How to learn healthy conflict resolution skills in a relationship?
October 5, 2005 2:18 PM Subscribe
Inspired by this
question, I'd like some tips, resources, books, etc. for learning how to deal with conflict/disagreement within a new relationship in a healthy way.
posted by scody to Human Relations (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The new boyfriend and I are about four months along now, so we're entering that stage where small conflicts and disagreements are naturally starting to arise (nothing serious, just the usual past-the-first-googly-eyed-phase stuff). Problem is, I grew up in a household that pathologically suppressed any normal, open expression of disagreement, anger, etc. -- meaning that conflict only presented itself either as wordless, simmering resentment (often with a side of passive-aggressiveness) or once-in-a-blue-moon terrifyingly explosive fights. As a result, I never really learned how to deal with conflict without defaulting to either terrified acquiescence or outraged defensiveness.
I've tended to be in relationships with partners who have been raised under similar circumstances, so that the cycle has largely continued. My current fella, however, is much more in the camp of "confront things directly, have out the argument, deal with it, move on" school of thought, which is of course a fine idea in theory but is pretty much Greek to me in practice. (Correspondingly, the few conflicts we've had have pretty much resulted in my binary of acquiescence/defensiveness, which he obviously finds pretty weird to deal with.) I really want to keep from undermining what is otherwise a lovely, burgeoning relationship due to my emotional idiocy in this arena.