you accidentally fell onto someone else’s penis, for instance, or the other spent their overdraft dregs on coke and now needs you to transfer them a tenner so they can get to work at 9AM. There are many things couples can argue about! Those are just two completely random examples!

But they are necessary to the structure and health of your relationship. Without arguments, you’d be one of those weird couples holding hands at 65, those grandparents who fully make out in front of you. The sort of couple who go home early because “Tom isn’t feeling good”, who form protective forcefields around one another in festival crowds, who buy or wear rose gold Michael Kors and post anniversary statuses captioned “another year with this one!”

No: true romance is rowing until you feel so guilty you buy them a £3 coffee and provide self-deprecating oral sex for as long as required. To commemorate this cornerstone of modern romance, here are all the arguments you will ever have with your partner.

That argument where your lazy partner won’t fill up the bedtime water bottle

After some spooning sex, you peel your partner’s emptied genitals off your thigh. “I need water,” you croak. They groan and roll over. But you got the water the last two nights. You kick aside their sapped carcass and fall asleep as far away from them as possible. The basis of succeeding in relationships is to remember each time you did something caring and tally it up so you can cash it in at any moment. Breaches of this contract are unacceptable.

That argument where you embarrass your partner in front of their friends

You absentmindedly tell their mates about that time you found a picture of their cat’s arsehole on their iPhone. The trust never really recovers.

That argument where your partner forces you to get on with their shit mates

A partner’s university friends live for blocking you out of conversations by bringing up halls. Halls were so fun. Boy, did we drink in halls. Remember when Matty took a pinger at that techno night and asked everyone in Basement if he looked like Ed Miliband? That time Sarah’s nip fell out when you were all hungover watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Ah, halls! Halls! Halls! Halls!

You’re hanging in there until your partner tells you to get off your phone. Sorry, but Oscar has been explaining how far away his new office in bet365’s internal communications department is from the toilets for, like, 20 minutes. The fact I’m conscious of is testament enough of my undying love for you.

The “can you please stop trying to make anal sex happen” argument

Seriously, it feels like shitting out a Sky remote.

The “I shouldn’t have to ask” argument

“Don’t worry about birthday presents,” you say. “Let’s save up and go to Budapest for a long weekend! Or just buy me a drink next time we go out!”

Of course, this low-key, easy-breezy attitude changes immediately on the morning of the birthday: Not even a fucking pancake? Look at me eating the crummy dregs of the Fruit and Fibre box. Not even some daffodils on the way back from Co-op?

That argument when you try to be chill but your bottled-up craziness all comes out at once

No, honestly, go watch Arsenal with the boys. I wanted to watch Saturday Night Takeaway minus Ant on my own anyway. Cannot wait to put that fluffy Tesco dressing gown on, cup my boob and flick through other people’s “boy done good” Instagram stories.

Passive-aggression out the way, when – to them – it seems like the argument is done and over with, you manage to hold all the wide-eyed hysteria back until the following afternoon when they come back from the shop with semi-skimmed milk: “YOU KNOW I LIKE SKIMMED. DO YOU NOT LOVE ME?”

When you’re sober and they come home pissed

The smell of fermented Peronis dripping off their tongue as they try to lunge in for a kiss. Absolutely rotten.

That argument when you’re both pissed

It’s physically impossible to drink with a partner past 1 AM without arguing at least once. One of their gun fingers knocks your rum and coke onto the floor / they hold eye contact with someone you cannot immediately identify / you wait for them outside the toilet cubicle and, because they have been more than two minutes, become furiously convinced they have left you.

You end the night sitting with your shoes off on a muddy pavement, pretending to text people you shagged once. If there is a guy involved, he will punch walls and kick abandoned McDonald’s paper bags around. When they approach, you storm off and lurk behind a large bottle bin – but you never go too far: you’re too drunk to be alone, plus you’re not paying for an Uber home by yourself.

The whole saga comes to an end when a huge guy shaped like a slice of toast, wearing a tight bright Lyle and Scott polo shirt, asks: “Is this man bothering you?” and, not wanting your boyfriend to die, you go, “Ha ha, no he’s fine, he’s just a twat.

That argument where you spend too much time together and you become irrationally upset

Your partner’s presence becomes a dull persistent chafing, like when it’s hot outside and your sweat makes the top of your thighs stick together and rub pink. You descend into madness: secretly getting a thrill when they stub their toe, becoming so enraged by every little thing they do that, all of a sudden, you inexplicably have the urge to slowly knock your head against the wall until the skin breaks, maybe just to take your mind off how awful they are?

Small problems become tooth-grindingly unbearable until you break: “Why do you never fully shut the underwear draw?” “Why I am always the one to change the cat’s water?” “Why do you always get the apple-flavored washing up liquid when you know it smells artificial????”

These kind of arguments are incredibly cathartic, but unfortunately – as you can surmise from the pettiness of the examples I’ve just given – also always make you look mental.

That argument about whose shit flat you’re going to stay at

Don’t make me go there again. To the bathroom with the permanently un-flushed loo, the one with day-old piss maturing at the bottom of the bowl. Where the shower is so weak it feels like someone’s dribbling lukewarm tea onto your back; where there’s no shower gel, just mangled bits of hand soap which almost definitely have specs of faeces in them. You can do one if you think I’m going to fall asleep to the sound of flatmate Becky shouting, “YOU GOT ME CHARGER?” from the kitchen. “But we always go to yours!” they cry, “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only thing keeping this relationship together.”

False – the semi-regular sex and possibility of halved rent sometime in the near future is what’s keeping this relationship together.

That argument because of your partner’s shit taste

I am never, ever (ever) going to read those articles you send me about micro-dosing hallucinogenics. Stop sending them to me while I’m at work, and get yourself a job while you’re at it.

That argument when one of you chews like “schwuck-schmck-uk-uk”

Are you motor-boating that bowl of Cheerios or eating it? The way your teeth scrape across the spoon prevents me from concentrating on my morning Facebook scroll, and for that reason: this relationship is over.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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