How to Resolve Conflicts in Relationships

Six rules that will help nullify quarrels

The conflict itself, even if it has already happened, does not necessarily lead to a breakup. However, the methods used by the couple to overcome it may well lead to an undesirable ending. “It’s very difficult to do without offense and get a useful experience out of the quarrel, no matter how long you’ve been together,” says a psychotherapist. “There is something to learn, and this knowledge will only benefit your connection.”

To prevent deadlocked conflicts and simplify work on mistakes for couples bogged down in regular quarrels, the expert offers six tips for getting rid of mutual tension.

1. DECLARE A BREAK TO REDUCE THE DEGREE OF QUARREL

If you are in the midst of a conflict, the best way to slow down its escalation is to disperse around the corners of the ring. Simply put, do not lead to a scream, but take a deep breath and take a timeout, agreeing to return to the topic when your nerves subside. With a break, you pursue a purely practical goal: you both need cortisol and other stress hormones to return to the previous level, and the mind to clear up for an objective presentation of information.

It is important that neither you nor he/she feel abandoned. When agreeing on a pause, remember that you are a team. Realize and accept the fact that no matter how outraged you are right now, you are both not perfect, and your partner will someday have a chance to experience dissatisfaction with you.

And before you take a timeout, find out what it means for each of you. Perhaps your partner is waiting for the phrase: “Let’s continue in 10 minutes, I need to get ventilated,” and you, disheveled and on a platoon, will disappear from home until the evening. Agree on the duration of the break if you do not want to add new colors to the conflict.

2. FIND OUT HIS/HER MOOD BEFORE RETURNING TO THE DIALOG

When emotions settle down and it’s time to resume the conversation, just ask your partner if everything is fine and how he/she feels. A positive response in a calm tone is a sure sign that the situation is stable enough to further discuss the conflict topic. If the partner reacts angrily or irritated, the prognosis is unfavorable – offer to return to the problem after some time.

3. EXPLAIN WHAT CAUSED YOUR DISSATISFACTION

If you initially talked like calm civilized people or returned to the conversation, calming down properly, explain the essence of your claim, avoiding accusations and labels. For example, using the wording: “I realized that… / I thought…” No need to say what he/she did wrong, describe how you saw it. “I realized that you were mad at me because I chatted too much with my girlfriends at the last party” or “…that we shouldn’t have a cat because you forgot to buy him food again, although you promised.”

By submitting information in this way, you express your point of view, rather than assessing the partner’s behavior, which may be erroneous or offensive. He/she, in turn, gets a chance to understand how you see the situation without feeling the need to defend yourself, because you recognize that this is your perception of what happened, but you do not claim to be exceptionally correct. This will cool down the degree of conflict, saving the partner from the need for a retaliatory attack, but at the same time will make it possible to realize how he/she upset you, regardless of intentions.

4. LISTEN TO YOUR PARTNER’S POINT OF VIEW

When you’re done speaking out not about what brought you out of balance, ask your partner what he/she thinks about it – gently, not demanding. In a relationship, it is important not only to be able to speak out, but also to understand that you are heard. This process should be bilateral: you speak, you are listened to – you are told, you listen. Communication of this kind allows you to realize how close you are and make sure of the ability to solve difficulties in the dialogue on which any relationship is built.

5. TAKE NOTE OF YOUR AND HIS/HER OPINION

Discuss the causes of the conflict with the desire to understand each other and use this experience. Often the behavior during a quarrel is based on the need to control its outcome – we shout, explain or defend ourselves, because we want the conflict to end on our terms. Or, on the contrary, we agree with a partner, even if he is obviously wrong, because we are afraid of losing him.

There is a big difference between a pleasing indulgence to a partner, manipulation to win, and a productive exit of conflict. Mutual understanding achieved in the process of open communication allows partners to get to know each other better, helps relationships to grow stronger and develop.

6. AVOID THE “UNEVEN CARPET SYNDROME”

The funny term lumpy carpet syndrome the expert explains as follows: “It is very important to learn to listen and discuss each other’s claims, otherwise you will develop the habit of pushing problems under the carpet to forget about both insignificant or end a quarrel as soon as possible.

Conflicts are an integral part of the relationship, but many couples believe that lovers should not have disagreements, and diligently hide them, depicting a harmonious couple. “Uneven carpet syndrome” is brewing due to the tension that accumulates along with unspoken differences of opinion. After a while, “noticeable under the carpet” omissions make the space of relations very bumpy, and you have to think about every step to avoid dissatisfaction with each other.

Managing conflicts in relationships seems inappropriate, as the attraction of a couple arises from feelings far from logic. But in order for the union to be strong and harmonious, you need to learn to interact in quarrels. This means listening to the unpleasant truth that he/she can express, trying to understand your role in the conflict and trying to express their thoughts objectively. It also implies an apology, if necessary, looking for ways to restore trust or change behavior. All these skills require courage, patience and practice, which is quite justified by counting on a long happy life together.