In my last post, I wrote about uncontrolled conflict and the toxicity it brings to an intimate relationship. I suggested at the end of that post that high-conflict relationships are probably better off avoiding conflict in the near-term for the sake of their relationship.
In the long-term, however, avoiding conflict isn’t any healthier than uncontrolled conflict. Eventually, one or both partners will tire of their inability to get their needs met, and the relationship will die – even if they choose to stay together.
Characteristics of Conflict Avoidance
Here are some of the characteristics of conflict avoidance:
- Disagreements never or rarely occur in the relationship
- When there is a disagreement, one or both of partners quickly retreats to safer topics without engaging in the issue
- One or both of partners resents the other one for things but will not actually say it out loud
- Partners rarely, if ever, discuss how one another’s behavior makes each other feel
- One or both partners engages in subversive behaviors to get their way, but they rarely ask directly for what they need in the relationship
Do any of these things sound familiar in your relationship? If so, you may be avoiding the painful aspects of uncontrolled conflict in your relationship, and that could be saving you from the damaging effects of angry confrontation. Yet, it is not helping you to build intimacy, closeness, and connection.
My next post will be a recipe for dealing with both uncontrolled conflict and conflict avoidance so that you and your partner can begin connecting safely and finding your way to resolving your differences constructively.