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How to Handle Conflicts in Relationships

Updated on September 1, 2017
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Having been involved in several long-term relationships, Chris has developed a firm insight into what works and what doesn't.

Storm Clouds Ahead

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Avoiding Major Arguments

1. Leave past issues alone.

2. Deal with one issue at a time.

3. Avoid saying things you will regret.

4. Never resort to physical aggression.

5. Take a timeout before discussing the issue.

6. Do not make it a competition.

7. Listen to what your partner has to say.

8. Do not avoid the issue.

Conflict is Normal

No two people are exactly the same and in the course of daily life there will be times when disagreements arise. It is a perfectly normal thing among friends, co-workers and especially so with couples. Most of these conflicts are quite minor in nature, however, if not handled properly, can evolve into a major issue.

Many of the issues that tear relationships apart began as minor problems that grew over time because they were not properly addressed to begin with.

Problems In Relationships Can Be Overcome

The most important thing to remember is that almost any problem in your relationship can be overcome if the relationship is built on trust, love and mutual respect. The secret is to remain calm and level headed. Below I have provided some helpful ideas to help you keep your minor disagreements from becoming major problems and destroying your relationship.

Do Not Bring Up Past Issues

Once an issue has been resolved, do not reopen it later on down the road. If the issue about leaving the dirty clothes in a pile on the floor was solved, it should not be brought up again (unless, of course, the clothes still end up on the floor). Too many couples find themselves argueing over past incidents. Instead, concentrate on the issues currently facing you.

Conflict Resolution

Do you have problems resolving conflict in your relationship?

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Do Not Bring Other Issues Into the Conflict

This may seem to be simple advice to follow, but all too often people end up throwing everything that has ever upset them into the mix. It begins as a minor issue over the dishes not being done, then someone counters with the bed not being made. Simplistic issues, to say the least, but you get the idea. Each side begins throwing more into the fire and before long, nobody remembers what the argument was about to begin with.

Avoid saying things you will later regret

This sounds like a no brainer, but sometimes we say things that we don't mean while in the heat of the moment. Doing so solves nothing, but will often open new conflicts within the relationship. Words can really hurt and show lack of self control and respect for your partner.

Don't Stay in an Abusive Relationship

If you are being abused in your relationship, whether physically, verbally, or emotionally, you should get out of the situation. It is not healthy and a person who loves you will never try to hurt you. Abuse rarely gets better with the passage of time. It almost always grows worse with the passage of time. You deserve better. Seek the help of family, friends, clergy, or law enforcement, but get help somewhere.

Never Resort to Using Physical Aggression

I debated whether or not to include this one because it is so obvious. Domestic violence happens all to often and it never solves anything. The conflict will still exist, but now fear is introduced into the relationship and a healthy, happy relationship will never exist as long as fear is present.

Take a Timeout Before Discussing the Issue

The best time to talk about a problem is when both parties are calm and level headed. You are unlikely to find a mutual solution if you are boiling over with anger. A calm conversation will go a long way towards finding a compromise that works for both partners.

Conflict Resolution

Do Not Make it a Competition

The important thing is to find a solution that works for both partners. It doesn't matter who "wins" the argument, there is nothing wrong admitting when you are wrong. Too many times, people feel that if they admit to their mistakes, or compromise in a disagreement then they are showing weakness. They refuse to give an inch and the small issue grows into a bigger conflict.

Listen to What Your Partner Has to Say

This is very important in a relationship. Seldom does all the blame lie on the shoulders of one person. A relationship is a partnership and nobody is perfect. Show your partner some respect by listening to their side of the argument. You just may find that you both have made mistakes and will easily be able to correct them.

Do Not Avoid the Issue

If an issue does arise, deal with it as soon as possible. Trying to deny the issue exists will not make it go away. Instead, it will usually have the opposite affect, allowing the situation to grow into a much bigger issue that will ultimately be more difficult to solve.

In Conclusion

The majority of disagreements that you encounter in your relationship are relatively minor issues. By staying calm and discussing them openly and honestly with your partner, you will find that most situations are easily solved. Always remember that you love each other and that you are both working towards the same goal, mutual happiness.

© 2014 Christopher J Wood

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