“A partner’s lateral move is usually the result of two or more events that occur in sequence: either the conflict between the partners develops into a crisis, or the client discloses a problem that requires resolution in order for the relationship to continue.” Why is this? Well, I’ll give you my answer in just a moment. We need to remember that each relationship is unique, and therefore needs to be treated as such. This is why a conflicts check is so important!
“A partner’s past actions give us an insight into the prospective future. What kind of person does she/he want to be? Do we know? Do we have a way of knowing? This information gives us a roadmap into the future, and a partner who wants to stop hurting our relationships is likely to want to work on it.”
The first step in resolving a conflict is awareness. You must both be aware that there is a problem, and you have to figure out how to fix it together. In a nutshell, this may include asking yourself questions such as: “IS my partner genuinely interested in learning new things from me? Is he/she trying to impress me through her behavior?”
If you think you know the answer to any of the questions above, then keep reading. In order for you to truly understand your partner’s motive, you will need to spend time with him/her. Set up a date, and see if there is a spark. Do you realize that a lot of the time in fixing a conflict, the solution is found with the person you are having trouble with? It’s not that the other person doesn’t care; it’s that they may be trying to do something that would make both of you feel better.
If you do decide that your partner is trying to impress you with his/her behavior, then it is important to know that you can check it. It is possible to do on your own, and if you have the resources (books, coaching, etc.) it can also be done easily with a support group. It may take some effort to find a partner that you can trust, but if you persist, the results will be worth it.
One last step, before deciding to step out on your partner: make sure that you know your partner well enough to recognize when he/she is acting out of line. If you don’t know your partner at all, then this may be impossible. On the other hand, if you know your partner intimately, then you may be able to tell when he/she isn’t happy or feeling neglected. There is a big difference between having a genuine conflict and one where you are simply annoyed. Sometimes one of the partners is frustrated at not being able to get ahead and is seeking revenge–a conflict that you should be able to identify, since it may actually create more tension than healing.
Step two: if you have identified the problem, resolve it. If you have tried talking to your partner and he/she just doesn’t want to discuss it, then it is time to end the relationship and move on. If you have decided that the best way to resolve the conflict is by stepping away, then that’s where you should start. If you have tried talking to your partner and he/she just doesn’t want to talk about the conflict, then it is time to end the relationship and move on.
Why a conflicts check? Because if both partners can agree on the reasons for the fights, then it is possible to come up with compromises that will benefit each of you. This is very important because often the real reasons behind fights are much deeper than meets the eye. Learning what those deeper reasons are will help you overcome them and make your relationship a happier, more fulfilling experience.