SOMETIMES, MY BOYFRIEND and I fight. Usually, our fights aren’t earth-shattering spats that escalate to the point of a breakup or some malicious deed. We argue about the same things any newly shacked-up couple fights about: laundrymoney, or leaving the toilet seat up.

However, when we do argue about one of the above, anything else that may have been brewing under the surface comes to a head and it turns into war. These type of fights always end the same way; someone says something offensive (name calling perhaps?), the other throws an explicative and goes off to stew alone.

Are we dysfunctional when a little bit of nothing turns into a big something? I asked Ian Kerner, Ph.D., sex therapist and relationship counselor and author, whether we should put down our fighting gloves and just call it a truce before it turns ugly. Or is it better to stay stubborn throughout the night and patch things up the following day?She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman

“Strong emotions can hijack our brains and cause us to respond in unproductive ways,” says Kerner. For example; when my boyfriend questions why I’m two hours late for dinner, I get defensive. Then he gets defensive that I’ve gotten defensive about something I should have done (like calling to tell him I was stuck at the office and to eat without me). Then we argue about my tardiness as if it’s the end of the world.

Kerner goes on to say that lashing out and blowing up, or avoiding and holding grudges won’t help you come to a solution about what you’re really fighting about.

I tell Dr. Kerner that whenever I try to muster up the courage to call it a truce and end all the yelling, I’m too stubborn and can’t bring myself to apologize. After all, he was partly wrong for making me feel guilty for having to stay at the office late.