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Resolving conflict without arguments in relationships

(15 Posts)
Loufromtheheart Tue 25-Oct-16 20:52:44

Hi All!

It feels to me like relationships are all fine when things are going well - but when problems, difficult situations and issues occur - that's when things start to go wrong. Dependent on how good we are at communicating, and dealing with conflict - we can work through these challenges or not.

Does it feel to anyone else that you either end up fighting or just running away from conflict and avoiding it all together?

It seems bizarre that we spend all our lives learning, studying and training to do anything else but what is the most important - in being able to talk and talk well to our loved ones?!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 25-Oct-16 20:59:54

People have different styles of dealing with conflict. Until you hit the bad times you don't know if you and your partner are conflict compatible.

Loufromtheheart Tue 25-Oct-16 21:13:58

Absolutely RunRabbit - it's the bad times that really tell you how good your relationship is. But do you think that people can learn to deal with conflict in a different way? It seems to me that people don't really do much about it until it gets really bad - rather than learn how to deal with it in a more heathy way earlier on?

Myusernameismyusername Tue 25-Oct-16 22:00:13

I think it depends on other circumstances - I have no choice but to deal with conflict via work and this has increased as I grow in my role. But when I didn't have this experience I was terrible with conflict. Needless to say I have had training as well which helps. Some professions mean that people who aren't naturally good at it can learn. But other adults may not find they get these opportunities and don't have the tools to learn.

Also a lot of it is to do with the person you are communicating with. Despite what I think are skills I have met people I just cannot resolve conflict with at all.

Loufromtheheart Tue 25-Oct-16 22:19:02

Hi my user - yes good point! I feel the same in that my job roles have meant I needed to get along with a lot of different types of people and practice different ways to communicate and meet in the middle. If people have the chance to try different approaches with people they aren't emotionally involved with I think this helps to then apply it in personal situations. I agree that if you are good and can adapt your style - there is a limit to what you can do because there's always you and the other person involved and they might not be self aware or open to change?

RedMapleLeaf Tue 25-Oct-16 22:22:34

I think a lot of people learn about these kinds of things - through socialisation, occupation, therapy etc.

Myusernameismyusername Tue 25-Oct-16 22:28:37

Also the closer you get to someone the stakes are higher. So I can tell a colleague something in a way that is professional with boundaries but with a partner you don't have HR guidelines backing you up so things can go into free fall

hellsbellsmelons Wed 26-Oct-16 09:02:39

My ExH learnt pretty quickly to deal with things in a different way.
He learnt that as adults we can sit down and both put our points across and then come to a compromise.
My current OH used to have a horrible co-dependent relationship with his ExW, they argued all the time (still do)
It was odd for him at first as I just will not argue.
I don't see the point at all.
We talk, we compromise.
It really should be that simple.

PastoralCare Wed 26-Oct-16 09:02:59

Getting to Yes is a great book on negotiations in general but many of the principle also work inside the household.

www.wikisummaries.org/wiki/Getting_to_Yes

Hope this helps.

PastoralCare Wed 26-Oct-16 09:03:47

And another one...

www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/example/fish7513.htm

Loufromtheheart Wed 26-Oct-16 09:16:09

Thanks My User and PastoralCare - I agree - I think it's totally ironic, that we seem to be better equipped to have healthy communications with people we are less close to - than those that we are - when our emotions get the better of us, we behave badly, don't listen, shut down and refuse to apply logic and common sense. The high stakes and high emotions, puts us in a place where we can't communicate as well as when the stakes are lower and it doesn't matter. This is a natural response of course - But I wish that we could put more learnings into practice in home life on how to communicate better for everyone's sake. I love your example hellsbells - it does seem to be down to learning from others different dynamics - you have applied good negotiation skills that your husband has learnt to understand and apply with you - when in the past he didn't. It goes to show how much we can teach others by being different ourselves!

PastoralCare Wed 26-Oct-16 09:51:11

As the others of Getting to Yes suggest, it may be that you/we find it difficult to separate people from issues. This means that we are more interested in directing anger and exacting revenge because we feel wronged rather than de-escalate.

There are many bifurcations in each argument. Each is an opportunity to pile on grievances and launch attacks or be conciliatory.

When emotions and anger take over, we tend to prefer attacks and make the other person feel horrible... often to our detriment.

Joysmum Wed 26-Oct-16 10:20:42

I did conflict resolution training as part of a previous job. I try to apply that in every situation but I can get wound up and gave explained to DH I might need thinking time and then will come back to it.

He will ignore the issue and skirt round which I find even worse as it escalates at a later date.

So now I try to get him to talk, listen, repeat back to show I've taken it in, explain I agree with the bits I agree with but then point out where we differ and my reasoning why then invite response.

If it gets too heated I tell him I love him, ask for a hug and suggest we take a break.

By pointing out the bits I agree with it shows I'm willing to listen and think and that the disagreement isn't as big as first thought. We can then concentrate on the disagreement and work out who has the strongest feelings and try to compromise if we can't completely agree.

PastoralCare Wed 26-Oct-16 10:33:08

Joysmum, you reminded me that it helps to show that you can understand why your partner might feel a particular way (without saying he or she is right).

If all of these don't work then at least you can be assured you've tried and they're not interested in improving the relationship so it's time to move on.

Loufromtheheart Wed 26-Oct-16 10:53:55

Joysmum - It sounds like you are applying all the positive interactive behaviours that help to resolve conflict and have a successful conversation - summarising, bringing in, actively listening and displaying positive emotions. Time-outs are also pretty good I think to help give people the opportunity to deal with their emotions and then come back to the discussion. How does he react to your approach and has he started to learn from the way you do it himself?

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