Gentlemen, these tips are for you. Women often have different perspectives and ways of resolving conflict compared to men. Also, the nature of the relationship you have with her will determine how you communicate; be it a business colleague, neighbour, relative, or stranger in the street. Yet when it comes to resolving conflict with your woman, your wife or significant other, it’s more important to do it well. There is more at stake when it’s your life partner. So these tips are designed to ‘open up a perspective’ on how to resolve conflict with your woman.
As an initial response to conflict, don’t get defensive.
It’s noble to want to protect her or feel responsible for her happiness, yet a gut instinct of defending yourself from being blamed puts you at a disadvantage. It may not be about you personally when she is expressing a criticism. If you first assume a defensive attitude, it may create a big misunderstanding that perpetuates. It takes you off course from actually resolving the conflict and it may create bad feelings between both of you. Also, if you go into defensive mode, your brain flips into emotional, knee-jerk reactions. It’s a fact. In the moment of stress and high emotion, our brains disengage from our reasoning abilities. It’s harder to see things rationally or objectively when in the emotional moment.
Don’t try to fix it, try to understand it.
Men, you do have a drive and capability to fix things. Remember, emotions are rarely clearly defined, people are different, and it’s hard to ‘fix’ something we can’t all agree on. Yet when it comes to conflict resolution, one of the biggest complaints from women is that their partner tries to ‘fix it’ when she simply wants or needs him to hear her out for the purpose of understanding. As you’re trying to fix the problem, she may feel it’s rude and disrespectful to not even allow her to get it off her chest. As we all know, sometimes just by being able to vent about a problem – half of it disappears just by being able to express it. So men, maybe she needs your strength as a supportive ear; a good listener. And as a bonus to this tip, if she feels that you are a good listener, it’s a great aphrodisiac.
Avoid blaming her ‘emotions’ as the cause and affect of the conflict.
Whether that’s the case or not, this tactic rarely works. How someone ‘feels’ is a bi-product of a specific problem or misunderstanding that has caused the conflict. And if the conflict is ignored or not resolved, it just snowballs. Emotions are not wrong per se, and sometimes we don’t choose them. Sometimes people just ‘feel’ a certain way. Yet if emotions get really raw ‘during’ your conflict resolution, it may be wise for both of you to respectfully take a break and revisit it later. As another perspective, if you blame her emotions for the conflict, it’s a weak defense. It can also be a cheap shot in trying to detach completely by blaming the whole thing on how somebody else ‘feels’ about it. It’s also a weak defense that is sometimes used as a tactic when somebody is actually caught doing something wrong. It’s a lot easier to blame the other person’s emotions than to fess up. Yet most importantly gentlemen, never, ever, ever blame it on hormones. Just trust me on that one.
Your relationship with your partner is so important. And effective conflict resolution can nurture the loving relationship you deserve.