The Definitive Guide to Relationship Conflict [Part 2]

Thu Aug 24 2023

This blog picks up where Part 1 left off.

Common Questions

What is Healthy Conflict in a Relationship?

Conflict is growth trying to happen.

This is biggest mental shift that separates people who grow closer from their conflict compared to those who grow to resent their partner.

Conflict can serve as a catalyst for change when approached constructively. It’s not about winning or losing but about understanding and learning. Through conflict, you have the opportunity to get closer to partner and even understand yourself better.

How to Resolve Conflict When Both Feel Strongly

When both parties feel strongly about a particular issue, it can be challenging to find common ground. However, the key to resolving such conflicts lies in your approach.

The major blocker is the ability to access your creative headspace

You are not able to think creatively when you are stressed.

In order to find a solution you need to be in a creative headspace. There are things called emotional blockers that stifle your creativity.

They are:

  • defensiveness
  • stress
  • anger
  • resentment
  • insecurity
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • stress

Take time to alleviate these emotional states before attempting to resolve the conflict. This will enable you to listen actively and think creatively, paving the way for a solution.

Examples and Scenarios

Unhealthy Conflict in Relationships

Unhealthy conflict can manifest in various ways, such as talking maliciously about your partner to someone else, lying, or breaking down trust. These actions don’t solve the problem; they exacerbate it and can cause irreparable damage to the relationship.

Relationship Conflicts Examples

Romantic Relationships

  • Jealousy: One partner may feel jealous of the other’s friendships or achievements. This can lead to possessiveness and can stifle the individual growth of both partners.
  • Communication Issues: Lack of open and honest communication can lead to misunderstandings. This can manifest as unnecessary arguments and can create a rift between partners.
  • Incompatibility: Differences in values, interests, or life goals can create conflict. While opposites do attract, core incompatibilities can lead to long-term issues if not addressed.


  • Betrayal: One friend may betray the trust of the other, perhaps by sharing confidential information. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and may end the friendship.
  • Neglect: One friend may feel neglected or taken for granted, leading to feelings of resentment.
  • Competitiveness: Friends may become overly competitive, affecting the friendship negatively. This can manifest as one-upmanship and can create a toxic environment.
pit of despair


Us vs. Them Mentality

Viewing your partner as an opponent can be highly destructive to your relationship.

In a healthy relationship, both partners work together to solve problems. When you see your partner as an adversary, it creates a win-lose dynamic where one person must come out on top. This mentality fosters competition rather than cooperation, making it difficult to find mutually beneficial solutions. Instead of focusing on understanding each other’s perspectives, couples with an “us vs. them” mindset often prioritize proving their own point.

Adopting a collaborative approach is essential for resolving conflicts and strengthening your bond.

Active listening is a key skill that can help couples move away from an adversarial stance.

Not Listening

Are you truly hearing your partner, or are you just waiting for your turn to speak?

Active listening involves giving your full attention to your partner when they are speaking. This means setting aside your own thoughts and focusing on understanding their perspective. If you find yourself mentally preparing a rebuttal while your partner is still talking, you’re not fully present in the conversation. This can lead to misunderstandings and prolong the conflict, as you may miss important details or fail to grasp the emotional context behind their words.

Practicing active listening can help you gain a deeper understanding of your partner’s needs and feelings.

Learning to communicate effectively often requires managing intense emotions, such as anger or frustration.


Raising your voice during an argument can do more harm than good.

When tensions are high, it’s tempting to shout to get your point across. However, this approach often backfires. Yelling can make your partner feel attacked, leading them to become defensive or shut down completely. It can also escalate the conflict, causing both parties to say things they later regret. Shouting creates an atmosphere of hostility and disrespect, making it difficult to have a productive conversation.

Instead of raising your voice, try taking a deep breath and expressing yourself calmly and clearly.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, couples can foster healthier communication and strengthen their relationship.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict resolution boils down to good communication.

The mistake most people make is that they don’t know how to listen right. Often because of not listening well the conflict escalates instead of de-escalating.

What not to do

  • Don’t think of your rebuttal when the other person is talking.
  • Don’t think that the conflict is purely a logical
  • Don’t think that logic will solve the problem
  • Don’t try to think of a good comeback
  • Don’t interrupt your partner

Instead, try to understand their perspective. This is called empathy.

The Power of Empathy

Empathy is like emotional street smarts.

It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s more than just hearing what the other person is saying; it’s about understanding where they’re coming from. Empathizing with someone else is a skill. And it can be developed over time.

Conflict Resolution Exercises for Couples

  • Turn-Taking: Each partner speaks for a set amount of time while the other listens. This ensures that both parties have an equal opportunity to express themselves.
  • Mirroring: Repeat back what you heard your partner say to ensure you understand them. This can help clarify any misunderstandings in real-time.
  • Safe Words: Use a safe word to pause the conversation when things get too heated. This can provide a much-needed break and can help both parties approach the conflict with a clearer mind.
  • Write it Down: Sometimes writing your thoughts can make it easier to express them. This can also serve as a reference point for future discussions.
  • Seek Third-Party Mediation: Sometimes an impartial third party can provide valuable perspective. This can be a therapist or a mutual friend who can provide unbiased advice.

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