In your relationship, there are definitely going to be times when you bump into each other. I’m sure you’ve already experienced some of that bumping, right?
That’s completely normal and to-be-expected.
But how you do that bumping, how you handle tension or conflict or arguments in your relationship makes all the difference. Knowing how to address conflict in a productive way actually strengthens your relationship.
Unproductive fights, on the other hand, will weaken your relationship.
I made a new video talking about the difference and how you can break out of the typical “tug of war” style of arguing and learn to address conflict in a healthy, productive way.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any significant amount of time, at some point the two of you are going to bump into each other in the titles video. I call it fighting or really talking about any sort of conflict or even just tension in your relationship. And when that happens, it’s probably going to feel like you’re playing a little bit of a tug of war where one of you is trying to win.
It feels like in order for you to win, your partner has got to give way or in order for them to win or feel good about it, you’ve got to give up or give way in some capacity. In this article, you’ll learn how you can reframe your ideas of fighting, arguing, conflict or tension in your relationship so that can both win.
As humans it’s our default response that when conflict arises, we put the conflict in the middle.
You’re on one side of the conflict and your partner is on the other side of the conflict. You, verbally and emotionally, pull back and forth on whatever the issue is in between you. One of you is trying to win to get the thing, to have it go your way.
Instead, reframe the conflict so that you are both on the same side
I want you to reframe it rather so that rather than have the conflict be in between you and your partner..
Where you’re playing a tug of war…
Where you has to give way in order for the other one of these to win, to get what you want…
Think about being right next to your partner, on the same side, and put the conflict out over in front of you both.
When you and your partner are, conceptually, on the same side and the conflict is on the other, you become a united team. The issue you’re dealing with isn’t something that has come between you; instead, it’s an opportunity for you to come together and figure it out together!
Your goal is not to get the thing, whatever that thing might be, such as:
- More sex
- to go to your family’s house for the holidays
- to communicate in a certain way
- to open up your relationship
- to get over the burnt dinner last night
Put the conflict over there and the two of you on this side together, solving that problem together.
That reframe from “we’re in a competition, our interests are working against one another; in order for one of us to feel good, the other one has to give up something” to “Now the conflict is over here and together we are going to figure this out” makes a HUGE difference in how you approach the conflict and how you view each other. It’s collaboration, not competition.
If you try to do that and you find yourself putting the thing back in the middle…
Feeling like you have to give something up..
Like you have to lose something,
Like you have to give way…
Or on the flip side…
That you feel like you’re taking something…
That you’re being selfish…
That your partner is giving up something or your partner is losing something…
If either of those are happening, you might need a third person to help to hand up room with you, literally or virtually, whether that’s relationship coach or therapist.
That way, you can put the conflict right there in the center. There’s you. There’s your partner. There is the coach with the therapist.
And then you’re all you put that conflict, that thing, that tension … right there in the middle..
Whether that “thing” is wanting to open up your relationship, wanting to reinvigorate your sex life, wanting to get engaged and move in together, having disagreements about money, or anything else.
You put that thing in the middle and then all three of us are in the room together and we can look at it and examine it from all sides, and together we can figure it out and a plan for it. It’s you’re much less likely to get into a tug of war when there’s that third person there.
You can try it on your own!
You don’t need you don’t need me to be in the room with you. Try putting the thing over there.
Tip: You might want to literally sit next to your partner rather than facing your partner, having that sort of like back and forth sit next to your partner so you can sort of imagine that lifting is over there. See what that changes for you and your dynamic.
If you try it on your own, and you keep falling back into the old pattern…
If you need someone to be in the room with you to help you sort of pick that up and examine it and look at it from all sides and figure out how this can be something that brings the two of you closer together. Let’s talk!
The thing that feels so hard right now might just be the thing that brings you closer together than ever. I’d love to help you get there.
Want to get those each week (plus some occasional, more private thoughts on sex & relationships)? I’d love to keep in touch. Drop your email address below and I’ll keep you in the loop!
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