Happily ever after
A couple of months ago I set up an online-questionnaire about the fighting habits of couples. Here's what you guys have shared: The majority of respondents is in a relationship or married (89 %) and has been in that relationship for the last four to 15 years (56 %). In their relationship, almost half can talk about anything and everything (45 %), and about a quarter need their little secrets (23 %). A fight is described as an argument with raised voices (57 %), a disagreement where neither party concedes (29 %) and the termination of communication or ignoring each other (14 %).
As for what the fights are about, lack of communication tops the list with 19 %, followed by issues with the family or in-laws and too little space (10 % each). Hobbies, chores, money, working hours, punctuality, space, ex-partners and friends also figure equally with 5 %, whereas fights about sexual matters, children and the TV-remote appear to be absent.
43 % of the couples fight about once a month for the duration of about a day. More frequent fights (once a day / once a week) tend to last about one hour (29 %). Almost 15 % reported to have "recycled" the same fight for years. For 57 %, a subject is resolved after fighting about it two to four times, for the remaining 43 %, the same topic has been fought over 10 times or more.
Fights are mainly being executed in a fair fashion or as a heated debate (43 % and 29 % respectively). Rational discussion and lots of drama both received 14 % of the votes. In any case, fighting seems to be a mainly private matter as 43 % responded they would never be caught fighting in public, and a further 29 % said only their closest friends would notice.
Fights end when all points have been discussed thoroughly for 57 %. For the remaining 43 % things simply fizzle out and go back to normal. The suggestions of putting an end to a fight by apologies, giving in or finding compromises have not been confirmed.
The following third part where I inquired about the feelings you experience pre-, during and post-fight has only been completed by a fraction respondents, so it's difficult to view them as representative. As I've not received any feedback, I'm assuming a) there were technical difficulties in reaching the third page or b) the questionnaire was perceived as too long.
After some deliberation I have decided to close this questionnaire now. I will revisit the idea, however, and hopefully come up with a version that may be equally as revealing, but more concise.
Thank you ever so much for your participation and your helpful comments. I'm glad it made some of you more aware of your behaviour during fights with your partner, as you've so nicely commented. To the gentleman who suggested for his wife to take the questionnaire and compare answers: I hope she did and you two were able to take some time to look at both your perspectives. Thinking and talking about how you fight is a fantastic opportunity to increase awareness of the other person as well as yourself, and that in itself will increase your understanding for one another and most likely lessen the blow and shorten the next argument you may encounter.
If you'd like to have a look at the questionnaire, send me an email and I'll forward it to you to go over in your own time. Feel free to contact me for any other question, comment or suggestion you may have!