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What’s the Best Way to Resolve Conflict in Relationships?

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As I’ve said before, relationships are difficult.  Romantic relationships come with a whole host of difficulties – some seem insurmountable at times.  But when it comes to conflicts, I’m here to give you some advice.  Some conflicts are major, or at least fundamentally they appear that way. Each person in the relationship has to be willing to listen to the other person, otherwise, you won’t ever find any resolution.  What does that mean even?  Well, to start, you should ask yourself why are you fighting right now?  And consider whether or not this particular argument comes up repeatedly.

If the answer to why you’re fighting is that your boss was hard on you today, and you’re just taking it out on your partner, own up to that.  While displaced anger is never ok, it’s better to admit that you’re wrong, than to let the resentment fester.  Especially if there is actually no reason to be angry with your partner.  If this isn’t a one-time argument that comes up all the time, ask yourself why.  Make sure that you think about your part in the argument and not just your partners.  Don’t blame them for something.  Really truly think about what part you played in the argument and then consider how you can make it right.  I don’t necessarily mean through apology, but what should you do next time to either not have the argument in the first place, or to put it out before it starts?

Therapists often say that it’s ok to make mistakes, but when you make a mistake its very important that you reflect on the mistake and find the lesson in it.  If you don’t learn anything from the experience, there’s a chance that you’re not going to be able to evolve, and you will keep repeating these mistakes over and over again. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing as, over time, it will help you understand any past issues that you might be dealing with and give you the opportunity to work them out.  But in the meantime, you might be putting yourself through hard times, without even realizing it.

Consider your partner’s feelings when there is conflict.  How are they feeling?  If you both use “I feel” statements, you’re more likely to come to a resolution.  If your partner doesn’t know or understand your side of the conflict, it will be harder to find that resolution. Be sensitive and understanding to your partner.  Let them know that they’re loved and valued.  Often, conflict arises when one partner feels like they’re not getting any attention or they’re being neglected in some way.  It doesn’t have to be grand gestures, but communicating with your partner that they are loved and valued to you will go a long way in resolving the conflict.

Last, but certainly not least – just be honest with your partner and openly communicate.  If the conflict is bigger than “who will take out the trash”, you might also consider counseling to help find a resolution.  Counseling can be scary and intimidating, but if it means you remaining a couple, then I think it’s worth considering.  Trust me, resolving conflict is easier said than done.  If you have an understanding and supportive partner (or if you are one), then this will be easier than you think.  And it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

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