Every human relationship involves conflicts because of the difference in our perspectives and the variance in our attitudes. Romantically, couples argue due to the condescending behavior of their partner or their tendency to pout and nag.
But we can all agree that those are normal between couples. Yet we cannot also neglect the fact that when a conflict is left unaddressed, it could escalate and may lead to breakups.
The question now is how can we solve conflicts in a relationship. There are surely tons of solutions out there but the following are the practical ones you may consider.
Top 3 Examples of Conflict in Relationships
The conflict between two or more people in a relationship is inevitable and can be healthy or
unhealthy depending on how it’s handled. Understanding what are examples of conflict
in relationships can help you spot potential problems before they become
unmanageable and spiral out of control. Here are the top 5 examples to look out for.
1. Passive Aggressive Behaviour.
Passive aggressive behavior involves displaying dissatisfaction or frustration in a
subtle, indirect way.
For example, someone might not tell you clearly that they’re upset with you instead they might show their anger by avoiding conversation with you, ignoring your calls, deleting emails, and avoiding being around you.
This type of passive aggression can often be hurtful as the other person is unable to address the issue
directly. It’s important to learn how to effectively handle them so as not to worsen the situation.
2. Displays of Anger, Blaming, and Criticism.
Displays of anger, blaming, and criticism are all unhealthy forms of conflict. In these cases, one or both parties become so frustrated that they resort to name-calling, fault-finding, and general belittling behavior.
This type of behavior will only lead to greater animosity and resentment.
It’s important to recognize such an event when it occurs and work together as a team to avoid falling into this trap by expressing your hurt feelings calmly and honestly while encouraging the other person to do the same.
3. Control and Power Struggles.
Control and power struggles often emerge when two people involved in a relationship
have different opinions or expectations. In such situations, one or both individuals will
try to manipulate the other person into agreeing with them by using emotional
This is a dangerous path, as it leads to unproductive and often abusive
behaviour, such as forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do or trying to
control every aspect of another person’s life.
It’s important for both parties in any
relationship to come up with healthy compromises instead of attempting to exercise
total control over the other person.
How to handle conflicts in a relationship?
Conflict in a relationship is inevitable, and how you work through it can either bring you closer together or break your bond apart. If you’re looking for ways to ensure your conflicts are constructive rather than destructive, these seven effective strategies can help you resolve issues and create lasting harmony in the relationship.
1. Take a step back when you’re enraged
Human nature dictates that we act on our impulses. It is the impulse to fight back and vindicate ourselves. We succumb to the power of our anger. But the goal here is to solve conflicts in a relationship and not to worsen them by acting on our negative, powerful emotions.
So, remember to take a step back when you’re angry. There is this saying that goes this way – “do not fight fire with fire because it fuels it more and explodes; fight it with water. That way, it will douse the fire.” The same principle applies in attacking a conflict.
Take a step back. Breathe. And when you’re ready, you can go back in and face the music.
2. Exercise patience
Patience, as we all know, is hard to practice especially if you’re not accustomed to it. But to solve conflicts in a relationship, patience is a vital human virtue to develop.
During an intense argument, you could lose your cool and blow up like a timebomb. If your partner is pulling an emotional outburst, you have the urge to yell back. You mirror what your partner is currently feeling. But that is a trap.
Be more tolerant and seek understanding. As much as you want to fight back, that’s not a solution. Learn to rein in your temper.
3. Practice acceptance
Conflicts in a relationship, as previously mentioned, arose from differences in attitudes as well as backgrounds. This kind of situation often calls for acceptance.
Meaning, you have to be more comfortable with the fact that your partner hails from a different background. You don’t share the same views most of the time. You occasionally clash. She may be used to acting on her anger.
It may come across as difficult but with this knowledge, you can eventually accept your partner’s peculiarities.
4. Listen to your partner
Active listening is crucial in solving conflicts in a relationship and even in any kind of human endeavor. When your partner is venting, listen to him. Try to understand where he is coming from.
If you feel the urge to interrupt, contain yourself first. Allow each other to express how you both feel before giving your piece of mind. Nod your head to encourage the other to let his thoughts out.
By actively and patiently listening to your partner, you will understand why she said what she said and did what she did.
5. Learn to compromise
Solving a conflict requires compromising. One of you has to give in and sacrifice and vice versa. You cannot have all the glory without struggle. You cannot also put all the blame on your partner.
But compromising must be mutual. You and your partner must observe the same. This is something each of you has to learn. In reality, there’s always this one person who always gives in. And we know that that doesn’t end well.
For a conflict in a relationship to be resolved, both must learn how to compromise.
6. Work on forgiveness
Forgiveness is a touchy subject. There are misdeeds in a relationship that are hard to forgive and move from. Forgiveness is also relative. It varies from relationship to relationship.
This is why you have to consider everything. In general, however, every conflict is resolved by forgiving our partners of their shortcomings and outburst.
Forgiving your partner can also prevent you from harboring grudges against him. It helps in healing emotional wounds; hence, promoting a healthier relationship.
7. Always aim to have a healthy communication
As earlier mentioned, active listening is crucial to solving conflicts in a relationship. This is a requirement to have healthy communication. Healthy communication is one where both parties are free to express their feelings but with the intention of understanding each other.
This is achieved by staying focused and conscious of your partner’s expressions. Focus on the moment and don’t try to foretell what they’re about to say. Give them sufficient time to talk.
8. Discuss it before going to bed
This is advice you may often hear from others but it is worth repeating. If you can, you have to settle your differences before hitting the hay. Because the more you delay something, the worse it can get.
While it is true that some conflicts cannot be immediately solved, make an attempt to settle them before switching off the lights to sleep.
It takes courage indeed to ask your partner to discuss a matter after arguing. But it only shows that you’re willing and ready to go to the bottom of it.
9. Work on putting yourself in your partner’s shoes
Some of us find ourselves in a situation where we close our minds to others. We are not willing to listen perhaps because we’re offended and hurt. We become narrow-minded. While that is a valid reaction, it does not do you any good in the long run.
To solve conflicts in a relationship, you have to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. It is difficult, that is for sure. But how can you properly respond if you are unaware of where she is coming from?
Seek to listen, understand, and sympathize.
10. Be the bigger person
No persons are alike and so, one partner could be the mature one and the other not. Both of you are learning to navigate the relationship you both established. Therefore, someone has to act as the bigger person to solve a conflict in your relationship.
Being the bigger person means doing the right thing. You keep calm even under pressure because of your partner’s anger. If she is ranting, just listen. She’ll calm down eventually.
Do not allow yourself to get carried away just because you’re offended by what she’s saying. Both of you are perhaps hurting. But there is always time for you to vent and it’s not this time. So, try to understand and allow this time to be your partner’s turn.
How do you argue better in a relationship?
Avoid dredging up the past
There are likely situations when you can’t help yourself but bring up the past. Perhaps, that is your main card just to retaliate. But conflicts are not solved if both partners are aiming at retaliating because of resentment. It worsens it.
Dredging up the past has the effect of wedging a gap between you and your partner if you’re arguing. You won’t be able to move past that if you have this tendency of resurrecting what has already happened.
So, this is something you have to bury six feet under. Forget about past events and focus on current circumstances.
You may have experienced some occasions where you lose your temper and forget manners. This is something you should never do when you’re in a relationship. Always carry with you the badge of respect.
To solve conflicts in a relationship, being respectful is your lifesaver. Yes, it’s understandable that you may overstep your boundaries and say something out of resentment.
But try to be more conscious of your feelings. Acknowledge that you’re mad at the situation but not with your partner.
Oftentimes, conflicts can go to a higher level. It becomes heated. Things can go overboard, too, to the extent that you may start swearing at your partner or vice versa. This is certainly unpalatable and it leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.
When you find yourself in this situation, you can either tell her to stop or walk away. Then come back if everything has calmed and everybody’s got a clear head.
Be honest and truly get your feelings across that you don’t like it when your partner starts to say things unnecessarily.
Keep your tone down
Each of you wants to be heard but the higher your tone is, the worse the situation gets. Always keep your tone down and calm.
Don’t sound threatening and insulting. Never cross the lines. Always remember that the person you’re having some conflicts with is your beloved.
Respect above else. Keep calm.
Choose your battles
There are times you may be fighting over trivial things – issues that don’t even matter. If you think it’s unnecessary, the better recourse is to drop it. You may even find yourselves laughing about it.
You are both adults and mature. You better know how to pick your battles. Not every issue should spiral and become a problem.
If you can, you have to strive to avoid and get past it.
Remember the importance of your relationship
You enter into that relationship because it’s worth the fight and the energy you have. So, don’t blow it up for one singular conflict that can be easily solved only if you’re less tempered.
Conflicts, if minimal, can make your relationship thrive. They are tests that could challenge how far you’re willing to sacrifice and make compromises just to save it.
Yet sometimes, avoiding conflicts from even surfacing and existing saves you from all the troubles.
Don’t gaslight your partner
Gaslighting is one of the common signs of a manipulative partner. It creates doubt and confusion in one’s mind. Some people use this to go past their mistakes.
This is something you have to do away with. It is a sign of disrespect and an outright disregard for your partner’s feelings. You are aiming to invalidate it. And if you think you’re able to escape from it, you’re in for a surprise.
It is better you recognize and acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Show more compassion and assurance that you’re willing to accept what happened and learn from it.
Get to the root of the problem.
Conflicts can stem from the fact that your partner’s needs are not being satisfied. Perhaps, you are not rendering enough time for intimacy; or you are too focused on your job.
Consider all of these things and resolve to make it up to her. There are likewise times that you may be beating around the bush.
To resolve conflicts in a relationship, it pays to ask the most obvious question. Ask what the problem is. Be direct so you can get to the crux of the problem.
Separate the person from the problem
Focus on the issue that caused the conflict at the outset; not the person. The tendency if you don’t do this is that you might be feeling as though you cannot stand your partner.
To solve conflicts in a relationship, target the problem. Don’t take out your frustration on your partner. He is a different entity.
Always bear this in mind. Be emotional but keep your rationality in times like this.
Talk about what you need and how you feel about certain things
When all things have settled and calmed down, ask your partner to discuss what happened for future reference. This is something I do. Of course, conflicts are inevitable. It will occur sometime in the future.
But for you to be able to manage your conflict the next time it arises, you have to be ready. To do that, you have to lay down all the things you need such as knowing your partner’s needs and how they feel about certain issues.
This way, you will be able to better handle conflicts in your relationship.
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Conflicts happen for a lot of reasons. It has the potential to change your life for the better. It also makes you realize that your life and that of your partners are interlinked. For your relationship to thrive, you have to work towards understanding each other through proper conflict resolution.