Is it a couple’s fight ?

How to differentiate the dispute between the couple and domestic violence ?

We’ve all experienced conflict at one time or another in our romantic relationship. However, there is a difference between a couple fight and a domestic violence situation.


When we experience a conflict, tension sets in and we don’t always know what meaning to give to what is happening.

Is it a dispute, a conflict, a violence episode ?

Rarely we going to dare think of domestic violence, out of ignorance, doubt, fear of calling our relationship into question.

So here are the four criteria that can help you tell the difference between the two :

Domestic violence

In an episode of violence, the aggressor wants to gain power over the other. What is at stake is the desire to control the other and not the subject of the dispute.

In an episode of violence, the victim does not feel free to say what she think and to react, fearing the consequences. She will tend to submit in order to calm the tension, to avoid the worst or because she simply has no choice.

In an episode of violence, the attacks are intentional, strategic and used to gain power over the other. Agression can manifest itself in different ways : verbal, economic, psychological, sexual and physical. Power over the other can be expressed in different ways : isolating, monitoring the comings and goings, denigrating the members of the entourage and even forbidding her to see them.

The aggressor does not want to be caught at fault, so as not risk to suffer punishment or lose power over his victim. He doesn’t explain himself, he justifies himself. He uses various strategies : he denies, he minimizes his actions of control and violence, says that he was provoked, he invokes self-defense, invokes some circonstances (alcohol, stress, difficult childhood).

 Couple’s fight

In a dispute, it is usually both members of the couple that argue and want their point of view to win. What is at stake if the subject of the dispute.

In a dispute, both members of the couple are on an equal footing, neither fearing the other. Both feel free to say what they want and to react. Both want their opinion to win, but not at the cost of destroying the other.


In a dispute, there is above all argument concerning the subject of the dispute, and can be powered by anger and conviction. It can be aggressiveness that releases inner tension created by anger or frustration. Aggressissveness can manifest itself in the following ways :

Verbally : argue, scream, speak loud, express their anger, be impolite to the other, sulk.

Physically : make an impulsive move like slamming a door or banging a fist on the table.

The person who triggers the dispute has nothing to hide, nor any power to preserve. They argue and explain their gesture on the basis of the dispute with relative transparency. they can more easily let go and even apologize if they recognize that they have crossed a line.

In brief

In a couple’s fight

Both members of the couple remain equal before, during and after a dispute. Both people can be at the origin of the conflict.

In a relation of domestic violence

The relationship remains unequal before, during and after. It is the same person who initiates the conflict and who wins.

If you think you live more than a couple’s fight or you have doubts, call us :

La Méridienne

819 877.3050   |   Free of charge : 1 888 699.3050

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