Reasons Why Your Partner May Be Picking A Fight For Seemingly No Reason

Couples fight. When you sign up to be in a relationship with someone, you also sign up to argue about big things, little things, medium-sized things, and even petty things. It just comes with the territory and isn't just normal, but natural. Even if you and your partner go together like peanut butter and jelly, it doesn't mean you'll never argue — and you should occasionally argue because it's healthy to do so.


But sometimes the arguing can get out of control when your partner starts fights for no reason at all. Everything could be going smoothly, then all of sudden something petty — like forgetting to take out the recycling — is the end of the world.

"Picking a fight typically starts with finding fault and going after something a person did or said and escalating it into a fight," intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily. "It's a learned behavior used as a gateway to address a past hurt or resentment, without coming out vulnerably to talk about the thing that really bothers you... Most picked fights are not about the actual subject of the fight; the subject is merely a facade that allows you to act out on the deeper 'meta' message that you feel frustrated, unappreciated, not important, slighted, or ignored without having to admit to feeling this way... It's a passive-aggressive way to express how you feel."


If your partner has been on a roll lately with picking fights for no reason or has always been someone who picks fights without any clear justification, here are a few reasons why they might be doing it.

They're desperate for attention

Even those who aren't attention mongers can, in some cases, start to feel needy and left out when they feel like their partner isn't making them a priority. If you're working long hours, going out with friends more than usual, or even spending a lot of alone time to clear your mind — all of which are things you're allowed to do, by the way, even if you are in a relationship — some partners can feel like you're not giving them the attention they deserve or need. 


"If a person is feeling lonely, unseen, or as if they're not a priority to their partner, they might pick a fight as a bid for connection," couples therapist Tracy Ross, LCSW, tells Well + Good. While picking a fight for attention may not be the healthiest way to go about making that connection, it certainly makes you notice your partner needs more from you and forces a conversation.

They might have some underlying issues with you

Because no person is perfect, nor is any relationship, your partner might be holding some resentment toward you, but they're just not able to express it. Maybe they're jealous of your professional success. Perhaps you snore too loudly so they can't sleep at night. Maybe you've started reminding them of an ex — it can really be anything at all that's been quietly driving them crazy, so they pick a fight to deal with it.


"That's the reason why it can seem that we 'overreact' to a certain situation," coach and psychotherapist Karin Peeters tells Stylist. "It's because under the surface, an avalanche of feelings was triggered. It's never truly about who's putting out the bins, it's about the feeling underneath whereby one person thinks 'I have to do everything alone' and the other is thinking, 'I am never good enough in your eyes.'" Calling out your partner on this behavior is definitely a must. Granted, there's no guarantee it will go in the direction you hope, but at least you'll draw attention to their pettiness. 

They're sabotaging a good thing

For some people, when things are going really well and there are zero issues on the horizon, extreme fear can kick in. It's as if they see the calm waters of their relationship as actually the calm before the storm, so they begin to panic. For these types of people who need to be in a boat that rocks back and forth, and is always ready to weather a storm, starting an argument out of the blue is, at least in their mind, a way to get in front of what they think is coming.


"Many people are uncomfortable when things are going well," clinical psychologist Abby Medcalf, Ph.D., tells Well + Good. "It makes them feel out of control and anxious, as if they're constantly 'waiting for the other shoe to drop.'"

In many ways, it's like beating the assumed impending drama and issues to the punch. It's a far from healthy way to broach things, but anxiety has a strong hold on people and their actions. 

They don't know how to properly communicate their needs

Our parents are the first people in our life to have an impact on who we are, as well as who we will become as adults. If your partner comes from a family where their version of communicating was to start arguments for no apparent reason, then you can expect your partner to follow suit. Unless they've gone to therapy and done the work to realize that this is an issue that stems from childhood, then you can't really expect this particular source of petty arguments to change.


"These are not conscious choices," licensed mental health counselor and certified EMDR therapist Christie Pearl tells PsychCentral. "These responses are our brain's capacity to adapt and survive a non-nurturing environment." It all comes back to the attachment theory and its effect on us and how we're able to communicate as adults. Not every child can be fortunate enough to have a secure attachment style growing up, so that's something to take into consideration when your partner starts a fight for no reason.

They're depressed

According to Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, one in 10 Americans suffers from depression, making it the most common mental illness in the United States. Whether people have struggled with clinical depression for the majority of their life or have just recently been diagnosed, one of the big symptoms is trying to control their emotions in a positive and healthy way, but that's not always possible. Someone with depression, especially severe depression, can act in ways that can be detrimental to not just themselves, but everyone around them — and starting fights for no reason is certainly a side effect of depression.


"People who are argumentative most likely are either very unhappy themselves and can't find other healthy ways to communicate this unhappiness, or have learned this behavior from their parents," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "If you are able to get on their level by asking questions and truly understanding where this combative nature comes from, together you two can work on building a different form of communication." There is also, of course, therapy if depression is the source of picking all these fights.

It's just who they are

In reasoning you probably don't want to read: your partner just might be one of those people who pick fights. According to a 2014 study by PsychTests, some people just simply have what's called The Petty Personality. No joke!


"People who are petty appear to pick meaningless fights without provocation or reason, but this is actually not true," president of PsychTests Dr. Ilona Jerabek tells Cision PRWeb. "There are multiple underlying causes for their tendency to lash out at others, and our research has highlighted some of them. [They] feel more than just anger or frustration... experience a lot of complicated, variable emotions, and don't know how to analyze and regulate them... are less comfortable with emotions in general, and most importantly, they are less self-aware. This results in an exaggerated response to minor issues... it seems out of the blue or petty to others, but in reality, they are reacting to something very real that is bothering them; they just don't realize what that really is."


While no one wants to spend the long-term with a partner who's the master of picking fights at any given moment, at least being aware of why this is happening, even if it is a personality trait, can help you understand your partner's behavior better. In doing so, you can ideally work together to manage all this fight-picking.