How to deal with relationship conflict
Conflict is not pleasant. Particularly with someone you love and/or care about.
The feelings of frustration, anger, rejection and disappointment can be tremendously painful and difficult to manage skillfully, often leaving partners stuck in defensive communication patterns that can be very damaging to the relationship over time.
The first step in how successful couples resolve conflict is to shift the perception of conflict from a signal that there is something wrong with the relationship, to a signal that something important needs to change. Conflict has the power to transform. It is also an opportunity to develop our authenticity by reflecting on what really matters to us - our values and identities.
The second step in conflict management is to change the pattern of communication.
Can you describe the problem in a way that does not make your partner look or feel bad? Doing this usually involves vulnerability, ownership, acceptance and boundaries, and avoids blame, criticism, justification and accusation. Resolving a conflict is much more likely to happen through understanding than being right.
Changing communication patterns can feel scary and awkward, but is the gateway to connection and the kind of growth needed to keep the relationship flourishing as it evolves over time.