Talk to each other to re­solve con­flict in your re­la­tion­ship

Gloucestershire Echo - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - WITH DR EL­LIE MILBY Dr El­lie Milby is a coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist

IN any ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship, some con­flict is in­evitable.

From petty quib­bles to full blown rows, how we deal with these con­flicts has im­pli­ca­tions for our phys­i­cal health, our men­tal well­be­ing and ul­ti­mately for the fu­ture of the re­la­tion­ship.

We all have dif­fer­ent cop­ing strate­gies when it comes to deal­ing with con­flict.

Some of these strate­gies will help us to work through is­sues and strengthen emo­tional bonds while oth­ers end up lead­ing to fur­ther prob­lems.

Un­help­ful cop­ing strate­gies are of­ten based on avoid­ance. This might in­clude giv­ing your part­ner the silent treat­ment, drink­ing al­co­hol to numb emo­tional pain or bury­ing your head in the sand.

Oth­ers might be more ag­gres­sive such as seek­ing revenge for a par­tic­u­lar in­jus­tice or try­ing to ma­nip­u­late your part­ner psy­cho­log­i­cally in or­der to get your own way.

While these strate­gies might help us cope in the short-term, they of­ten lead to fur­ther re­la­tion­ship prob­lems in the longer term, as the un­der­ly­ing con­flicts are never re­solved.

More ef­fec­tive cop­ing strate­gies tend to be com­mu­ni­ca­tion-based and usu­ally in­volve be­ing proac­tive and ad­dress­ing is­sues when they arise. Talk­ing to each other is re­ally im­por­tant and has been rated by both men and women as the best way to man­age con­flicts.

It’s not al­ways easy to talk when emo­tions are run­ning high so it’s of­ten a good idea to wait un­til you both feel calm. Set­ting some sim­ple ground rules such as agree­ing not to raise voices or talk over each other can help you move the dis­cus­sion for­ward. It’s also im­por­tant to apol­o­gise when you’re in the wrong and to ac­cept an apol­ogy from your part­ner when it is of­fered in good faith.

Stud­ies have shown that for­give­ness re­lieves us from the bur­den of painful emo­tions such as anger, fear and bit­ter­ness and im­proves our well­be­ing, while apol­o­gis­ing has been linked to lower stress lev­els and a sense of be­ing in con­trol of one’s life.

When we use these pos­i­tive strate­gies to over­come con­flict it paves the way for reach­ing com­pro­mises and spend­ing more qual­ity time to­gether; two fur­ther el­e­ments that are highly rated when it comes to the key to re­la­tion­ship suc­cess.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key

Ac­cept apolo­gies

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