Sex + Dating

The 32 Most Common Relationship Fights, by Age Group

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Whether you’ve been married for 30 years or are just discovering “that feeling” out on the playground (in which case, you should probably leave little Johnny's mom alone), love and relationships eventually ensnare us all. But with that chemistry, attraction, and closeness comes the realization that the person on the other side of your seesaw is just that... another person -- with their own wants, needs, opinions, and (possibly) spouses that often ensure two definitely do NOT become one (no matter how many canned hams you send them on Valentine's Day).

And since almost every relationship takes a detour now and again, we thought it'd be fun to find out what exactly sent couples careening off the highway of love. Turns out, it's usually one of these 32 most common relationship fights, sorted by age group.

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Elementary school years

Playground real estate
Before the age of 15, you’re pretty selfish in relationships. Why would you give up the best swing/seat in the sandbox to your boo, when you could easily keep it for yourself and have waaaaay more fun? Luckily, you usually work it out over snack time when you trade Oreos for Gushers. If only this is how it still could be.
 
“I gave it to you to borrow...”
“Yeah... that NERF gun wasn’t for keeps. I’m actually going to need that back.”
 
Your feelings
If he pushes you, pulls your hair, or physically harms you in any way, it just means he likes you!!! Disclaimer: this argument STOPS being true at age 9.

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Teenage years

Friday night
You REALLY want to go to the house party at Braverman’s, but your significant other wants to stay in with Netflix for some over-the-Snuggie action. It’s a slippery slope from this to the, “you spend too much time with your friends” fight.
 
Homecoming
Why WOULDN’T you want to go?!
 
Talking to literally any other member of the opposite sex
In high school relationships, your significant other is the only member of their gender. Period.
 
College
The plan was simple. You’d both go to the same college, move in together, get married, and live happily ever after... except for the super-secret plan B you didn’t discuss in case you got into Yale, which you did. And now it’s awkward.

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20s

Date night
Happy hour with two-for-one beers? Or something with candles? This quickly leads to the “We aren’t bros” conversation.
 
Exes
In the years since you were 16, you have acknowledged that maybe your significant other does talk to people of the opposite gender. Perhaps they even SLEPT with a few (dozen) of them before you. Still, you’d really, really prefer it if they never saw them. Or mentioned them. Ever.
 
Need for attention
You haven’t spoken, texted, or “liked” anything on each other’s Facebook and/or Instagram in the last 24 hours. Clearly they’re over it.
 
Moving in together
It seems like the plan is moving along nicely until one of you realizes that you’re just, like, not really done doing "you," you know? You, like, really don’t want to rush into anything and aren’t things working out just fine the way they are?
 
Bachelor/Bachelorette parties
So... like... how many strippers are we talking?
 
“I don’t want to go to your friend’s wedding”
Bravo to you for your honesty. And now you will not be having sex for the rest of the month.
 
Marriage
We’re not even 30!!!
 
Money
You need it for things like moving in together, your wedding, and all the weddings you will be attending together. Unfortunately, you don’t have it.

30s

Still money
Now you have it. Or at least more than you did in your 20s. What are we going to do with it? Kudos on your new iPad, but I was kind of hoping we'd go to Mexico.
 
Which neighborhood to move to
You’ve done the whole studio share thing, but now that you’re in your 30s, it’s time to move to an apartment with actual walls and things like privacy. You really want to move Downtown where all the bars, restaurants, and humans live. Your significant other, however, feels your money would best be spent on the up-and-coming neighborhood where apartments are cheap and the social scene is totally going to happen in, like, the next five to eight years.
 
Snoring
Maybe you never noticed it in your 20s because you both "fell asleep" after all the happy hours, but it has become audibly apparent that you will not sleep through the night for the rest of your life.
 
Someone had a few too many
And so begin the gentle, subtle reminders that you are no longer in your 20s.
 
Holidays
The ultimate sacrifice: giving up your own holiday traditions so your significant other can have theirs, and dealing with all the parental guilt that comes with this. It’s a delicate balance between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Easter, and Flag Day. Or you could just end up with someone from a different denomination and save yourself this mess.
 
Domestic things
Are you doing the dishes? Or do you have laundry detail? Who gets garbage duty and who gets vacuuming? Choose wisely, because the choices you make will follow you for the rest. Of. Your. Life.
 
Kids
Are we really going to do this?

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40s

Still kids
So... we did it. Now what do we do with them? And why do they need a dentist AND an orthodontist? Is college REALLY necessary?
 
Work
Someone is either working too much or not working enough. And the other will remind them of it constantly.
 
Social obligations

So... how long do we REALLY need to stay at this party? How long is this play? All the questions surrounding social obligations are ultimately asked to determine how much time will elapse before you can be back home on the couch in your underwear talking to absolutely no one.
 
Sex
This used to be something you had. Now it’s something you Google.
 
Kids... again
Should we have some more?

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50s

Vacations
Now that the kids are in college, you finally have the time to reconnect and get to know each other, say on a Caribbean beach. Yay!! Unfortunately, your spouse believes that money would best be spent paying off that tuition to Yale.

“You sound like your mother...”
HOW DARE YOU!
 
“... wait, what’s wrong with my mother?”
Busted.
 
Domestic things
Remember those chores you laid out 20 years ago? Lately, that laundry has been piling up, the dishes have something crusty growing on them, and there’s never any toilet paper. Yelling seems like the most effective way to deliver the message.  
 
The toilet seat
It’s not clear why this is SUCH a big deal. It takes zero effort for either party to put it back up or down. Still, this is one of the most hot-button issues among married couples. Especially ones who don’t go on vacation.

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60s

When to retire
You’re ready to travel the world together in your golden years, or to sit on the front porch and wait for the mail. Your spouse, however, isn’t quite ready to give up the steady paycheck or the eight hours away from you.
 
To sell or not to sell?
There’s no reason why you need a house in the suburbs with four bedrooms. The kids haven’t been home since Thanksgiving. You could buy a small condo and use the money for literally anything else. Still... what about the memories?
 
Where to buy the bagels from
You KNOW your spouse bought the cheap bagels for breakfast, rather than drive to the other end of town where the good bagel store is. You can taste the difference. Do they think you’re stupid?
 
Who's getting what in the will
You don’t even like your youngest kid.
 
Money... AGAIN
There just will never be enough. Ever.
 
Meagan Drillinger is a freelance writer for Thrillist and this entire list bummed her out. Hard. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @drillinjourneys.