Conflict Resolution

Dr. Rakel Delevi provides in-person therapy out of Pasadena, and online throughout the state of California

Conflict is an inevitable part of romantic relationships. Research suggests that in a long term relationship, a couple is expected to have conflict 2-3 times a week. In fact, it's the absence of conflict that could be alarming because it often means that we don't care enough to fight. It's not the presence of conflict that is the problem, but rather how we manage it. 

What is conflict?

Conflict refers to any disagreements we experience in a romantic relationship varying from small topics like which way the toilet of paper hangs to big topics like should trust issues, intimacy, or communication. 

What are some of common conflict strategies?

Avoidance: This refers to ignoring the problem and allowing it to dissipate. Unfortunately, this strategy only backfires and worsens the problem: The problem then swells under the surface until it’s no longer avoidable and will need to be addressed.

Standing your Ground: People who use this technique may appear controlling and aggressive in their way of communication. They fear not having their needs met if they don’t set the rules and direct the conversation.

Surrendering/Sacrifice: Often perceived as the 'diplomat', the person using this tactic concedes to the needs of others. They place the needs and opinions of others on their own because preserving the relationship is the ultimate goal. This strategy often manifests itself as "people pleasing". 

Compromise and Collaborate:  Compromise means that neither party gets exactly what they want but the relationship gets what it needs. People who compromise and collaborate care about win-win solutions. This simply means that they scout common aspirations and needs, to where every party knows their opinions and feeling are important and are going to be heard. This style needs a lot of cooperation, assertiveness and communication among the parties.

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