The Key to Resolving Conflict in a Relationship


Conflicts are an integral part of our lives. They arise for a variety of reasons, starting with small household trifles to serious differences of opinion. Also, they have a variety of manifestations, beginning with loud cries to a long silence.

They say that truth is born in an argument. Perhaps. And yet, it is very interesting and exciting to argue with a person who knows how to do it well – they maintain a dialogue, take interest in your opinion, and do not take offense. However, not everyone is able to argue properly and respect the point of view of another person. Today, we are going to tell you how to deal with conflict in a relationship and observe some useful conflict resolution techniques that will help you get out of conflict situations correctly.

relationship conflict

What Is Conflict Resolution?

Before talking about conflict resolution in relationships, it is important to understand what conflict is. At the level of sensations, we understand that conflict is something unpleasant and emotionally draining. It is very similar to rope pulling – both parties are spending an incredible amount of energy but really cannot get ahead, again and again, proving their position and mutually blocking the forward movement. Each person has their own perception of everything happening around, and accordingly, they draw all conclusions and assumptions based on how they see the world.

Conflict resolution is one of the forms for ending the conflict, a joint activity of its participants, aimed at solving a problem that has led to the conflict situation.

Conflict Resolution Skills You Need in a Romantic Relationship

Having mastered the skills of conflict resolution, you can both preserve your romantic relationships and significantly strengthen them.

1. The ability to quickly relieve tension and stress

The key to resolving conflict in a relationship is the ability to quickly relieve tension and stress. It is essential for maintaining calmness, motivation, and control, no matter what problems you are dealing with. If you do not know how to keep calm and control yourself, then during a conflict, you will be emotionally “overloaded” very quickly and lose an opportunity to think straight.

2. The ability to understand your feelings and emotions

You are an important part of any conflict resolution process as you are the only person who knows how you feel and why you feel that way. Sometimes we feel angry or hurt, but we don’t even know why. In some cases, we believe that the other person does not do what they “have to,” although we do not know exactly what we want and expect from them. To understand yourself better, you should write down your thoughts, feelings, and expectations – then you will be able to get the message across to your partner.

3. Listening skills

When it comes to effective conflict resolution in marriage, the ability to listen is just as important as the ability to express yourself. You need to understand another person if you want to come to a conflict resolution. In fact, if you help another person realize that you hear and understand them, then this is already one of the most important conflict resolution steps. conflict resolution for couplesAlso, listening skills will help you build a bridge between you two and find out what is going wrong. Unfortunately, people often think that they know how to listen, although, in fact, they actively formulate their answers during the speech of the interlocutor, thinking how wrong they are without even trying to understand their point of view. Therefore, you should learn to listen and hear as it is the best way on how to resolve conflict in marriage.

4. Positive communication

The ability to make a point of your feelings and needs is also an important aspect of conflict resolution for couples. Of course, you know that the inept word can only spark a conflict. It is important to remember that you need to express your thoughts clearly and intelligibly, without aggression or resentment towards the other person. In case of conflict in marriage, it is better to always say what you feel and not blame the partner.

5. The ability to find a way out of a difficult situation

As soon as you understand the point of view of another person, and they will respectively understand yours, it’s time to look for a conflict resolution that will be good for both of you. Sometimes a simple and obvious answer comes itself when both parties begin to understand each other. Sometimes a simple “sorry” or a heart-to-heart talk works wonder. It is important to learn to understand a loved one and try to solve all problems, respecting each other.

6. Self-determination

There are situations when it is necessary to take a break in a relationship or just end them. For example, if someone commits illegal actions towards another person, then simple conflict resolution methods can only aggravate the problem. Personal safety should always be a priority. In such cases, distance is the best option. If you have any misunderstandings or resentment, then you may need to reconsider your communication, or even abandon it. Only you can decide whether to reanimate your relationship or break it up.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

What steps might conflict resolution involve? The best way to resolve a conflict situation is to choose the optimal strategy of behavior. In total, there are 5 basic conflict resolution strategies:

  • Competing
  • Accommodating
  • Avoiding
  • Compromising
  • Collaborating

1. Competing

Competing is a type of behavior when a person seeks to satisfy their own interests, causing damage to the interests of the partner. Following this strategy, a person is sure that only one participant can win in a conflict, and the victory for one always means defeat for another. A person who prefers competing will “hold the frame” by all available means. The opposite position will not be taken into account.

The signs of the "Competing" strategy are the following.

  • Strong control over the actions of the partner
  • Constant and deliberate pressure on the partner
  • Usage of deception to create the preponderance
  • Provocation of a partner for making mistakes and ill-considered steps
  • Reluctance to engage in constructive dialogue because of self-confidence

2. Accommodating

The accommodating strategy is characterized by the fact that a person is ready to give up their needs, desires, and interests and make concessions with a partner to prevent confrontation. This strategy is often chosen by people with low self-esteem who believe that their position and opinion should not be taken into account. The signs of the "Accommodating" strategy are the following.

  • Permanent agreement with partner requirements
  • Active demonstration of a passive position
  • Lack of claims and resistance
  • Flattery and indulgence

3. Avoiding

The essence of this strategy is that a person tries to do everything possible to postpone the conflict and making important decisions for later. With such a strategy, the person neither defends their interests nor pays attention to the interests of a partner.

The signs of the "Avoiding" strategy are the following.

  • conflict resolution tipsRefusal to interact
  • Ignoring any information from a partner
  • Denial of the importance and seriousness of the conflict
  • Intentional slowdown in decision making
  • Fear of making some steps to conflict resolution

4. Compromising

Compromise is a partial satisfaction of the interests of both parties of the conflict. The compromising strategy does not spoil the romantic relationship but contributes to its positive development. The signs of the "Compromising" strategy are the following.

  • Equality orientation
  • Ability and willingness to listen to a partner
  • Desire to find mutually beneficial solutions

5. Collaborating

The collaborating strategy is characterized by a high level of focus on both own interests and those of a partner. This strategy is based not only on the balance of interests but also on the recognition of the value of relationships. The signs of the "Collaborating" strategy are the following.

  • Collecting information about the subject of the conflict
  • Open discussion of the conflict, the desire to resolve it
  • Consideration of partner’s offers

How to Resolve Conflict in a Relationship?

Relationship conflict usually causes people to experience negative emotions, and sometimes even leads to a breakup. Therefore, you should learn to resolve conflicts with your loved one. There are the best conflict resolution tips that will surely help you.

1. Both partners should take responsibility

If you disclaim responsibility in every quarrel, it means that you blame the partner. In fact, you say, "The problem is always in you." It only aggravates the conflict as communication stops completely. Take responsibility for your actions. Work on solving the problem together. Accusations are just an evasion that does not help find a way out of the situation.

2. Do not avoid problems

We often want to avoid confrontation, so we ignore the problem. In such cases, you should not think only about yourself and whether you are ready to deal with the situation. It is important to remember what is necessary for the development of your relationship. Avoiding the problem, you only complicate the situation. In order to resolve conflicts easier, try to avoid the word “you” in explanations, it is better to say “I.” Thus, it will be easier for you to express your feelings and more difficult to unintentionally hurt your partner. Say, “I don't understand” instead “You're wrong;” "I often feel ...," and not "You always..."

3. Do not criticize each other

Disagreements and quarrels occur in all relationships. This is a natural reaction to the actions and decisions of a partner. But when disputes turn into attacks on the partner, and not just criticism of their behavior, it spells disaster. conflict resolution methodsAlways support each other, even if you do not agree on something. Do not take it out on each other. Focus on the subject of the conflict and try to reach a compromise.

4. Communicate with each other

Do not expect your partner to read your thoughts, share them. The more often you keep silent, the higher the risk of misunderstanding and quarrels is. Most relationship problems begin precisely because of a lack of communication. Listen to your partner not only to say something in response but to understand them. Do not judge, try to look at the situation through the eyes of your soulmate. The main thing is to remain respectful of each other.

5. Allow each other to maintain dignity

Do not take everything personally, sometimes we all get upset or angry after a hard day. Try to understand that your loved one behaves in such a way because they feel bad at the moment. They ponder their own thoughts and feelings, and most likely, their behavior has nothing to do with your actions.

Even if you are right, do not try to insist on getting your own way at the height of a quarrel. Thus, you only humiliate your partner and make them lose self-esteem. Let each other maintain dignity. Calm down and only then return to the conversation.

6. Be ready to make sacrifices

True love is about attention, discipline, constant effort, and the ability to make sacrifices even when you do not agree with each other. Healthy relationships suggest that sometimes you have to do things that you do not like to make your partner happy. You should be ready to make such sacrifices.

7. Accept the fact that disagreements happen to all

Some couples spend years trying to convince each other, but sometimes it is simply impossible. Some disagreements occur due to fundamental differences in character, attitudes, and values. You just waste your time trying to change each other, and you destroy the relationship.

Accept each other for who you are. Disagreements are an inevitable part of any lasting relationship. The main thing is to know how to behave so as not to exacerbate conflicts and feel as comfortable as possible.

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