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6 Reasons There’s So Much Conflict in Your Relationship.

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6 Reasons There’s So Much Conflict in Your Relationship. 49

 

 

There are many things that make people unhappy. But being in a romantic relationship with a lot of conflict has to be one of the worst.

Unfortunately, because of subtle influences like cultural pressures, many people in high-conflict relationships are in denial about it. They’re admirably motivated to “make the relationship work.” But they don’t really understand why there’s so much conflict and pain despite their best efforts.

If you want less conflict in your relationship, learn to see the root causes — many of which are psychological.

1. You try to fix each other’s feelings

No matter how painful, emotions like sadness or anxiety are not problems.

When someone we love is suffering, it’s natural to want to help them feel better. The problem is, when you treat someone’s feelings like problems, it’s invalidating. It makes them feel bad for feeling bad.

Of course, how your partner feels is ultimately their responsibility, not yours. But you can help them most by letting them know that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling instead of trying to fix it.

Painful feelings are not problems to be fixed; they are experiences to be validated.

Get in the habit of reminding your partner that it’s okay for them to feel whatever they’re feeling. When you do, you’ll find you have far less conflict and more intimacy than you ever thought possible.

2. You don’t know how to just listen

One of the biggest reasons people have conflict in their relationships is they can’t shut up when the other person is talking.

For example:

When your partner is criticizing you for something, you instantly get defensive and start listing reasons why you’re right and they’re wrong. It takes a lot of humility and patience, but you could simply listen and try to see if there’s any truth in what they’re saying.

Here’s another example:

Your partner is describing how bad they feel and you pepper them with advice and suggestions for what they need to start doing differently to feel better. On the other hand, you could reflect on how you may have been in a similar position yourself at some point.

Whatever the case may be, you’d have a lot less conflict in your relationship if you practiced shutting up and just listening.

People who are suffering often want connection more than solutions.

3. You avoid talking about how you feel

I get it: it’s hard to talk about how you really feel, especially if how you feel is painful or embarrassing. And it’s even harder to talk about how you feel if you have a history of being shamed or attacked for it on the past.

But neither of those change the fact that you can’t build more intimacy and trust in your relationship without being willing to talk about how you feel.

You will always feel lonely in a relationship if you can’t express how you really feel.

So sit down, talk about it plainly, and make a commitment to respect each other’s feelings whenever they’re expressed.

4. You quietly resent each other

Resentment is a powerful source of relationship conflict. And it’s especially powerful when you insist on being quiet about your resentments and never acknowledging them.

But here’s the deal: Your resentments will come out one way or another. And if you’re dishonest about your resentments on top of feeling resentful, it’s very hard to overcome them.

The first step to overcoming resentment is being willing to acknowledge that it’s even there.

It’s hard enough to work through resentments with each other. But it’s borderline impossible if you’re not honest with yourself about them in the first place.

5. You gaslight each other

Gaslighting is when you imply that someone is crazy for thinking or feeling what they do.

And while gaslighting often takes extreme forms — manipulating someone into thinking they are literally losing touch with reality — it’s far more common in milder but not necessarily less toxic forms.

For example:

  • Each time your spouse brings up feeling anxious about their boss at work, you roll your eyes.
  • When your partner talks about how angry they feel, you list 4 reasons why it doesn’t make sense to feel angry.

The problem is, when we’re in the habit of gaslighting our partners, we contribute to them feeling insecure. And when people feel insecure, they’re going to get defensive. And defensiveness only leads to more conflict.

No matter how illogical or nonsensical your partner’s feelings may seem to you, remember this:

Just because they feel bad doesn’t make them crazy.

Yeah, I can see why you’d feel like that.

6. You have different values (but can’t admit it)

When you first fall in love it feels like you and your partner are on the same page with everything.

But as we all know, those early feelings can be deceptive. And frequently, couples find themselves years into a serious relationship and on very different pages about the biggest things: political views, parenting philosophies, religious preferences, etc.

And when you have major disagreements on your values, conflict is likely to occur. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case…

Different values don’t have to be a deal-breaker — but you’ll never know if you can’t admit to them.

Because here’s the thing: You’ll only be able to navigate major values differences if you have deep empathy and understanding for your partner’s beliefs and world-views. But you can’t do that if you can’t admit that there are real differences between the two of you!

Have the courage to be open about your values. Because it’s only when you’re honest that real understanding and empathy can happen.

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