How is your relationship with your partner going? Is everything going smoothly or have you been tirelessly arguing recently?
Sometimes, you may think it is not working anymore. You may presume that the love is gone and being in the relationship became a routine, just an obligation. But, it should not be like this!
Sort out what is going on. Figure out both the cause of the conflict and ways to deal with it properly. There are times when you need to evaluate your ways in solving relationship problems. At times, simple issues are becoming complicated because of mishandling the situation.
Being in a relationship takes a lot of adjustments. It is because each one of us has a unique personality. We vary in how we react to certain matters. Sometimes, we have clashing beliefs and culture.
You may dislike what your partner enjoys doing and vice versa. You have your own personal preferences. You have your own ways in dealing with matters. But, being in a relationship is not just about “you.” It is about “we or us.” So, to make a relationship work, you and your partner needs to be in one team. In whatever struggles your relationship is going through, both of you should have mutual decisions and actions. You may use the 6 steps in solving relationship problems below to keep you guided:
6 Steps In Solving Relationship Problems
Solving Relationship Problems Step #1. Think straight, don’t overreact or under-react.
When confronted with issue, mind your reactions. Most of us would have outburst emotions before even knowing the complete detail of a certain situation. Or sometimes, we don’t react and appears to be not interested about the incident, which is often interpreted as the “I don’t care.” response. Keep in mind that your reaction matters for your partner.
- Stay calm, the emotional mind reacts 6 seconds quicker than the thinking mind so stay calm by focusing on your breathing.
- Check your self-talk for unhelpful thinking and beliefs.
- Use a coping statement.
- Use a scale of 1 to 10 to determine how important the issue is.
It might be difficult to stay calm in unlikely situations. So, learn and apply relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercise before sorting out the details of the situation and eventually giving your feedback.
Likewise, be aware of your self-talk. What do you tell yourself when you’re confronted by relationship problems? Do you always say, “I had enough! This relationship is not working.” ” I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore”, try to remember and reflect. Negative self-talk won’t help. It will fire up your emotions more and will defeat your goal of solving any conflict. Change your perception and use coping statements. Try telling yourself “We want this relationship to work, and we can make it through. Our love is bigger than the problems.” And, don’t forget to remind yourself of how much love you have for each other.
Learn to assess the importance of the issue as well. If it is not significant, then don’t dig it up further and stop bothering yourself about it as much as possible
Solving Relationship Problems Step #2. Communicate effectively.
Communication is a major factor, particularly in solving relationship problems. Always remember that communication is a two-way process. Make sure that each one of you would have a chance to talk and then listen or vice versa. Sometimes, everybody just wanted to talk and nobody listens, which makes the conflict even worse. Also, learn to validate each other’s perspective. Validation doesn’t mean agreeing. It means that you understand your partner’s perspective.
- Use “I” statements, When you did X(a behavior), I felt Y and the impact was Z.
- Listen to your partner’s perspective.
- Validate your partner’s perspective.
Solving Relationship Problems Step #3. If relevant, make a request.
A relationship is not a guessing game. If you need something to happen to make things work, and then discuss it with your partner. Mostly, we rely on assumptions. We may say, “He/she knows that already but doesn’t care about it.” You may ask yourself again: “Is my partner aware about this?” Maybe, you need to remind him/her at times. A simple request would be helpful. But kindly note, a request won’t be 100% granted unless if it is acceptable to both parties. So, be open-minded for an alternative solution.
- Make a clear, specific, and positive request.
- State what you would like to see happen.
- Acknowledge that you have the right to ask you partner to do/ stop doing something and that your partner has the right to make a choice about this request.
Solving Relationship Problems Step #4. Start problem-solving together:
You need to solve the conflicts together. The solution must either be beneficial to both of you or at least won’t compromise anyone’s interest. List down all the possible solutions you can think of and weigh the advantages and disadvantages for each. This is a trial and error stage. So, avoid blaming each other if one solution doesn’t work. Simply, try other alternatives.
- Think up as many possible solutions to the problem
- No criticism, no questions, no explanations → evaluate later
- Look for a win-win solution: one that meets everyone’s needs.
Solving Relationship Problems Step #5. If necessary, stop arguing:
Emotions may flare up when discussing ways in solving relationship problems. Sometimes, it is inevitable to have conflicting point of views. If anyone of you seemed losing temper already during the discussion, take a break first. Indulge into relaxing activities.
It is alright to exchange opinions, but arguing as to who is right and which solution is better can be critical at times. Consider your feelings when choosing a solution but don’t be overwhelmed by your own emotions. Always remember that making a decision at the peak of your emotion can be misleading and most likely biased.
- Stop discussion and start again when emotions have cooled down.
Solving Relationship Problems Step #6. Evaluate the solutions:
Evaluation is the last step in solving relationship problems. If the conflict was solved, then it means the chosen solution is effective. However, avoid giving impulsive speculations whether the solution is working or not without checking both the flaws and beneficial effects. If it gives only a temporary relief and later made the problem resurface, then re-evaluate and return to step 2.
- Come back and ask one another “Is it working?”
- If not, return to step 2.
P.S. “Problems arise from differences,
not from faults in the other person or yourself”
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