A relationship without conflict – I’ll be honest right away: I don’t think it’s possible to have a romantic relationship without conflict.
In fact, I don’t even think it’s realistic to hope to have a relationship like this. Why?
Quite simply because a romantic relationship is an emotional bond that unites two very different people.
Each partner has their own personality, their own desires, and their own dreams. Indeed, the two partners who form a couple had a different childhood, a special education, and a unique life experience.
So it is quite normal that there are conflicts within the couple. After all, it is not always easy to bring together two different points of view or two distinct characters.
How do learn to manage conflicts within a romantic relationship?
Arguing with your partner or having disagreements does not mean that your relationship is in danger. It doesn’t mean you weren’t meant for each other, either.
Simply, when there are conflicts, it means that the couple has to grow and mature. In itself, conflict is not bad (or good) and neither is anger.
Besides, conflict is a necessary part of any relationship and can allow a relationship to emerge from a state of stagnation. It is healthy when it helps people see their own strengths and weaknesses and all couples experience conflict at one point or another.
That’s why I don’t believe there is a relationship without the fuss. Honestly, if you don’t mind, do you really care about each other?
But conflict is unhealthy when it comes to the prevailing state, defining the relationship with chaotic, loud, and tense energy. A basis of peace is necessary for any relationship to flourish and last.
So instead of chasing the illusion of a carefree relationship, learn to manage your conflicts instead with the following 5 tips.
1. Don’t show contempt for your partner.
Of all the negative things you can do and say during the conflict, the worst can be contempt. Contemptuous remarks are those that belittle your partner.
It can be sarcasm and insults. It can also include non-verbal behaviors, such as rolling your eyes or smiling. This type of behavior is extremely disrespectful and implies that you are disgusted by your partner.
Besides, contempt makes any real discussion impossible and risks angering your partner rather than an attempt to solve the problem.
2. Take a different point of view.
In addition to listening to your partner, you need to accept their point of view and try to understand where they are coming from. Those who can take their partner’s point of view are less likely to get angry during a discussion of conflict.
Research has shown that taking a more objective point of view can also help. Indeed, the easiest way to come closer to the idea of a relationship without the fuss is to accept the fact that your point of view is not the only one valid.
Sometimes it happens we try to avoid what happened yesterday, and again try to make everything normal as always, so you can take initiative like in morning you can hug him or her and say Good morning or start your day with coffee together.
3. Don’t automatically object to your partner’s complaints.
When you are criticized, it’s hard not to be defensive. But defense doesn’t solve problems. Imagine a couple arguing because the wife wants her husband to do more housework.
When she suggests that he do a quick cleanup after he’s prepared to leave in the morning, he says, “Yes, that would help but I really don’t have time in the morning”.
This “yes but” behavior suggests that his ideas and opinions are not valid. Another destructive and defensive behavior is cross-complaining when you respond to your partner’s complaint with one of your own. For example, responding to “You don’t clean the house enough” with “You are a neat freak”.
4. Learn to take a break when it becomes necessary.
If you see yourself falling into negative patterns and you or your partner aren’t following the tips above, consider taking time out from your argument. Even a short break for a few deep breaths can be enough to calm hot spirits.
Indeed, sometimes a no brainer relationship is simply a relationship where both partners are able to tell when the conflict has gone too far.
Thus, to manage conflicts well, it is essential to take a step back and control your anger. Expressing your grievances can be productive for your relationship, but conflicts need to be skillfully managed or you risk making them worse.
5. Not all conflicts are worth fighting, so choose your battles!
If you want to have a constructive discussion, you have to stick to one question at a time. Unhappy couples are likely to result in several topics in a single discussion.
Imagine you wanted to think about how to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. You probably wouldn’t decide that this would also be a good time to think about how to save more for retirement.
You would try to solve these problems one by one. It seems obvious, but in the heat of the moment, an argument over one topic can turn into a grievance session, with both partners exchanging grievances. The more complaints you make, the less likely they are to be discussed and resolved.
6. Talk about how you are feeling without blaming your partner.
Statements that directly attack your partner’s character can be especially damaging to a relationship. If a man frustrated by his girlfriend’s jealousy, for example, tells her “You’re totally irrational,” he invites her to get on the defensive, which can end any further conversation.
A more constructive strategy is to use “ego statements” and combine them with “behavior descriptions”. Self-statements focus on how you feel, without blaming your partner, and behavior descriptions focus on specific behavior by your partner, rather than a character flaw.
For example, this man might say: “I get irritated when you pretend that I am flirting with someone in an innocent conversation”. These tactics are straightforward but don’t question your partner’s character.
7. Be direct and honest.
Sometimes people don’t just say clearly what is bothering them but choose more indirect ways of expressing their dissatisfaction.
One partner may talk to the other in a condescending manner that involves an underlying hostility. Partners can also simply avoid discussing an issue by quickly changing the subject when the issue arises or by being evasive.
These indirect ways of expressing anger are not constructive because they do not give the person who is the target of the behaviors a clear idea of how they should react.