Conflict Avoidance In Relationships: 3 Steps To Cure

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What is conflict avoidance in relationships?

Learning how to face conflicts has always been an important lesson in business relationships.

Maybe you have a conflict avoidant partner, so you will open this article. Conflict avoidance in marriage is very common. Maybe you yourself are a conflict avoidant husband or wife.

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Conflict Avoidance In Relationships: 3 Steps To Cure

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
What is “conflict avoidance” in a relationship?

“I am not afraid of losing in a fight, but afraid of not being understood.”

Today, I want to talk to you about “habitual avoidance of conflict.”

Learning how to face conflicts has always been an important lesson in business relationships.

Maybe you have a conflict avoidant partner, so you will open this article. Conflict avoidance in marriage is very common. Maybe you yourself are a conflict avoidant husband or wife.

Conflict avoidant couples are very easy to create gaps in relationships because they do not understand how to communicate and quarrel correctly. You know, avoiding conflict in a relationship is not a good way.

READ MORE: How To Get An Avoidant To Chase You? Only Understand Him, Can Attract Him

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
“Patience” stands for “cold violence”

What you think of “holding your breath” is actually “cold violence” in the eyes of others.

Conflict avoidance in a relationship will think that “patience” is a quality that must be possessed in a long-term relationship.

It is undeniable that sometimes avoiding conflict is beneficial.

If the person in front of you who verbally attacked you is your partner or close friend who gets along with you day and night, even if you escape this time, you will most likely fall apart next time. You can’t pretend to be in front of the closest people for a lifetime.

If you “habitually avoid conflict” time and time again, suppress your true feelings and needs:

You don’t like him to evaluate your appearance, but you don’t mention it;

You will be angry and frustrated when he dislikes you for being sloppy, but you will not express it;

However, the face of you who doesn’t say a word in the mirror is full of unhappiness.

Some people may say, “It’s okay, I can bear it, as long as he/she is happy.” But many times, our original intention of “do not want to cause trouble”, in the eyes of the other party, is an out-and-out coldness. violence.

When we avoid conflicts “kindly”, it is very likely to bring the other side’s feelings:

This seemingly pleasing and nonchalant attitude is actually destroying our love bond with each other.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
(1) Even if you do not say your dissatisfaction, the other party can feel it

No quarrel does not mean that there is no conflict, nor does it mean that the conflict is resolved. Even if two people fit perfectly in all aspects, there will be conflicts and conflicts.

And never quarreling, it just means that two people lack the motivation to communicate: “I am dissatisfied with you, but I don’t even want to say it.”

But the fact is that even if you don’t say it, the other party can detect your dissatisfaction. Whether in your heart or in actual communication, this kind of dissatisfaction will make you push him/her away.

Your “unhappy” is actually in the eyes of the other person, it is better to be serious and straightforward to fight.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
(2) “Fight only when feelings are not good”? 

This is the biggest misunderstanding of intimacy.

Avoiding conflict in a relationship is not a good way.

Gottman, a psychologist in the field of marriage counseling, once did a 6-year follow-up study of 130 newly married couples. He tried to find the factor that most influences the happiness of marriage through observation of daily interaction patterns, that is, the code for a happy marriage.

The results are very surprising:

The lowest sense of marital happiness is not those couples who quarrel every day, but those who never quarrel.

At the same time, he also discovered an interactive model that best predicts the divorce rate:

One spouse started to speak with an order (harsh start-up), while the other refused to communicate. That is, “Whenever you encounter a conflict, avoid the conflict.”

Gottman pointed out: What really harms the relationship between two people is not the conflict itself, but our attitude towards each other.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
Winning in a quarrel can make conflict a relationship booster

Avoiding conflict in a relationship is not a good way; on the contrary, sometimes quarrels are necessary.

You can interpret the conflict as “our relationship has encountered a problem”;

You can also interpret it as “this is an opportunity to promote relationship development.”

I know that quarreling is really not easy for you, let alone defending your rights in an orderly manner. But we can try to start with the simplest and take it slow.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
(1) Step 1: listen to the other party to finish

If you wanted to escape from the scene or dissolve your online friends when you had a fight before, then all you need to do at first is to calmly listen to the other person’s words.

He might say something attacking you and make you very frustrated.

But our goal at this stage is not to defeat him or quarrel with him. Our goal is to allow ourselves to stand here and not to escape when a conflict occurs.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
(2) Step 2: Talk about your feelings and opinions

If you feel that the first step is easy enough, next, you can try to talk about your feelings and opinions after he has finished speaking.

For example:

“When you are in front of me and say that others are better-looking than me, I am quite unhappy.”

Instead of “You know pua all day long, I want to break up with you.”

The advantage of the former expression is that it focuses on specific issues. Only in this way can the other party know how to improve in a targeted manner; and the latter way of expression will only make the other party confused about what a pua is, and then they still don’t know where they are wrong.

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships
(3) Step 3: Show concern for him/her (then continue to quarrel)

If you are afraid that your “active participation in the quarrel” will hurt the other person, you can also show your care and support to him/her halfway through the quarrel (and then continue the quarrel).

In short, quarreling is not easy, and it must be fruitful.

While letting your emotions and feelings be fully expressed, you also respect and try to listen to the other’s thoughts and feelings.

If you think the above three points are very difficult for you, there is an easier way-do not to go to the actual combat first, and simulate in front of the mirror.

You can perform role-playing, imagine that the person in the mirror is him/her, remember what he/she likes to say when quarreling, and then switch back to yourself, to refute him/her as calmly and rationally as possible.

If you have done everything you can, but the other person has been ignoring your attitude, then you may have to reassess:

Is this relationship really worth your effort to maintain?

READ MORE: Angry Sex: Why Is Sex Better Than Usual After A Fight?

Conflict Avoidance In Relationships

Conflict avoidance in relationships is very common. If you are conflict avoidant, don’t worry too much.

Fear of conflict is not a sign of weakness, it’s just that your previous courage did not get a good response.

Psychological counselor Erin Leonard believes that habitual avoidance of conflict is actually a defense mechanism that we develop when we face “insecure” objects.

Such unsafe objects are often authoritarian parents or lovers with a strong desire for control. They will adopt a negative response when a conflict occurs. They can’t handle conflicts effectively, don’t listen to our thoughts and feelings, and even make small quarrels difficult to overcome, leaving a great shadow on people.

Therefore, in order to protect ourselves from more harm in the conflict, we chose to avoid it.

“Avoiding conflicts” is because we were weak at the time, and we had no choice but to respond to strong forces. It protected us during that time. But now we are strong enough to resolve conflicts. We have to understand that if we want to have a healthy and deep intimacy, we must abandon the self that was captured by fear in the past.

You have to know that learning to face and resolve conflicts is brave and smart.

Of course, if you are still accustomed to fleeing, don’t worry. This is not a sign that you are incapable. It’s just that you are lucky and the conflicts you encounter are still within acceptable limits. And when a person is pushed to a desperate situation, he will definitely burst out some counterattacks and even make himself dumbfounded.

Therefore, whether you continue to flee or resolve the conflict bravely, you are proud and thankful.

References for “Conflict Avoidance In Relationships”:

[1] Bornstein, P. H., & Bornstein, M. T.. (1986). Marital therapy: a behavioral-communications approach. Pergamon Press.

[2]Gottman, J. M., & Krokoff, L. J.. (1989). Mari interaction and satisfaction: a longitudinal view.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,57(1), 47-52.

[3] Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (1995). The longitudinal course of marital quality and stability: a review of theory, method, and research. Psychological Bulletin, 118(1), 3-34.

[4]Bradbury, T. N., & Fincham, F. D.. (1990). Attributions in marriage: review and critique. Psychological Bulletin, 107(1), 3.

[5]Donohue, W. A. (1992). Understanding the conflict episode. In Managing interpersonal conflict (pp. 1-24). SAGE Publications, Inc.

[6]Hogan, J. (2020). Here’s How Knowing Your At his/her chapter Style Can Help You Manage Conflict Better. Verily.

[7]Lamothe, C. (2020). Conflict avoidance doesn’t do you any favors. Healthline.

[8]Leonard, E. (2020). Help for the conflict avoidant. Psychology Today.

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— About The Writer —

Cedric S, a psychologist, and a writer from the other side of the earth. Focus on relationship psychology.

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