Conflict within relationships

Us humans like to use the labels ‘good’ and ‘bad’, in particular conflict. Conflict doesn’t have to be good or bad. Its part of the dynamic and addressing it through the adult ego state is essential. Preferring to ‘keep the peace’ in a relationship allows a relationship to not grow. There are times when our partner might be stressed, we can empathise but we also must have effective boundaries to not enable this to become a pattern.  An absence of conflict can mean your relationship may have resentment, key factors might not be addressed and maybe the relationship isn’t growing. Escalated conflict such as screaming isn’t beneficial. Likewise, if you haven’t had any conflict or disagreement with your partner then that could be a concern too. Conflict is part of intimate relationships. It can support building the emotional intimacy of the dynamic.


Some self reflective questions to consider: Within our relationships we have our own style of relating that’s sometimes connected to how our primary caregivers interacted with each other, with us, our personality as well as our life experience.

What does an argument mean to you? E.g. do you feel abandoned / not good enough / over responsibility for the cause and to fix it? Perhaps you avoid an argument at all costs, is there a reason for this? How do you define an argument? How do you argue in your relationship? E.g. assertive, with empathy, screaming, stonewalling, aggressive or passive aggressive? We tend to have patterns of relating in regards to conflict and it’s about bringing attention to the patterns to figure out if they are beneficial to our relationship.


Practical tips to consider: every relationship is unique and some of these might not be suitable for your relationship.

  1. Effective communication: One of the most important tips for resolving conflicts and disagreements in relationships is to practice effective communication. This involves actively listening to the other person’s perspective, expressing your own thoughts and feelings. Avoiding assumptions and being willing to ask clarifying questions can also help prevent misunderstandings and promote understanding.
  2. Empathy and understanding: Towards self and other person. This means trying to put yourself in their shoes and see the situation from their perspective. As well as explaining your perspective. It involves acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences, even if you may not agree with them. By showing empathy and understanding, you create a safe space for open dialogue and increase the chances of finding a resolution that satisfies both parties.
  3. Focus on the issue, not the person: When conflicts arise, it’s important to focus on the specific issue than attacking or blaming the other person. Avoid using accusatory language or making personal attacks, as this can escalate the conflict. Trying to address the problem objectively and constructively, focusing on finding a solution rather than assigning blame.
  4. Take responsibility for your actions: Resolving conflicts requires taking responsibility for mistakes. Be willing to apologise when necessary. By taking responsibility, you demonstrate maturity and a commitment to resolving the conflict in a fair and respectful manner.
  5. Seek compromise and find common ground: In any disagreement, it’s important to be willing to seek compromise and find common ground. This involves being open to alternative solutions and considering the other person’s needs and preferences.

Conflict in relationships