15 First Fights That Signal A Doomed Relationship

Fighting…ugh… Every girl knows the first fight is inevitable, but it is dreaded and avoided nonetheless. The first fight brings so many new and often uncomfortable issues to the relationship. What are you fighting over, something petty or something life changing? How do you fight, yelling and screaming or via text and Facebook? Where do you fight, when you have a moment alone or when the proverbial s#&t hits the fan and you are out in public?

Disagreements can actually help to establish mutual respect between partners. Fighting forces you to define boundaries, and also demonstrates your investment in the relationship. However, both parties need to fight fair and both parties need to be invested. If you are ending a fight feeling worse than when it started, it is not resolved no matter what words were said or that now he is acting like everything is fine again.

There are certain actions and words that signal that the argument or discussion is going nowhere but downhill. These are the relationship killers. Here are the red flags to look out for during a fight that usually signal the relationship is doomed.

15Name Calling and Finger Pointing

I know this one couple that absolutely floors me every time they disagree. He usually shouts something like, “Shut the f*&k up, b*%ch!” To which she usually responds, “You’re an a-hole,” or something along those lines before she storms off to cool off. I have witnessed this many times over years, and it never stops shocking me.

To most, this is a definite sign of a doomed relationship, but for this unique hot-tempered couple, they both have discussed and agreed that they have the incredible need to name call when they are mad, and they have come to an understanding around it. Shouting names is code for, “Let’s take a time out.” Then they come back together and resolve their issues.

This is a one in a million relationship. It may be understandable that sometimes you or he get mad enough to throw a name out there, but this is not the norm. Name-calling and finger pointing is emotional abuse and no one should have to put up with that. It is hurtful and rarely forgotten. It is also completely juvenile and disrespectful.

If the man you are with continuously calls you names and points the finger of blame at you during each and every fight, it is time to move on. Have some self-respect and try to get out the door before you catch that same name-calling bug and say something you’ll really regret.


Absolutes are some of the easiest weapons to use and some of the most hurtful to any discussion. Absolutes are “always” and “never,” and they are always never true. That’s the problem with them. Many people fall back on absolutes if an incident happened even once before without even realizing they have just ended the discussion about the incident and turned it onto a battle where the accused must now defend his or her past.

Yes, always and never are accusations. “You’re always late when it’s important to me!” “You never remember to call,” or even better, “You only remember to call when you want to get lucky!” The accused usually forgets what the discussion was about and instead focuses on finding an exception to the awful absolute.

Absolutes can also sidetrack a discussion as in “You always get mad when I go out with my friends. You never trust me!” Suddenly a simple discussion about one missed event that upset you turns into you scrambling to defend that you are not some evil crazy witch.

If your man is constantly tossing your discussions out the window by throwing absolutes at you, you will end up feeling bad about having feelings at all. Absolutes make you constantly question and defend yourself, and that’s no way to spend a relationship.

13Threatens to End It

“God, we’re always fighting…maybe this just isn’t worth it.” “We never seem to be on the same side…maybe we shouldn’t be together.” Threatening to end it every time something upsets you is a low blow, and if that is something happening to you frequently, you are probably with the wrong guy. It’s totally unfair of him to pull the rug out whenever you have an issue.

Every couple’s counselor will agree that unless staying together/breaking up is the main issue at hand, it should be off the table. You both must agree (when you are in a good space, of course) to refrain from threatening to end the relationship when you find yourselves fighting.

If every fight ends because he says, “I don’t know. Maybe we should just call it quits,” I recommend you do. Call it quits. Nobody wants to feel constantly threatened in any relationship. Instead of letting him continue to cry wolf, just shoot him. Bye bye….

12Fight Argue Fight Argue

Have you ever been with someone who constantly picks fights or who argues for the sake of arguing? Are you now? Being passive aggressive and excessively argumentative throws a damp moldy blanket on any love affair. Argumentative people make big deals out of everything, even trivial matters, and they become major crazy-makers in your life.

Argumentative people are narcissistic and self absorbed and could care less about your side of anything. They argue just to hear themselves. They don’t care how their accusations and complaining hurt you because it’s not about you. It never was. Usually, it goes beyond just your relationship. They argue with everyone and complain about everything.

How did you find yourself in this relationship? Well, usually you start on the same side – one of those you and me against the world, babe, kind of things. It feels like you finally have someone on your team until it’s just the two of you. Then you are all he has to argue with and he will. Save yourself, princess, and don’t make yourself sad and crazy with an argumentative man.

11Adds Insult to Injury

For some men (and women), the past never dies. Forgive and forget is a mantra they say but don’t mean. Past mistakes are held for ammunition and are used frequently. Perhaps he does not use “always” or “never,” but he does like to bring up your past over and over again. Sometimes, this is even what the first fight will be all about.

When you fall in love, you want to share everything with the man who might be the one. You entrust him with your past mistakes and failures to invite him to support and trust you. If he uses those mistakes and failures against you in a fight, not only is it mean and spiteful, it is unfair.

“You cheated on your last boyfriend. Why wouldn’t you do that to me?” “You have dumped your last million guys. I’m sure I’m next!” “You always nagged your last man. I can see I’m no different.” Not fair. A boyfriend who continuously drags up your past mistakes is no friends of yours.

10Doesn’t Know Squat

“Are you mad?” “I don’t know.” “Did you think I’d be happy about you having lunch with your ex?” “I don’t know.” “Do you care if that really hurt me?” “I don’t know.” Men are generally the decisive types and women are the mind changers. In most cases, if a man continuously says, “I don’t know,” especially in a fight, he is really avoiding something. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the truth, and maybe it’s conflict in general.

He knows, and you know he knows, and he knows you know he knows. So there is this big white elephant in the room called AVOIDANCE, and it stands between you and ever resolving anything. If you find yourself with an “I don’t know” man, I recommend you save yourself some time and know it’s not for you. You want a man you can BE in relationship WITH, not one who avoids it.

9Brings the Ex in

You get in a fight and he wants to call his ex to talk. He says they are just friends and he just wants help figuring you out and she knows him best…blah…blah…blah… Ummmm…. shouldn’t you be figuring you out together and how are you ever going to know him best if he’s always talking to her?

I know this seems like a no brainer. You are thinking he is still in love with her, and you should move on. Perhaps that is the case or perhaps he is just the kind of guy to run to the familiar in times of conflict. If it weren’t her, maybe it would be his mother who helps him figure you out. Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

Regardless, no one should be between you and your man during the most intimate of moments – I’m talking about fighting here. Fair fighting is supposed to create trust, boundaries and deepen intimacy. It should just be you and him. If he needs someone else to referee or counsel your issues and arguments, he is a coward and not worth your time. How’s that for straightforward?

8Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Dr. John Gottman, known for his work in marriage stability and relationship analysis, speaks of the Four Horsemen of relationship. They are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt, with contempt being the deadliest. The Four Horsemen will destroy any relationship, especially during a fight.

Criticism is attacking the character of a person instead of focusing on the specific behavior or event that made a person mad. Defensiveness is self-protection in the form of self-righteousness or victimhood. It’s someone saying, “The problem is not me. It’s you.” Stonewalling is plain old withdrawal which ends in implosion – not so good. Finally, contempt comes from some superiority complex and is displayed through sarcasm, cynicism, sneering, eye rolling and mockery.

Face it – if he rides one or more of the above horses in a fight, you should buy him a t-shirt emblazoned with “I’m with LOSER…Wait, I’m Alone” and hit the road. There’s a better man out there for you.

7Impersonal Ambushing

Fighting face to face is what any real man does. He does not text you when he is pissed. He does not call you names on WhatsApp. He does not humiliate you on Facebook or send you a photo of him flipping you off on Instagram. Nope, that is what women do, usually after one too many.

One of the first rules of healthy fighting is do it in person. I know, sometimes you can’t help yourself. That snide remark slips out of your fingers in a text. Not great, but most men expect that once in a while. Women get impatient when they have something to say. If he doesn’t pick up his phone when you’re mad, you gotta do what you gotta do. You’ll be very sweet when you say sorry later.

But not a man; men stand in waders for hours trying to catch a fish. They lay in the grass for days to shoot an antelope or duck or enemy soldier or whatever. Even a man who throws the remote out the window when it doesn’t work right can wait until he gets home to give you a piece of his mind. Yes, it is a double standard, and no one wants a man who fights via text. Nope, nopity nope nope.


What are we, twelve? “If you don’t something something something then I’m outta here!” Uh…Buh-bye! I don’t know about you, but I gave up ultimatums in grade school when the popular girl said she wouldn’t be my friend if I didn’t let her cheat off my paper. Grownups don’t give ultimatums to anyone other than their small children, as in “If you don’t clean your room, I’ll beat you…”

If your man uses an ultimatum as a way to finish a fight, perhaps you’ll give him one chance to redeem himself by asking him if he is kidding you or what? Tell him as straightforward as you can that you don’t accept ultimatums and he should rethink throwing that one out there. If he takes it back and tries a more civilized approach to dealing with you, he may stand a chance. If he draws another line in the sand, you should leave him standing with stick in hand. Let him know, “Nice try, but real ladies don’t play that way.”

5Bad and Wrong

“I can’t believe you are late again!” “Well, you shouldn’t have made plans right after I get off work.” … “Why were you so mean to me in front of your friends?” “Well, you shouldn’t have provoked me.”… “I felt really bad when you pulled your hand out of mine so abruptly.” “Well, you shouldn’t have put me on the spot in front of your friends.”

Any of this sound familiar? You are the one who is upset, yet somehow whatever happened is all your fault. Fights always consist of two (or more) people. Someone does or says something. The other person interprets or misinterprets it and the first person reacts. Bingo, you’ve got a fight. Both people are involved and both are responsible for owning their own stuff.

If you are with a man who never owns his part of the problem and always blames you, then you are fighting an uphill battle on Everest. You are on what one of my favorite writers calls “the Feedback Loop from Hell.” You are feeling angry about being angry. You are guilty for feeling guilty and you are anxious about being anxious. Why? Because you are feeling for two, and that ain’t fair.

4Comparisons or Ratings

“You’re just like your mother!” “Why can’t you be more like your best friend. She never get’s mad when her husband goes out.” “You need to learn to be a little nicer. I dumped my last girlfriend for being so fricking evil.” I don’t know about you, but I hate being compared to other people, good or bad. I’m me and you’re you.

If your man is comparing you to women who are more attractive, earn more, seem more tolerant of errant behavior or whatever, it is denigrating. If you are being rated on some sort of “man scale” in order to measure up to his requirements, he needs to grow up…without you.

Everyone thinks the grass is greener at one time or another, but only idiots think they will not have to fertilize that grass or pull weeds occasionally. That’s life. If your man thinks there is something better than you out there, let him try and go find it. We are each unique, and we are not to be measured up against some imaginary standard or some other woman.

3Liar Liar Pants on Fire

We all lie once in a while. We all make up that it’s not important and it doesn’t matter or the little white lie only makes him/her feel better. I’m not talking about that kind of lying. I’m talking about the caught red-handed flat out big lie that makes you wonder if you can ever trust your man or any man again.

Even worse, when caught lying, he follows it up with several more lies in his own defense. This, of course, makes you feel the need to throw down all your evidence to back up your accusation, when the truth is – you both know he’s lying. If you really have absolutely no doubt he’s lying then he obviously knows it as well and this futile attempt at confusing you does not bode well for a trusting relationship.

There is a second kind of lying as well. It’s called lying to yourself. Pretending to love someone is a betrayal of yourself and that someone, and it only delays and increases the damage done. Similarly, pretending everything is okay and convincing yourself you are happy when something is definitely wrong is withdrawing from reality. If you can’t stay in the present moment of the relationship and handle what is going on, maybe you are not up for this one.

2Public Flogging

“Oh my God, you are telling me what I can and can’t do AGAIN? Dude, can you believe she just told me not to get another one? Bro, get me two! Get her one too – maybe it’ll loosen her up.” Hmmmm… wow, you feel great now, don’t you?

Anything good you have to say to or about your boyfriend or he about you can and should be done in public. Everyone likes positive public recognition. Anything bad either one of you have to say should be done in private between the two of you.

Public badmouthing, especially in front of friends or family and even if it’s meant as a joke or just petty complaining, is a no-no. It is usually just a hint of the deep dissatisfaction going on. If your man complains to or about you, makes snide or sarcastic jokes in your direction or plain says mean things while you are out in public, he’s definitely not a keeper. In fact, he’s more like a loser.

1Let’s Get Physical…Let’s NOT

Men have tempers. Women do too. I’ve been known to slam a door or two and my husband has thrown an offending wrench across the yard, both using very colorful language. I do not slam the door on his face and he does not throw things at me or threaten me physically ever. When we fight, it is with a very different attitude, but we’ve been together for ten years. We weren’t always so good at fighting, and honestly we aren’t always now, but there is trust.

But you… you and your new relationship and your first fight. How do you know if your man could be dangerous to you? Yes, I do use the word dangerous. Sure, it could be no big deal that he threw the remote at the wall and broke it when you asked him for the fifth time to turn the TV down. Or it could be something else. For this one, I go with gut instinct.

We all have a fight or flight instinct that occurs naturally when we really feel threatened. You know it – it’s that I’m cold and a little shaky and my heart is racing not in a good way feeling. If you are feeling this regularly when you are around him, you got to go girl. It doesn’t matter how good he is in bed, he’s no good out of it.

Fighting is never easy, but it shouldn’t feel like the end of the world either. I know it seems like he is perfect most of the time, but the sea is full of fish and if the man you are with waves one or more of the above flags, it’s time to go fishing. Time stops for no one, honey.

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