Conflicts in relationships are virtually inevitable and quite normal and expected occurrences. But conflict in itself, is not the problem. How the conflict is handled, processed, and learned from can bring people together or tear them apart.
Misunderstandings, poor communication between partners can result in anger and distance which is not wanted in a healthy relationship.
So, how to manage conflicts and disagreements in a relationship? As a most general solution what works in this situation is listening to each other with empathy and speaking with honesty. But there are definite practices to do that effectively, and that is what we will discuss here.
If you need any help regarding your relationship management and wish to consult an expert counsellor, you can always connect with us. We are an organization with expert counsellors registered with the Singapore Counselling Association, and you will always get the best and the most effective advice from us.
What to do in Disagreements
Relationships can be challenging and enhancing our relational friendship works in a big way in improving the relationship quality among partners. It is found that even in distressed relationships, partners still make bids for attention, love, sex, support, and so on. Missing these bids can sometimes damage the roots of love and trust in a relationship. Conflicts can cause major damage in a relationship if careful steps are not taken to learn, heal, and grow from it.
Here is what you need to do in cases of conflicts or disagreements:
- Act beforehand. Before any relationship conflict happens, try to figure out how long you take to calm down. Think about a time when you were angry and figure out how long you took to calm down. Let this be known to your partner.
- Never converse while angry. During a conflict, notice if any of you are upset or angry beyond rational reasoning. If you notice either yourself or your partner is getting too upset, explain that it would be best to call off the conversation and pick it up later. The person who sets the time is responsible to pick up the conversation at the designated time.
- Write down your emotions. While each of you takes a break, right down your true thoughts and emotions and keep it hidden from your partner during this stage. After writing them down, reread what you have written and ponder about how this disagreement made you feel. Take time to identify your true emotions. Also, write down what you think best would work in avoiding similar conflicts in the future.
- Share your emotions. Once you are calm and able to express your emotions, now it’s time to sit down again at the designated time. Share your emotions with each other without blaming or without using the term “you.” Make “I” statements instead. For instance, it’s much better to say “I get really upset when this happens” than saying something like “You’re all messed up.”
- Acknowledge and validate. During this conversation, always acknowledge and validate what your partner is saying. Remember that “acknowledging” or “validating” does not mean you agree or there is any admission of right or wrong.
- Plan to avoid conflicts in future. After you both have shared your emotions and acknowledged and validated each other, this is the time to come up with the solutions you wrote down earlier and identify steps to avoid similar conflicts.
This is what you need to do in cases of disagreements or conflicts. Communicating effectively is the key here to solve any conflict and hopefully, the steps provided above will help you resolve disagreements in your relationship and avoid them in future.
If however, you’re not seeing any progress and the conflict still remains, you can always connect with our expert counsellors who are certified by the Singapore Counselling Association. With our experienced counsellors’ advice and guidance, you can hopefully resolve any conflict in your relationship and kindle it again with new love, understanding, and better communication.