When you find yourself in a longterm relationship, you also find yourself dealing with a number of complicated issues and experiences — the least of which can leave both parties feeling frazzled, anxious or raw. Conflict is a normal part of every partnership, but the way we resolve it is what truly defines our relationships. Rather than letting our conflicts linger on and on, we have to find a way to find peace and a middle road together.
We can resolve the longstanding conflicts in our relationships by getting honest about our emotions, and honest about what we want from our relationships. Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and some are worth opening up a dialogue (no matter how scary that might be). If you’re dealing with a fight in your relationship that just won’t go away, get proactive about finding peace and do it before it’s too late. Some problems become bigger ones when we leave them unaddressed. Take the first step in finding relationship peace now.
When the fight isn’t over.
We’ve all be there. You come home too late, or your miss an important anniversary or milestone. Before you know it, you’re in a row with your partner, most-probably followed by a good does of the silent treatment, and other passive-aggressions that last for days. Not every fight we have with our partner is as easy as one-and-done. Sometimes, the blow ups and the mistakes are big — leading to longstanding confrontations that eat away at our partnerships over time.
If you’ve found yourself dealing with a fight that goes on and on, it could indicate some serious complications in your relationship. Or, it could indicate a serious topic that needs to be addressed (sooner rather than later) When we refuse to let things fall, or find that we can’t come to a resolution with the person that we love most, it indicates a break down in the way we’re connecting, but also a break down in the way we’re valuing the people around us.
Fights that never end are more about pride than anything else, and take a serious toll on the way we see both ourselves and our relationships. Sure, there are some issues that just take time, but resolution should always be our goal when working to create healthy, long-lasting partnerships that are resilient enough to withstand the test of time. When we truly love someone else (and ourselves) we want only the best for them, and that means peace within and without. Let go of the constant conflict and find a way back to the middle ground by cultivating the understanding and strength you need to let go.
Why conflict continues to linger in relationships.
Though we like to think of relationship disagreements as relatively easy to overcome, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of issues that can lead to major breakdowns in our relationships and the way we communicate with one another. As time goes on, things continue to break down as we turn away from one another and into coping and defensive mechanisms that further undermine our overall happiness.
Failing to communicate
Communication is one of the pillars of any successful relationships, and it’s the means by which we stay connected and in-tune with our partners. When one or both parties fail to efficiently maintain the channels of communication that are so crucial to a fair and balanced relationship, things break down and misunderstandings become the norm. No matter the partnership, all parties involved need to feel safe to express themselves; and no one person should hold a monopoly on feeling or expression.
Scared to open up
More often than not, conflict is allowed to linger in a relationship because the partners invovled are scared to open up. This might come from a fear of showing vulnerability, or it might come from insecure attachment or any other number of traumatic past experiences. Whatever the reason, when one or both parties don’t feel as though they can express themselves safely and openly — they start to shy away from conflict, which leads to a number of other problems.
Confusion of feelings
Our emotions are complex, and they can be uncomfortable too. Feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger and even grief are unpleasant places to dwell, so we tend to shy away from them when we can. When we don’t face up to the way we’re feeling (and confront the unpleasant way those emotions effect us), we can find ourselves confused or in a place of unhappiness that we don’t understand. The only way to resolve our feelings is to confront them, and through that confrontation we can find resolution with both ourselves and our partners and spouses.
People pleasing tendencies
If you have a high tendency to engage in people-pleasing, then it might be hard for you to handle confrontation or conflict in your relationship. Those who are concerned only with making others happy often dismiss their own feelings, to the detriment of their self-esteem and their relationship (in the long-run). Overcoming this takes realizing that conflict doesn’t necessarily mean making others unhappy. We have to consider the big picture.
When you’re down on yourself or down on what you believe you have to offer as a partner, it can lead to avoidance of confrontation or life in general. Low self-esteem is toxic, and it permeates into every aspect of our lives and personalities. Sometimes, the best thing we can do to handle conflict in our relationship is to realize the power of our personal strength and resilience again.
Self-sabotage is a subtle poison, and one that is favored by our subconscious. Feeding off our low self-esteem and insecurities, these behaviors undermine our ultimate happiness and strive only to prove our worst beliefs about ourselves. When you think you are worthless, you come to believe you deserve less than other people. This leads to accepting things like abuse and sub-par behavior from your partner — including dismissal and belittlement in conflict.
What happens when we allow our conflicts to carry on.
When we fail to deal with the conflicts that are plaguing our relationships, they poison the connection we share and become toxic to our overall partnership. Issues and emotions ignored manifest as resentment, broken intimacy and worse. When we don’t face up to what’s going on between our partners and ourselves, we create a much bigger issue for ourselves in the longrun.
Perhaps one of the biggest side-effects of lingering conflict in our relationships is the collapse of our intimacy. The longer a confrontation goes on (without being addressed and resolved) the more the negative feeling builds between you and your partner. You pull further and further away from one another in resentment until the idea of intimacy together — of any sort — is nothing but a dream.
Conflict can lead to a host of negative feelings, not least of which are anger and resentment. The longer you avoid rersolution, the greater these emotions build, leading to even bigger issues and detachment from the relationship as a whole. Your respect for your partner starts to slip, and you might find yourself lashing our or freeing your anger from its shackles in passive-aggressive ways like snide remarks or other vindictive behavior.
The longer we hold on to this anger and resentment, the more it begins to shift the way we see both our partners and ourselves. You lose respect for your partner, but you also lose respect for youreslf. The longer you go without addressing your needs and sticking up for them, the more you will come to resent yourself for not getting what you want (when you had the ability and opportunity to do so).
Problems in our relationships have a funny way of snowballing and becoming even bigger issues that we have even greater challenges overcoming. For example, festering anger and resentment drives partners apart. Over time, their intimacy erodes until one partner finds themselves looking for companionship outside of the relationship. Right and wrong aside, you now have a bigger in your relationship to resolve: infidelity. Which may just prove to be a bigger issue than any challenge you faced as a couple previously.