6 Conflict Resolution Strategies For Couples Fighting Like Cats And Dogs
Conflict resolution strategies for relationships are now important more than ever.
In January 2023, when you were making your New Year’s Resolutions about your life and relationship, you probably never thought that you would be ready to call it quits.
Conflict resolution is no longer as simple as before.
In fact, you might feel further apart than ever before.
You might spend your time at home watching Netflix and playing games on your phone. Other couples find themselves shouting and yelling from morning until night.
Sometimes you may stay in separate rooms or parts of the house and hope you never bump into each other or see each other until it is time for bed.
Sometimes, people leave the house or retreat to their office for some peace and quiet.
You may be wondering, “Should I can file for divorce, move out, separate, or find a therapist to help us fix our problems?”
In my clinical practice, there’s been an increase in the number of fights among couples, who have stated that they are fighting over “stupid stuff”.
On the other hand, other couples shared how they’re fighting over serious differences and perspectives and they’re not sure if their relationship will survive after this period of time.
To successfully move back into “normal life”, here are 6 relationship conflict resolution strategies.
1. Find a competent marital therapist or coach.
Contact a therapist or coach immediately to address and discuss your issues.
Many therapists are seeing couples via teletherapy and can make an appointment within the week.
2. Suggest a timeline.
If you decide to seek counseling, you can suggest a timeline to determine if you will stay together.
For example, if you decide, as a couple, to seek counseling and you don’t start within 2 months, then you might need to reassess your relationship.
Or, maybe after starting therapy, you will reassess your relationship after 6 months.
3. Start noticing what you are arguing about.
You can ask yourself, “Were these topics that always existed in our relationship or did they begin during COVID or more recently?”
Some couples realize that since they were busy at work, they were unaware of the differences and challenges in their relationship.
Other couples communicated well together, but the stress of illness/death, quarantine, and work/loss of a job created a level of tension that was never experienced in their relationship.
4. Be supportive of each other.
Ask yourself, “Are we being supportive of each other?” For example, many of my clients are more anxious, stressed out, and are more sensitive and irritable at this time and are looking to their partner for extra support.
Therefore, you may need to learn how to address issues or help each other through these challenges.
5. Explore your options.
Prior to quarantine, some couples were already discussing the possibility of splitting up but were forced to stay together because of COVID-19.
If you were in this situation and endured feeling trapped and unable to leave, this is the time to explore your options.
Has anything changed? Do you want to take a few weeks away to explore your options before settling on a plan?
If so, do you have a friend or relative that you can stay with temporarily? If this appeals to you, speak with your partner to discuss your plans and goals for the time apart.
If leaving your home isn’t an option, can you separate somehow within the house? For example, one partner can stay upstairs and the other partner can stay in another bedroom or downstairs.
If you’re set on your decision to leave your relationship, it’s time to explore your options from a more permanent perspective.
And remember, if there are children involved, you need to discuss how to speak with them about this new arrangement and your plans for their care, among many other things.
6. Try to identify how you tried to resolve your differences and conflicts in the past.
Consider writing in a journal or taking a quiet walk to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship.
Since you have put time and energy into your relationship, you may want to consider reading a book or watching a podcast about relationships to determine if you can salvage it.
While still in quarantine, be cautious about making any major life decisions right now because sometimes people feel differently when they are not under a high degree of external stress.
However, if you find yourselves still fighting and disagreeing even after you got back to “normal life”, then you may need to consider other decisions and possibilities.
Learn what help is available and options are available to more effectively deal with conflict resolution, so you can determine the best decision for your relationship.