January 26, 2023

Relationship Conflict Check: “Normal” vs Severe

I'm Ash montgomery
Counsellor & Therapy Dog Handler
feeling at home with golden thread?
Start your therapy journey now by booking in for your first session.
Home » Blog » Relationship Conflict Check: “Normal” vs Severe

So, we hear it all the time:

Relationship conflict is normal and can be considered healthy if resolved in a constructive way. As a counsellor, many people ask me questions like “Is fighting this much normal? How do I know when it’s too far past the line or when to make changes?”

There are some points when relationship conflict is downright toxic and abusive. Although we aren’t going to focus on the severe end of the scale today, it is worth doing a quick check to see if your relationship conflict is causing you a concerning amount of distress and preventing you from feeling happy and fulfilled.

Here are five relationship conflict indicators to look out for:

  1. Frequency of conflicts: Finding yourself constantly arguing with your partner. Often having conflicts impact your energy, work, other social relationships, commitments, mental health. Cycling through the same issues in conflicts with no change.
  2. Intensity of conflicts: Noticing an increase in intensity, such as raised voices, hurtful language, and silent treatments. (Note: These are distinctly different from taking time to regulate/cool off. That’s healthy!)
  3. Lack of resolution: You and your partner are unable to resolve conflicts. It’s hard (or sometimes impossible) to move on from arguments. Mutual listening is out the window, and right or wrong takes precedence.
  4. Emotional wellbeing impact: Your relationship conflicts are causing you significant emotional distress. This can feel like sadness, anxiety, depression, disconnection from other people, and lack of interest in things you usually enjoy.
  5. Overall life impact: The negative emotional impacts bleed out into other areas of your life, such as work performance, friendships, and exploring goals or hobbies. (Click here to read more about burnout, which can occur as a result of relationship conflict.)

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, remember that you’re a human having a very human experience. Many other people often feel the same way, and there is help available. Seek counselling for help with greater understanding of yourself and your partner, underlying relationship issues that keep coming up, and useful strategies for coping and positive change.

This can look like relationship counselling and/or individual counselling. Individual counselling can provide you with a judgment-free safe space to vent and process – completely free from the opinions of close friends or family. Helping individuals experiencing relationship conflict is our jam. Book an individual appointment at our online calendar if you’d like to start getting support ASAP.

Reminder: It’s important to remember that every relationship is as unique as the humans within it. ‘Normal’ is an incredibly subjective term. The most important part of this is about if your relationship is safe, communicative, and mutually respectful.

If you’re concerned about the presence of relationship violence or abuse, call 000 for emergency help and find resources here with the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service.


In summary, although relationship conflict is relatively normal, it becomes concerning when it’s happening:

  • frequently
  • with intensity
  • without any resolution,
  • and with a negative impact on your emotional wellbeing and overall life.

If you are experiencing any of these signs, consider:

  • seeking individual counselling for a safe space to vent and learn positive strategies
  • seeking relationship counselling for space to talk things through with your partner in a focused way and learn mutual strategies
  • as a core focus, continue to tend to your own wellbeing as a priority.

Click here to access The Hart Centre to see a directory of relationship counsellors.

Click here to access our online booking calendar to book individual therapy.

Ask a counsellor: do i have burnout?

Five symptoms to look out for and five things you can do to start feeling better right away.

Here's some stuff they should've taught us at school.

stay tuned for
local resources and Diy mental health tips

  • access local resources
  • make small, easy-ish adjustments in your day-to-day life
  • consider what support you need and who can help
  • get tips on being a DIY therapist (because it's pretty hard to get your actual therapist on call.)

Find out how to:

learn more

about us

follow along


get started

book online