Takes steps to deal constructively with conflict and you could save your relationship.

 

Is constant bickering ruining your relationship? Or do you give each other the silent treatment, allowing resentment to fester? Both these types of conflict will ruin your relationship! But you can learn how to disagree without yelling at each other and storming off in a temper tantrum. Think of it as constructive conflict. Here's how to do it.

1) Wait until you've cooled down

Speaking from anger is a recipe for disaster. You'll say things you'll regret. You won't be able to listen to your partner. And any sympathy or empathy for their point of view will be the last thing in your mind! So when tempers flare: stop talking. Take a breath and put some space between you. This doesn't mean flouncing off in a temper and slamming the door, though! Just walk into the next room and take a few moments to think as you calm down. If your partner follows you, ask firmly but politely to be left alone for a few minutes.

2) Think before you speak

Before you begin the conversation think about what you want to achieve. Think about everything you want to say and think about how you can say it in a constructive - not vindictive way. Think about why you are having this conflict and how you might be able to compromise. Come back together once you are calm, preferably in a few minutes but longer if necessary. Don't leave it too long, though, or resentment will fester. Choose a time when you are both in the frame of mind to talk constructively.

3) Be respectful

Remember this is the person you love. Is it worth hurting them because you are annoyed? No, it's not! So don't shout and never curse or use hurtful words. The aim is not for you to 'win or lose', the aim is for you to both come to a mutually agreeable conclusion to the issue. Both of you need to listen and both of you need to compromise.

4) Use constructive language

If you use accusatory language, you will immediately make your partner feel defensive. So avoid absolutes such as: 'you always' or 'you never'. Instead tell them how their behaviour makes you feel. Tell them it would make you happy if they could do X or not do Y. Phrasing conflict in positive terms opens dialogue making it easier to get a resolution.

5) Uncover the big issue

A frequent row about whose turn it is to do the dishes probably conceals a bigger underlying issue. So if you find yourself constantly getting angry about little things in your relationship, it's time for some reflection. What is really driving your annoyance? Is it that you feel under appreciated for your role in the home? Or that you are unhappy at work and taking out your anger on your partner? You need to uncover the root cause for your constant disagreements so you can stamp them out once and for all.

6) Leave the past behind

You're in a loving, supportive relationship, not a point-scoring match. So, however tempting, never dredge up past issues to use as ammunition. It's so important to deal thoroughly with issues as they crop up and not to ignore them, then to move forward. You are dealing with the current issue and nothing more.

7) Praise conquers all

Although you are disagreeing, you still love each other, right? Couples who can constructively disagree show their love and support by praising their partner even when expressing a difference of opinion. It's not as weird as it sounds! It's about balancing out negative statements with positive ones. So it could go something like this:

I thought it was great when you cooked dinner last week. I really enjoyed the meal. So perhaps you could cook more often to give me a break?

8) No blame game

If one of you is unhappy you both need to work to resolve the issue. Don't blame your partner for the issue because romantic relationships are about two people. So you both take responsibility. Couples who can disagree constructively will discuss their differing points of view, trying to see it from their partner's point of view, then come to a compromise to resolve it.