Managing Conflict in Your Relationships

Katie Wenger
Founder & Clinical Director 

Disagreements between you and your partner are inevitable. All relationships face some level of conflict, though they may vary in frequency and intensity. It’s important not to avoid these difficult subjects, and some conflicts may never be completely resolved. The important part is whether you deal with it in a healthy or unhealthy manner.  Today we’ll be discussing some tips to manage conflict in your relationships.

What causes conflict? 

Disagreements in relationships can arise from any number of issues, from the busyness of your lives, pressures from yourself and your partner, unrealistic expectations, conflicting long term goals, or even personality differences. Relationship conflicts are especially intense if the conflict arises from a difference in something you attribute to your self-identity. This can make each person feel very vulnerable or targeted. As a result, the couple is often stuck in a power struggle to “win” that they don’t know how to escape. So how do you manage this? 

Create a safe space.

It is important to be engaged and present when trying to manage a conflict. This allows for each partner to openly communicate about any issues in the relationship. A key component of this safe space is focusing on the dispute at hand without acting out with criticism or defensiveness. Remember to make space for both you and your partner about this conflict. It’s important that both parties feel listened to and heard to manage conflict. Rather than just trying to push your point across, be sure to understand your partner’s perspective as well. 

One common recommendation for a constructive conversation during a disagreement is to use “I statements” describing what you feel rather than “you statements” pointing out a character flaw. For example, instead of saying “You never listen to me!” use a statement like “I feel frustrated when my feelings aren’t heard or acknowledged”. 

Be direct.

Indirectly trying to express your feelings in a disagreement isn’t constructive for a relationship. Evading the topic, shutting down, or showing hostility will only slow your progress towards managing the conflict, and it won’t give your partner a clear understanding of what caused the issue. You can’t read each other’s minds! It’s best to directly address your partner with what’s bothering you, even if you feel it’s difficult to address. 

Look at the bigger picture. 

Some issues just might not be resolvable. Consider whether this conflict is really worth arguing over. Is it something small, like where to eat for dinner, or what show to watch? If it seems to be coming up again and again, look for a root cause of a bigger issue. If not, the little things are sometimes just worth dropping. On the other hand, if you’re arguing about something that will impact both your lives long term, such as having children, moving, or core values, it might be an issue of compatibility. You should not have to sacrifice your self-identity, dreams, morals, or goals in a relationship. 

Watch out for toxic behavior.

Keep an eye out for red flags when conflicts arise. While disagreements are bound to happen, constant arguing, and fights that spiral out of control indicate an unhealthy relationship. Conflicts should never be born out of a need to control. Furthermore, conflict should never result in insults, personal attacks, or contempt towards the other. These behaviors are signs of a toxic relationship. You should never feel like you’re walking on eggshells. If these behaviors escalate, it may be time to seek help. 

If you would like more information on how you can help a friend in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, please check out the US Department of Health’s Office on Women’s Health, or call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to get advice.


Healthy and nourishing bonds can add so much light to our life experience. Learning to properly manage conflict paves the way for true and lasting love that forms a healthy relationship long after the honeymoon phase. We hope these tips have been a helpful guide for managing conflict in your relationships Contact if you have questions or need guidance, or visit our website for more information about the benefits of Higher Fulfillment. 

photo of couple facing conflict

About Higher Fulfillment

I believe in allowing the emotional space to secure a healthy mindset and choose how you handle life’s obstacles. More peaceful days can be in your future. You can make positive change with the right exploration and guidance. Higher Fulfillment can help you get there…to your best self and best life.

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