Have my partner and I given up on our relationship?

We don’t argue as much as much as we used to.

Every relationship is different. Only you can decide what it means for you, and only your partner can know what it means to him or her. I recently came across some interesting research, however, that may reassure you that less arguing isn’t necessarily a sign of trouble. 

Long-married couples have much to look forward to, even if the early and middling years were rough.

Researchers watched and coded the interactions of two groups of couples every four years for 13 years. One group was composed of couples who were 40 to 50 years old and had been married at least 15 years. The second group included couples who were 60 to 70 years old and had been married at least 35 years. 

The research found that negative emotional behaviors such as belligerence, defensiveness, fear/tension, and whining decreased with age. Meanwhile, positive emotional behavior, like humor, enthusiasm, and validation, increased with age. This happened with both the younger and older group of couples, showing that long-term married couples have much to look forward to, even if the early and middling years were rough.

Maybe you could share the findings of the research with your partner as a way of opening a conversation about why you each think you’ve been arguing less often. You might be surprised (in a good way) by what you learn!