Handling conflict is one of the major difficulties experienced in any relationship. Many times a simple disagreement can turn into full blown shouting matches if both partners are not effectively communicating with one another. Experiencing conflict in a relationship is normal, and believe it or not, conflict can even be healthy. Successful arguments can resolve problems, increase an understanding of each other, increase intimacy, and can strengthen the overall relationship. Experiencing conflict is just one of the phases in being in a relationship.
Ground rules in fighting fairly:
- Avoid attacking one another- talk about behaviors rather than personalities.
- Share your feelings- openly communicate and explore why you feel the way you do.
- Stay focused on the now- fighting about past disappointments can be a dead end road because they cannot be changed.
- Maintain good will- remember that you care about this person.
Healthy relationships allow for each partner to voice their opinion and feelings without fear of later consequences. When experiencing conflict, use the following techniques:
- Pick a time to discuss the problem - avoid situations when one person is very angry, distracted, tired, ill, or under pressure. It is okay to call a "time-out" if necessary, you can always return to the discussion at a better time.
- Use effective communication skills - for more information CLICK HERE
- Listen carefully - avoid interrupting one another. Reflect on what you heard your partner say to eliminate confusion.
- Choose one issue - discuss the problem of most concern to stay focused on resolving that problem.
- Be honest- admit when you are wrong.
- Ask for change- determine what you want from your partner, and make sure that it is realistic.
- Agree on a solution- find a solution that will satisfy both of you, not just one of you. You can also decide to agree to disagree, or agree to continue the discussion at another time. If necessary, consider seeking the help of an objective person.
- Show Appreciation- after resolving the conflict, express your appreciation for your partners contribution to the process. Some examples could be; "I am glad you could tell me how you felt about this", "Thank you for listening to my feelings, I felt like you really understood me", or "I feel really good about our decision, thank you for working on this with me". Be sure to finish on a positive note.
If the techniques above do not seem like options, perhaps you and your partner would benefit from couples counseling. Feel free to contact Counseling And Psychological Services at FGCU to make an appointment. The only requirement for this free service is that you (and your partner) are both students of FGCU.
Counseling And Psychological Services at FGCU
- You and your partner will need to come to the CAPS office to fill out paperwork prior to making an appointment. This will take about 15-20 minutes for each of you.
- Walk-in clients will be seen for assessment in emergency situations.