Conflict is a part of life and relationships. Though having less conflict is a good thing, having no conflict ever is not a realistic goal.
The question is whether you and your partner are behaving in ways that will encourage you to successfully navigate through to the other side. An important part of this is having enough self awareness to be willing to hold a mirror up to yourself and own your role. This can be tricky as it’s not always smooth. But if you can begin by being aware of what unhealthy communication looks like, you may be more able to catch yourself doing things that aren’t helpful and even change course.
10 signs you don’t fight fair in your relationship
- You name call or make character attacks.
- You use global statements such as “always” or “never.”
- You go off topic to a long list of other issues you are reminded of.
- You weaponize your partner’s vulnerabilities.
- You follow your partner around the house despite them saying they don’t want to talk about it now.
- You suddenly leave when clearly angry, maybe even out the door.
- You minimize or invalidate your partner’s feelings.
- You bring in the supposed opinions of others who “agree” with you into the discussion.
- Your defensiveness doesn’t allow your partner to finish their sentences.
- You don’t apologize when you’ve made a mistake.
There are a lot of reasons that people don’t communicate well. They may have grown up on the receiving end of poor communication or even little communication. Regardless, if you never learned how, you can. It’s a worthwhile endeavor for the sake of your relationship to help avoid the build up of resentment, which is toxic to any relationship.
In a healthy relationship, there will be certainly times when you don’t agree – or don’t get along well. To combat some of the negative behaviors listed above, work towards getting better at taking responsibility for your mistakes, making relationship repairs and managing your reactivity. Be particularly aware of not doing more damage by speaking more kindly and avoiding going after your partner’s wounds. The research of John Gottman, PhD is very important around the behaviors that can predict divorce.
Lastly, if there is any personal therapy work for you to do that impacts you or your relationship, do it. Maybe you both have some things to look at that would benefit your emotional and relationship health.