Conflict is not just part of every relationship, it’s a normal and necessary part of life and learning to live with others. Each partner’s different expectations and values cause the differences between you to emerge as the relationship is built and tested.
A natural result of the difference is disagreement, meaning conflict in a relationship is bound to happen – whether you live together or apart.
So although it can be painful and uncomfortable, conflict is a normal and healthy part of relationships; but it can also cause distress and be destructive. If your partner is violent or abusive to you or to your children or if you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship click here for information and links to organizations that can help.
What is conflict usually about?
These are some of the triggers for conflict:
- Affairs and jealousy
- Parenting and becoming a parent
- Finding time for each other
- Friends and family – the in-laws
- Sex and romance
- Problems with a drink or drug abuse
Some of the triggers can also be linked to Hidden issues.
The 4Ds of conflict help us to understand why conflict happens in our relationships and that it can be good and help us understand each other better.
Difference: all of us are intrinsically different in our background, upbringing, personality, feelings, needs and wants. You wouldn’t want a relationship without any differences because coming to accept each other’s strengths, limitations and vulnerabilities help a relationship to grow.
Disagreement: disagreement is a natural result of differences, as everyone sees the world differently. You wouldn’t want a relationship without disagreement because being able to express views, feelings or needs means that they don’t have to be ignored or bottled up.
Debate: if a disagreement is inevitable, then debate about those disagreements is inevitable too. You wouldn’t want a relationship without debate because at least acknowledging disagreement can lead to compromise or move couples a step closer to a solution.
Difficult, painful or uncomfortable feelings: emotions are a natural response. It’s only the awareness and the subsequent expression of these emotions that you can control. You wouldn’t want a relationship without any difficult, painful or uncomfortable feelings because they are a vital sign that something needs sorting out.
If you want to learn about your conflict style or The 4 Ds(or less) register and use some of our exercises! Once you’ve registered you can choose your goals to work on. By choosing the goal “To argue better (or less)” you will have access to exercises that will help you deal with conflict in your relationship and learn more about your conflict style.