June 22, 2024

A Simple Hack for Solving Relationship Conflicts.

 

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We all need hacks when it comes to relationships.

Although being with the person we love is beautiful, knowing how to navigate life’s toughest challenges with them is sometimes hard.

Some relationship conflicts are small and pointless; others are more complex and might even lead to separation. No matter what kind of conflict we might find ourselves in, fighting is ugly and…not so easy.

My husband and I have had a few fights, but we’ve always been consistent and adamant about keeping the connection alive.

We’ve also been through many relationship problems, and together, we have managed to resolve them gracefully. We’ve learned a lot throughout the years, but the most important lesson has been this:

In the heat of the moment, we’ve learned to focus on the problem, not the person in front of us.

In the past, there was an undeniable pattern in our fights and we only paid attention to it when we saw the damage that it had inflicted on us.

The pattern was crystal clear: whenever we got emotionally stressed, we would attack each other and become rude.

The truth is, remaining kind and calm during a heated argument is challenging. We usually attack our partner because we automatically think that the problem and our partner are one entity. So we call them humiliating names with the intention to make them feel bad or guilty.

Names like cheater, liar, rude, aloof, or too sensitive might cause the problem to escalate, leaving us feeling hurt and upset. Then the problem stops being the problem and we start defending ourselves against our partner’s emotional reactivity.

In some cases, we might even forget what the fight or disagreement is about. We might dig into the past or bring up old, unresolved arguments that have been dormant in our minds.

This repetitive dynamic in relationships is no stranger to couples who have been together for many years. We know how bad it can get because as long as we focus on our partner, the problem might never be resolved.

Having said that, when we fix the person instead of the problem, something stays broken in the relationship. Even when the water is clear, there will be unguarded talk in our hearts. So as soon as the opportunity presents itself, the mud will rise to the top and we will repeat the same pattern over and over again.

Here’s a quick, (maybe) disappointing fact: we can’t fix or change people. But we can get to the heart of the issue and discuss how we can do better next time. By focusing on the problem (cheating, lying, rudeness, aloofness, or oversensitivity), we help our relationship to thrive without neglecting each other’s needs. We might not change, but we might do better—which is more important, by the way.

How do we focus on the problem? Here are some thoughts:

>> Actively listen to what your partner has to say.

>> Avoid making assumptions.

>> Ask questions if something’s not clear.

>> Put yourself in their shoes.

>> Understand your partner’s triggers and traumas.

>> Discuss how the problem is impacting you and how it might impact the relationship.

>> Discuss your underlying concerns.

>> Avoid using “you” statements.

>> Be honest about your expectations and boundaries.

>> Remember that your partner is your ally, not your enemy.

>> Don’t bottle up your emotions.

~

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