Updated: Jul 15, 2020
How you handle conflict in your relationship will either bring you closer together or drive you further apart.
There are only these two options after a conflict/fight/argument. A common misconception about relationships is that they get "stagnant" or "stale." Relationships are always improving or getting worse, there's no in between.
Improving your relationship after a conflict is like building muscle.
If you don’t know, we build muscle when it heals after we rip the muscle apart (like when lifting weights 🏋️). The mend
ing process builds the muscle back a little bigger and stronger each time.
Same with our relationships. Fights, disagreements, whatever you call them, are actually the BEST way to get closer to your partner through the REPAIR process.
But you’ve got to know how to repair your relationship “muscle” in a way that supports healing. Even weight lifters know you don’t work out the same muscle groups day after day when doing heavy weights.
So how do you repair after a rupture/conflict in your relationship?
Some Guidelines for Repair:
1. Listen openly, without judgement, and with your full intention to your partner's viewpoint.
2. Repeat back to your partner what you think they said. If you get it wrong, ask them to repeat it and try again until you get it right. This does not mean you have to agree with what they said, but that you are HEARING them.
3. Ask if they have more to say on the topic.
4. Share your side, own your reactions, feelings, and actions. Remember NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU ANGRY without YOUR PERMISSION!
5. Figure out where the miscommunication happened. Was it a simple misunderstanding? Was there an assumption made? Did someone take something personally or out of context? Was there sarcasm? Were feelings hurt and not expressed? Did someone get defensive instead of expressing their true feelings in the moment? Or something else?
6. Make a plan for what to do in the future to keep the same fight from happening again, or at least to catch the argument and turn it around before the wheels completely fall off.
Repeat the process for the rest of your life! Lol! But seriously, the first few times will be rough. As time passess, you will be having less conflict and able to "repair" and "build intimacy" more quickly!
Let me know if you have any questions or would like support navigating this process!
Cassandra Solano, LCSW
Yay for New Friends!
Hi there! I'd love to gift you a free handout on a huge key to having healthy relationships: Attachment Styles. Your attachment style is just as important as your enneagram or horoscope in helping you understand yourself!