Conflict Resolution

Conflict, disagreement, and even fighting can be part of healthy relationships--of course not everyone will agree all the time! However, you should be treated with respect by your partner at all times, even during an argument. If your partner is being verbally abusive, mocking you, etc, draw a line--this is not arguing in a respectful or constructive way. Visit our types of abuse page for information on manipulative/abusive behaviors to watch out for, and use these tips to handle conflict respectfully.

  • Consider what it is really at the core of the argument. Most arguments are about needs not being met--for instance, this fight might be about your partner not doing the dishes, but perhaps the core issue has more to do with concerns about compatibility in living habits.

  • Use active listening (see our communication section for tips) to make sure you are really hearing your partner--try rephrasing what they are telling you (i.e. “So, what I’m hearing is it that you feel disrespected when I am late to our dates”)

  • Consider what issues are too important for you to compromise on or what principles or morals you are not willing to sacrifice in a relationship--i.e. drinking/drug use, spending time alone, living far away/close to your family, etc. How does this affect your compatibility with your partner?

  • Take a break to cool down if you need to--practicing healthy conflict resolution is really difficult when emotions are high. Before leaving the argument, it can help to remind both you and your partner of your commitment to each other--agree to reconvene later and maybe try to do something small to reaffirm your care for them.

  • Try to keep a larger perspective whenever possible. You may be angry with your partner or disagreeing with them right now, but this does not have to mean that you do not love or care for them.

  • For more help with healthy conflict resolution, and examples or what conflicts can look like in an unhealthy relationship, check out this page at: Love is Respect.