A recent survey revealed the average couple argues more than 300 times a year. I was talking to a friend about this, and we agreed that 300 seems on the low side – we couldn't think of anyone whose relationship with their significant other wasn't made up of constant bickering. It's just what couples do, isn't it?
As a very small and non-scientific social experiment, I starting paying attention to my family and friends' conversations with their partners, and rarely heard the smooth flow of normal chatter and small talk – all the dialogue between husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends was punctuated with disagreements.
In fact, there seemed to be no actual conversation at all - all the talk I heard was about how to solve an issue, be that frustrations about housework or DIY, or whose turn it was to bath the children or put them to bed or cook the dinner.
I picked my son up from a friend's house and the parents immediately started rowing about how good (or bad) the film was they had just seen. Not light-hearted banter, but an actual full-on row that ended in the wife flouncing out of the room. I visited some relatives and within minutes, the husband and wife were immersed in a heated discussion about a third party's WEIGHT, whilst one of my best friends had an actual shouting match with her partner over childcare whilst I stood awkwardly in the doorway.
The worst thing is, normally I wouldn't have even noticed. It was only because I was making a point of noting what couples rowed over that I felt shocked, and in some cases, embarrassed, to be there watching.
Usually, the bickering would just be going on in the background; expected, accepted.
My ex and I used to argue constantly over everything. Politics, television, books, religion, food... there was only one thing we have never really disagreed over, and that's was - and is - our son; our wants and wishes for him seem pretty much on a level. Although a large part of me wonders if generally, my ex just agrees with me because he knows legally, I hold most of the cards where decisions for our child are concerned. But I have never asked him if that's the case, because, obviously, it would just cause an almighty argument.
But this 300 rows a year that the official study claims. I don't buy it. I probably saw around that in a week watching my friends and family. So is rowing just a normal part of a healthy, happy relationship?
What do you think?
Do you row constantly with your partner?
Do you ever sit down and just have passing-the-time-of-day chat or does everything descend into a disagreement?