Rehashing The Same Issues With Your Partner? You Might Be Missing The Real Problem

If you've been in a long-term relationship, chances are you've noticed a pattern within arguments: they're often about the same issue. It's likely a bit reassuring to hear this is completely common, but having the insight to address the real problem and communicate consciously and effectively is a much more desired reality. It's natural to assume that the same old fight is actually about something deeper — and that is essentially what's going on here (via Psychology Today).


If you end up running through an argument over and over about how the dishwasher should be loaded, you may actually be arguing about your differences and how you show up in conflict with one another. "The best way to move past fighting about the same things is to address the process and not the content," associate psychotherapist Lucas D. Saiter, M.A., MHC-LP, told Bustle. If this is sounding familiar, here's more on how to address the real problem with ease and move forward.

Address underlying issues

If both parties in the relationship can reach an understanding that the repeated argument isn't actually the true issue but actually an underlying sense of imbalance when it comes to trust, space, or respect in the union, then you should be able to cover some ground, according to The Guardian. This could require some guidance from a professional therapist, but shining a light on what's stirring beneath the surface can be helpful.


It's possible that your partner has no clue that when you're frustrated about how the dishwasher is loaded, you're actually feeling as though your needs and requests aren't essential — and this could occur in multiple situations throughout the day. This unraveling of the deeper issues can be quite illuminating, and it's also possible that you might not even be consciously aware of the real reason a minor annoyance feels so much bigger than it is.

Practice conscious communication

We've all heard that healthy communication is key to a thriving relationship, and a willingness to listen is also part of that equation. Talking to rather than at your partner is necessary for the emotions and requests to flow smoothly through the conversation, as per Psychology Today. Taking note of emotional overload in your partner — when they won't be able to process any further information or are in too much of a defensive mode to be receptive — is integral in making progress also.


If you're finding this piece of resolving an old issue tricky or even seemingly futile, you certainly aren't alone. Conscious communication is easier said than done. However, there are a few methods to try if simply stating your side and listening as intently as you can to your partner just isn't cutting it. For one, scheduling designated time to address an ongoing issue, ideally when you're both fresh and not feeling bogged down, can bring a new perspective to the argument, as can using simple, healthy phrases to communicate

Switch roles in the debate

Another exercise in healing and resolving an ongoing issue is to approach the argument as though you're in debate club and eventually dispute each other's side (via The Guardian). This can be quite effective if both parties take it seriously and genuinely attempt to argue a perspective that isn't their own. The results are typically successful as both partners will hear the other address what they've been feeling and put themselves in one another's shoes. Plan to practice the exercise for about ten minutes or so, and use your best debating skills to argue your partner's side of the conflict.


Sometimes a little validation goes a long way, and you, too, may find new compassion for your partner when considering their standpoint in a way you hadn't before. The idea with this practice is that when the recurring issue next arises, you'll have a new perspective on the problem and see a new avenue to resolve the issue and finally release it.

Choose to place your focus elsewhere

If you aren't finding success with these tools when it comes to rehashing the same issue with your partner, there is another method to try, and it simply involves you and your mind. We all know we ultimately can't control those around us, nor does it feel very good attempting to do so. We do, however, have a certain amount of control over our thoughts and emotions regarding a given situation, and sometimes choosing to rearrange your perspective in a way that feels better to you is the quickest way to, well, feel better and get on with the things you actually do want to focus on, shares The Guardian.


So, if your partner simply isn't interested in loading the dishwasher your way and you've come to see that your energy would be better spent elsewhere, that is the step to take. This practice requires no cooperation from anyone else and is an internal process between you and you, which can actually feel pretty empowering. Once you've decided to no longer be bothered by something, you may discover that your changed attitude inspired change in your partner or that the issue has simply removed itself from your awareness.