Tips for Conflict Resolution in an Intimate Relationship
It’s normal to have conflict in relationships. People are different, and their desires and needs will inevitably clash. Resolving disagreements in a healthy way creates understanding and brings couples closer together.
The objective should be the betterment of the relationship. This is a positive conflict. Below are 16 suggested ways to resolve conflict with your partner.
Arguments aren’t necessarily a bad sign. It means differences are surfacing, but in some relationships, differences aren’t acknowledged, because either one partner dominates a subservient one, or because both individuals are merged and don’t really know themselves or are sacrificing who they are to please one another. At the other extreme are high-conflict couples, where differences escalate into power struggles and communication becomes aggressive.
Self-esteem is essential to assertiveness and healthy communication, which lay the foundation for avoiding fights and handling conflict. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm, especially among co-dependent couples. Not having had good role models for expressing anger and handling conflict, one or both partners is usually passive or aggressive. When it comes to disagreements, low self-esteem leads to:
In positive conflict, ideally, you’re able to verbalize your needs and wants and mutually work out compromises. Your intent and how you approach differences are critical. The objective should be to resolve a dispute to the satisfaction of both of you. It’s not about winning and losing. You can “win” an argument, but the relationship may suffer if your partner feels discounted, deflated, or resentful.
Planning when, where, and how you approach a disagreement is important for achieving satisfactory results. It’s helpful make up rules of engagement in advance. Here are suggested Do’s and Don’t’s.
You won’t be able to achieve all of them or any all the time, but they’re guidelines to strive for:
Effective problem-solving takes time and practice. It first requires learning assertiveness.
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