How Do You Resolve Conflict in a Relationship

resolve conflict in your relationship

If you are wondering how do you resolve conflict in a relationship? Then you will want to read this advice from our dating coach.

How Do You Resolve Conflict in a Relationship

Reader Question

I moved in with my boyfriend 2 months ago. Lately he has been hanging out with his friends more and he just told me he wants to go out with them every other weekend. Is this normal?? I understand its good to go out with your friends but every other weekend?? They go to clubs and bars. Should I be worried?? Is this normal? We have been together for almost 3 years on and off. I trust him but I know he is a guy. We have been different for some time. I also notice he has no patience lately and yells at me at the dime of a hat. I love him but I shouldn't be sitting by myself on a sat night asking you about my relationship? I have a lot of friends I could go out but I'm just not that into bars and clubs anymore. I would love to go out in a group and all have fun but that's not what he wants.-- Contributed by: Aptanic

Expert Reply

Dear Aptanic,

It sounds to me from your questions, that you believe couples should do everything together and your boyfriend doesn't share your belief. It also sounds to me like the different perspectives are leading to a lot of conflict in your relationship. This might explain your boyfriend's frustrations and his demands for the right to go out with his friends every other weekend. Likewise, this conflict is upsetting you, leading you to wonder whose thinking is right and whose is wrong. When you look at things from right and wrong, you miss the opportunity to work together on a solution.

You both are right. It is healthy for couples to have time without their respective partners. It is also healthy for each person in a couple relationships to have interests and friends outside of the couple's interests and friendships. In addition, it is healthy for couples to agree and negotiate on issues that are important to the relationship. In this case, the issues on the table are couple time and time with friends.

I would recommend that you and your boyfriend sit down to work out an arrangement that will make both of you happy. The first step is to understand how important time apart and time together is for each of you. Have each person share his and her thoughts about the topic. For example, your boyfriend will share his thoughts about couple time and about going out with friends. Then you repeat what you understood his points to be. This is not about whether you agree or disagree; it's about understanding his view. Then the two of you switch and you become the speaker and he becomes the listener, repeating what he understands your view to be. This first step is successful when each of you can repeat the other's perspective without judgment or trying to impose your view on the other.

The next step is to identify what is the truth in both people's perspective. Once steps one and two are complete, you are ready for the final step, problem solving. In this step, you and your boyfriend come up with a list of questions to resolve. For example, will couple time be one night a week, twice a month? Will it be just for the two of you or can other couples join you? Are couple nights a stay in or a go out? What are conditions for rescheduling couple nights? After you work through you list of questions for your couple time, you can then move to guys and girls night out. Will this be one night or two nights each weekend twice a month? Are there rules each of you agree to such as no touching members of the opposite sex, or no engaging in activities that we each wouldn't do if the other was there, etc?

People are more likely to be willing to work on a solution when they feel heard and understood. By practicing listening and understanding, you and your boyfriend are working as a team.

~~Lori

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How Do You Resolve Conflict in a Relationship