10 Things Couples Argue About The Most

Fox/The Simpsons

Fighting is something that happens in every relationship unless you’re a model of relationship perfection and somehow have a psychic connection with your partner that allows you to agree about everything all the time (or you’re a brainwashed cult member). Luckily for most people, you don’t have to uncover psychic powers or join a cult to have a good relationship; in fact, it’s been found that couples who know how to argue are more likely to stay together. But what exactly do couples argue about the most? As you can probably guess, most relationship arguments are centered around money, although there are a few issues that may surprise you.

1. Debt

Forbes reports that in a 2004 study conducted by SmartMoney Magazine (now MarketWatch), debt was one of the most common pieces of tinder that sparked fights among couples. Debt can be a volatile issue in a relationship; as a couple attempts to navigate the milestones of adulthood, which include things like renting apartments, finding out your credit score, buying new cars, marriage, buying a house and all the expenses associated with having children, saving for retirement or furthering your education, debt is a dead horse that can arrest progress in every single one of those areas. When one person has debt but the other doesn’t, this can make things seem lopsided and lead to frequent arguments about how much money to spend, who should spend more and what financial obligations should be prioritized.

2. Spending Money

A 2012 survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) by Harris Interactive found that 27 percent of those surveyed said disagreements over money were the most likely topics to prompt a fight. On top of this, 58 percent of couples who argued about money said the most common cause of money disagreements was “needs” versus “wants.” When a couple has mismatching priorities about what they consider basic necessities and what are unnecessary expenses, they’re probably going to end up in a lot of fights.

3. Saving Money

32 percent of couples in the survey above said they fought about insufficient savings, according to AICPA. One of the most likely reasons for this is, as Forbes points out, that different people have different levels of risk they’re willing to take and also vary on the amount of money they need to feel safe. When two people merge their finances, they’re not just merging money; they’re also attempting to reconcile two entirely different attitudes about savings and risk.

4. Merging Money

One of the big issues that pops up when a couple has been serious for a while is whether or not they should merge their finances; according to Forbes, merging money is one of the six most common things couples argue about. Some people may want to consolidate their bills and bank accounts, while others may want to maintain their financial independence and privacy over how much they make, how much they spend and how they organize their system. When these values clash, fights can break out.

5. Kids

It’s not just about whether or not to have kids — it’s also about how to raise them once they’re born and how to maintain the marriage afterward. The Relationship Research Institute in Seattle has discovered that about two-thirds of couples “see the quality of their relationship drop within three years of the birth of a child.” Fights occur over issues like sleeplessness, changing diapers, changing roles, a changing social life, sex and (of course) money. Conflict often intensifies after the birth of a child when couples don’t discuss their individual responsibilities, such as who will be expected to carry out which specific duties, or make time to connect with each other emotionally.

6. Chores

One in five Americans admitted to arguing about chores on a “monthly basis,” according to the 2010 CLR Chore Wars Report. The report also found that 69 percent of the women surveyed “felt they did most of the work around the house,” while 53 percent of the men felt they did just as much housework as the women. When everyone feels like they’re doing all the work and no one is helping, that doesn’t exactly make for a happy household.

7. Annoying Habits

In 2011, the Daily Mail reported on a study (which, to be honest, sounds more like an unscientific survey) conducted by the unscientific-sounding BetterBathrooms.com. According to this survey, in which 3,000 Brits were asked about their relationships, it was found that couples argued an average of 312 times a year and that the “majority” of these arguments stemmed from “minor irritations” like channel surfing, not replacing empty toilet paper rolls, leaving the toilet seat up and leaving things like wet towels, dirty dishes and tissues around the house. Hoarding and not cleaning one’s hair out of the drain were apparently also major sources of discord. When in doubt, always clean your hair out of the drain.

8. Gaming

When two gamers get together, there doesn’t seem to be too much arguing, but when only half of a couple is into gaming, it can become a problem. A study published in the Journal of Leisure Research found that 75 percent of gamers’ spouses “wished they would put more effort into their marriage,” and when one person spent a lot more time gaming than the other, “it usually led to dissatisfaction and arguing.”

9. Technology

A Pew Research survey conducted in 2014 discovered that 25 percent of cell phone owners in a marriage or partnership felt their spouse or partner was “distracted” by their cell phone when they were together. However, 42 percent of cell-owning 18- to 29-year-olds in serious relationships said their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone while they were together, while 18 percent of online 18- to 29-year-olds have argued with a partner about the amount of time one of them spent online.

10. Sleep

Sleeping arrangements are surprisingly contentious among American couples; according to Caring.com, a 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey found that nearly one in four couples slept in either separate beds or separate bedrooms. From snoring to nightlights to issues of mattress firmness, couples can find a million things to disagree about in the bedroom.