Conflict Can Be Healthy

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Should I try to avoid all conflict in my relationship?

Conflict Can Be Healthy

"I don't know what the problem was. We never fought!" Couples therapists hear this over and over -- often from spouses who've been dumped.

Of course it's not healthy if the two of you regularly go after each other with steak knives. Yet the healthiest and most lasting relationships allow both partners to express dissenting viewpoints, discuss areas of disagreement, and resolve disputes together. These partners are skilled at managing conflict so that the results aren't one-sided.

It's unreasonable to expect that you and your partner will never disagree, or that one of you will always be happy to bow to the other's wishes. A fair fight -- that is, a discussion in which the two of you disagree about something, whether it's what movie to watch or whether to have kids -- can be an intimate learning experience, helping you understand your partner better and feel heard and understood in return.



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Jerry Mayo