Relationship Dilemma Remedies

A Blog About Solving Common Relationship Dilemmas

Discover Ways to Stay Calm Even in Conflict

Every couple has differences.  Some of those issues need to be discussed while others will work themselves out over time and may not involve any conflict.

While there may not need to be a reason to fight about the differences, there are certainly reasons to have discussions and figure out ways to handle problems when you disagree.

With volatile couples, those who are quickly triggered and have trouble avoiding a fight, it is important to signal ways to recognize when either partner is getting flooded and take a time out so that they can calm down before having any kind of conversation about their disagreement.  Areas of conflict are handled much more successfully this way.

With couples, or maybe just half of a couple, who are more likely to run away from conflict, it is also important to recognize that the urge to run also comes from feeling flooded.  If you give yourself or your partner the time to calm down, then it is likely that you can find a way to talk about the problem.

Learning how to identify when you are flooded and calm yourself down is a skill that can be learned.  Learning this skill can make you a master at handling conflict.

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | arguments, conflict | Leave a comment

Proving Your Point Can Be Hazardous for a Relationship

Some people are able to remain calm during a disagreement while others avoid conflict completely.  Still others blow up quickly and seem to enjoy the fight.  Letting go of the conflict and the need to “win” or prove your point is hard for many but crucial for the relationship.

Jill and Jim fought a lot.  Their friends referred to them as “The Bickersons” and kept their contact with them as a couple to a minimum, especially when it included drinking.

While their fights did not include throwing things or hitting each other … yet, there was still a lot of passion and volatility.

Jim and Jill liked their passion.  It went quite well in their bedroom; however, it was pretty destructive to their feelings about themselves and each other and, now that they had 2 children, they were especially concerned about their style.

Both halves of the couple agreed that they could share equally in the escalation of the fighting.  They could agree on that when they were calm, that is.  Otherwise, things quickly deteriorated to blaming and accusing the other of being the aggressor.

Both also agreed that they knew each other’s “hot spots” and even confessed to using them to gain power in fights.  They also acknowledged that they really had difficulty resisting the fight when it started.  Both felt a need to prove their point or win the argument.

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June 1, 2011 Posted by | arguments, arguments, Avoiding conflict, communication, conflict, couples | Leave a comment

Running Away from Conflict

  • Do you immediately want to run away when your partner disagrees with you or makes a complaint?
  • Do you feel like nothing ever gets resolved between you and your spouse?

If so, you are not alone.  Many people have problems with conflict and will avoid disagreements at all costs.

Sandy felt like she could never get Jim to sit down and talk through a problem with her.  Whenever she disagreed with him, he would run away from conversations.  Heaven forbid that she would ever want to talk about their relationship!

Ellen grew up in a home where there was a lot of fighting.  Any time that Bill raised his voice, or she thought he raised his voice, she would cry and become very upset.  Bill was really frustrated because he thought that they were never able to get through any discussions and reach decisions.

While fighting is usually not good, NEVER talking things through and resolving differences is also unhealthy for relationships.  When couples don’t resolve issues, when one or both of them have the conflict avoidant style, they are more likely to grow distant from each other as they each feel frustrated, hurt and disappointed.

Men are more likely then women to run away from conflict; however, many women also become flooded with conflict and are prone to struggle with how to remain in difficult conversations in calm and productive ways.

Some people directly refuse to discuss an issue and will use comments like “You are being unreasonable and I refuse to talk with you about this” or “We never get anywhere when we argue and I am not going to talk anymore.”

Click here to read suggestions for how to get your conflict avoiding spouse to talk with you.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | arguments, communication, conflict | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week, September 13, 2009

Change the time of day or the location when having a disagreement or fight.  If you usually fight at night, get your partner to agree to only disagree during the daytime … and actually schedule a time for the conflict.  If you generally fight in the bedroom (one of the worst places to fight) then agree to move all of your fights to the kitchen … or out to the back deck.  If you have fought in every room in the house, then agree that all disagreements must be taken outside.

Changing the location and time can change the flavor and feel of the disagreement and help keep partners from falling into the bad patterns that caused problems in the past.

September 13, 2009 Posted by | arguments, conflict, couples | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week, July 19, 2009

Disagreement can be a good thing in a marriage.  When couples don’t disagree, sometimes it might mean that they don’t care enough to talk with each other.  Other times, it might mean that one or both of them don’t feel safe to truly express an opinion, disagree or stand up for him/herself.  Honor your differences and learn ways to talk about them in respectful ways.

Counseling Relationships Online

Couples Counseling of Louisville

July 19, 2009 Posted by | arguments, conflict, couples | Leave a comment

Conflict and Couples: Standing Up For Yourself

Remaining calm and hearing out your partner are not the only things that are important in relationships.  It is also important to find ways to stand up for yourself.  Giving in truly is not always the best response, even if it seems to keep the peace.

There are lots of drawbacks to giving in a lot.  The biggest one, of course, is that resentment tends to build as you discover that very little is going your way.

Tim grew up in a family that was loud and angry.  He often retreated to his room or to the garage just to get away from the yelling in his family.  He vowed never to have a relationship like that so he avoided any kind of conflict with Terry.  While Terry found that she often got her way, she also felt frustrated that Tim did not share his thoughts with her and she also noticed that he might go along with what she wanted but often did not seem very happy about it, sometimes even angry.

Tim needed to learn how to stand up for himself in calm, respectful, direct and firm ways.  Here are some of the things he said has helped him.

  • Tim learned to figure out in his own mind what his needs, thoughts or beliefs were.  He learned to understand what it was that was important to him and the reasons for this.
  • He began to hear and understand, even if he did not agree with or accept, Terry’s position.
  • Tim considered her opinion and determined if there was anything that she wanted or needed that he could agree with and accept.
  • He let Terry know that he heard her and respected her as a person but did not agree with her.  He told her that his ideas or desires were different than hers and directly and calmly explained them.
  • There were a few times that Terry tried to dismiss Tim, especially at first when she was not used to him disagreeing so directly with her.  At those times, he again stood up for himself by telling her that he felt dismissed and needed for her to listen to him.  There were several times that he had to do that, and eventually Terry learned that she could not always have her way about things.
  • There were even a few times that Terry continued to be loud and disrespectful and Tim told her that he was not willing to continue the conversation at that point.  He promised to come back to talk with her when they were both calmer and in a better place to listen to each other.

Tim got very good at sorting through the things that were important and that he needed to stand up for and what things were less important and he could lovingly let go and allow Terry’s needs to prevail.
Contact us at if you would like some coaching on how you can stand up for yourself.

Feel free to leave questions or comments here and maybe we can have some discussion about what has worked for you as you have learned to stand up for yourself.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | arguments, communication, conflict, couples | Leave a comment

Mastering Conflict: Stay In Charge Of Your Own “Buttons”

Are you able to stay with a disagreement and keep focused on the issue?

Do you find yourself having a hard time remaining calm?

Do you frequently take disagreements personally?

Do you find yourself reacting more strongly than you planned … maybe in response to old fights or old wounds?

0511tur_07zlexus_is350start_buttonMany people find that they have a hard time remaining calm and focused on one issue or problem when arguing or disagreeing with their spouse. Old “buttons” get pushed and it becomes hard to remain in the present. Feelings of hurt, disappointment, disrespect, being discounted or dismissed may emerge and lead to reactions and responses that have nothing to do with the issue at hand or to the gravity of the situation.

We all have to find ways to remain in charge of our own responses with our partners. This involves recognizing old tapes from relationships and patterns of the past that visit today. An awareness of old fears and hurts can be the first step toward helping to change this pattern.

Julia grew up with parents who had money to buy her lots of things; however, their time was limited and they had little interest in spending it with Julia. She developed the idea that she was not important and what was important to her did not matter. Julia cannot remember any times that either her father or her mother showed up for school performances or even teacher’s conferences. Julia felt like she pretty much reared herself. When Julia and Troy fought, she often felt dismissed if he did not agree with her or her point of view. While she “knew” that he was entitled to have a different opinion, when he did, she felt discounted and it was not until she could tie that reaction to the frequent one that she received, the message that she often got from her parents of not being important, that Julia was able to calmly listen and talk with Troy when they disagreed.

Gerald’s dad had very high expectations of his son and Gerald was never able to meet those expectations. His father was highly critical, rarely positive or complimentary with Gerald. No matter how hard Gerald tried to please his dad, it never worked.

When Marcia had complaints about Gerald or something that he had done, Gerald would immediately become defensive and accuse her of being critical of everything that he did. He was unable to really hear Marcia, even when she was able to softly and gently ask for something different or try to talk about a problem. Gerald realized that he “heard” his father in all of Marcia’s complaints, even though they were very different. As he was able to separate his reactions from his relationship with his dad and his response to Marcia, he was able to talk with her about a present issue without revisiting the old “programmed in” responses.

Do you have “buttons” that get pushed from old past or wounds? Are you able to recognize them for what they are?

Please share your thoughts and ideas about this with us.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | arguments, communication | Leave a comment