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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My girlfriend and I were going through a rough stage of fighting

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My girlfriend and I were going through a rough stage of fighting a lot about a month ago. We almost came close to breaking up. I have some anger issues and definitely have a jealousy/possesiveness issue. I usually realize when I'm acting out of line and I admit to it and say I'll work on it. She said she would work on herself too and try to be less "snappy". We recently got into an argument after doing so well for almost a month. She was bighting her tongue more I was going to the gym to blow off steam it was working pretty well. I don't know why but I am so upset and can't get over this dumb argument. I think I'm more upset because it feels like we took a giant leap backwards. I don't know why but I'm still mad. She apologized for having a bad attitude. I think I'm upset with that because I always have to ask her for an apology and she says sorry but then it just feels insencere since i had to ask. I'm also mad because she admitted to being in the wrong for this argument but I still always have to go to her when she's wrong to work things out. then I sit there for sometimes hours trying to talk about how i felt in the situation, how she felt, and how things may have been misinterpreted, how we can fix it, just all-in-all trying to figure it out and fix it. I asked her, "why should I be the one who goes to you when I make you upset AND still have to go to you when you make ME upset to work things out. She's not very verbal and I feel like she just gets lost when I talk to her and I explain things very thouroughly and easily but she still sometimes doesn't understand. Then she gets upset because I'm asking her to work on it and she says nothings ever good enough for me, that I ask her to work on her attitude, on apologizing more, on coming to me when I'm upset and talking to me....i just don't know what to do. I love her and know we can be happy but I don't know how to get over this anger I feel.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Most couples fight. Fighting is a healthy way of working out your issues, but only if you disagree fairly and can come to an agreement when it's over. But it sounds like the fighting between you and your girlfriend has become about control and insecurities.


It sounds like there is a power struggle going on in your relationship. Your girlfriend snaps at you, you fight back. Apologies have become very important rather than being close with each other. The inequities have become primary rather than the focus on the two of you as a couple.


Your original ideas of blowing off steam were good. But I am wondering why you both are so angry? Are there unresolved issues from the past such as abusive childhoods? Or are the issues related to something that happened in your relationship, like cheating or lying?


Whatever the issues, they need resolved. Therapy can help you both figure out what is keeping you apart and help you both grow closer. To find a therapist, talk to your doctor about a referral. Or search on line at


You can also try working on this at home. Here are some resources to help you:


When Anger Hurts Your Relationship: 10 Simple Solutions for Couples Who Fight by Matthew McKay Ph.D.


The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver


Also, try these ideas when you fight-


Start your statements with "I". This means no yelling "you did this to me". Say instead "I feel hurt because..."


Give each other time to explain how you feel- for example assign 2 minutes to each person. Let that person talk and say how they feel. No interrupting. Then the other person has a turn.


Write out how you feel rather than fight- share your notes and then talk about them.


Include your feelings when you argue- use words like hurt, sad, lonely, etc This helps you get in touch with feelings other than anger.


The better you learn to communicate, the easier it will be to connect when you argue rather than feel apart.


I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There are issues about the beginning of our relationship and before I would find myself bringing them up when we'd argue and saying "you did this then, so why wouldn't you now" but I realized I cant do that because it's not fair. It's in the past and i decided to stay with her so i can't bring it up I need to get over it. She used to enjoy seeing me jealous I understand showing a little can at times show your significant other that you care for them but she would do too much like talk to guys who would try over and over again to hit on her and that would flirt with her. She would continue to text them and talk to them and think it was ok even though we were together and they all knew we were. She said as long as she didn't want them it should be ok for her to be friends with them. I took it as her being disrespectful. I don't think "friends" are supposed to act that way so i wanted her to have real friends. I don't care male or female, because i have female friends and I don't think anything more of them than a friend so I know it's possible. She promised me she wouldnt see one particular guy who happened to text her when I showed up at her house at a time i normally would be at work and he was being very flirtacious with her via text, which didn't help my trust issues with her at all. (Which stem probably from me being an excessive cheater in my past. Shes's the only woman iv'e been faithful to.) I told her I didn't want her to talk to him. I don't know if i was right or wrong but she promised me she wouldn't and then the very next day she hung out with him. I honestly trust her, I really believe she wouldn't cheat she's not that way, but she is the type to not want to feel like she's being told what to do. Maybe this is what our issues are related to? I do communicate very well with her I do all of those tips you put at the bottom and she just feels like I'm always attacking her when I tell her how i feel.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like there are insecurities on both sides. Neither of you feel secure in the relationship and there are trust issues from the cheating and jealousy. This is the root of your problems. Both of you want to be loved, but each of you goes about it by using control and jealousy to communicate with each other instead.


This issue may need to be resolved with a therapist so you can get deeper into the causes of the jealousies. Also, the books will help you both get started. Make a commitment to each other to put aside the normal way you communicate and start learning what you can about communicating in a healthy way. Take a step each day to incorporate something new into the way you relate to each other. That should help you communicate better and be able to fight less.



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