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How to avoid conflict in your relationship

Nothing but tension here. (Photo: Flickr/epSos.de)

How to avoid conflict in your relationship

June 21, 2012

This is a guest post from Rossi Davis, Psy.D, LPC, a therapist and counselor on JustAnswer.

Do you have difficulty in expressing yourself to your partner? Would you like to minimize your conflicts at home? The information in this article can help.

Arguments, fighting, and miscommunication occur when your partner feels that his or her self and point of view are being disregarded. During an argument, you may feel that you are right and the other person wrong. If both of you agree on something, it is unlikely that you will argue, so pick and choose your battles. Does it matter who picked up the mail the day before and who walked the dog in the evening?

Revisit your commitment

Your partner may become resentful and argumentative if he or she feels unappreciated. You, too, may choose to react to certain situations based on your own values, personality, and desires, among other things. At times, you may find it hard to own your feelings and take responsibility for your actions and words. For example, partners blame each other because of what they believe the other person is failing to contribute to the relationship.

In situations like this, it is helpful to re-examine what made you commit to this person, what you like about him or her, what things are you willing to get used to, and how both of you can grow closer together.

The unhealthy behaviors

Miscommunication and fighting naturally pull you apart from others, not just your partner whom you love and with whom you feel a strong bond. Just think about the way you treat your partner and how you talk to him or her when you are upset. You and your partner may focus on who started the argument, despite you knowing that this is childish and unhealthy thing to do.

Another unhealthy sign in a relationship is when one partner is trying to assume a domineering role. When this happens, the other person will become resentful. Even if you think that you have a valid point, the way in which you express it will hinder the process of healthy communication.

Better alternatives to try

In a healthy relationship both partners should be able to express concerns and feelings equally. There are various ways we engage with others in order to communicate our feelings and thoughts.

1. We ask questions: Can you please feed the pets today?
2. We agree or disagree: I don't like this restaurant as much as you do.
3. We make promises to each other: I promise to help you take the kids to soccer practice this week.
4. We bargain: If you help me wash the car, I will help you plant the flowers.

No matter what we try to communicate, the ultimate goal is to get a reaction from the other person. When your views, goals, or expectations do not match that of your partner, you may get into a conflict.

Knowing what the meaning is behind each other's statements will not only save you time and decrease potential conflict, but it will also help you become in tune with each other's feelings. It is important to ask questions or seek clarification if you are confused about what your partner is trying to communicate to you.