Stop Avoiding Conflict Resolution in Your Relationship

If you notice that the same disagreements keep popping up between you and your partner and you're wondering why, I am here to tell you that you may be guilty of making one or more of the most common excuses couples make in order to avoid conflict resolution. Confronting issues in a relationship is not easy and it often involves both individuals taking the time to listen to difficult feedback and access vulnerable parts of themselves. What I hear couples do a lot of the time is come up with reasons, or excuses to put off conflict resolution. Many times, they are not doing it consciously but when they are able to objectively listen to how their reasons deconstruct to the excuses they really are, they admit to putting resolution off, and become ready to tackle the issue at stake. Sometimes it's our partners who are not ready to discuss the route of the conflict and we attempt to bring it up but are fought with quick and hardened responses. Other times, the excuses are in our own minds, preventing us from even attempting to have a conversation with our loved one. Here are the most common excuses for putting off conflict resolution and here is how to rebuttal them so that your partner and your own mind cannot hold on to them any longer.

"It's never the right time"

The next time you hear this from either yourself, or your partner, ask in a gentle loving way, when a good time to have a heart to heart would be. Obviously, discussing the route of your intimacy issues at the dinner table when hosting your parents for dinner is not the best time, nor is it the best time when you’ve come home from an especially stressful day at work, but could it be before you go to bed one night after the two of you have had time to unwind? First thing in the morning on a day off? Maybe schedule it in between life events, where down time is to be expected. Nobody likes to plan for a hard discussion but it's smart to, it allows both people to take the time to share their issues and overcome the stagnant repetition of the same argument, as well as heal from it. When healthy conflict resolution takes place, both people feel closer to one another and end up enjoying one another's company more, feeling free from the burden of the unresolved issue between them, and ready to strengthen their bond.

"I can't handle talking about it right now, I have too much else going on" or "He/She just can't handle me bringing this up right now, they have too much going on"

Maybe you or your partner just started a new job, experienced a loss, or agreed to be a caretaker for an older relative. It is possible you or your partner are worried that one more difficult discussion to have, or one more hard decision to make will tip the ship of mental stability completely over. In reality, what one usually needs from their partner during a time of change and transition is extra support, and if conflict is preventing the two of you from supporting one another fully then avoiding resolution of tough issues is likely to add to exhaustion and stress instead of saving you or your partner from it. 

"He/she has to accept that this is the way I am" or "You just have to accept the way things are/the way I am"

This one is tricky and takes some deeper self-reflection. You have to ask yourself if the conflict you are having with your partner is interfering with a core value of yours or maybe theirs (example: trust, spirituality, honesty, personal needs, parenting styles, etc) and if so, can you feel at peace in your daily life if the conflict truly never changed? With an issue that is recurring, most couples are going to answer no, they cannot live with the way things are, at least not happily. This is where you ask yourself or your partner to find a way to compromise and gain better perspective of the other's world view.

"All couples have those things they disagree on over and over"

Conflict is healthy in a relationship when conflict resolution follows. It is true that sometimes an issue has to come up more than once for you or your partner to recognize the importance of it. It is also sometimes beneficial for both partners to take some time to think a problem over, but a healthy couple must always aim for conflict resolution as a goal.

"It will get better as time passes"

This is another way to avoid the issue, of course time will keep passing and life circumstances will inevitably change, but it is likely that the same unresolved issue will not. Just because you finally get to own a house together, or conceive a child, or save enough money to go back to school doesn't mean the reoccurring issue in your relationship will suddenly dissipate. You may become distracted away from it, but it will come back up again as long as It remains unresolved.

The Take Away: Do not let these or any excuses keep you and your partner from resolving something between the two of you, make time to discuss your points of view and come to an understanding that will help you heal and move forward. Allow each other time to share your side of the issue without interruption, refrain from using hurtful language or sweeping statements. Instead of saying “you always” or “you are” remember to use “I feel like” statements. Give each other respect and consideration when having a hard talk, it is a time of vulnerability. If it is something you feel you need help with then seek out a professional, or read some books on how to better communicate and solve your relation problems together. Conflict resolution can be difficult but the reward you receive from putting in the work is a healthier, more supportive, and happier relationship that frees the two of you up for growth and discovery together, isn't that what sharing your life with somebody is all about?