I hear many people talk about their ideal relationship and it always involves minimal conflict, disagreement, and never going to bed angry. While that would be lovely, I don’t think that’s actually possible and I believe that the strongest relationships actually do need disagreement in order to learn and grow and exercise compromise.
I had partners who always tried to avoid conflict by compromising their own interests instead of telling me they would rather do something else. I also had partners who would twist any sort of argument to be my fault and that lead me to believe that it was me that was the problematic partner in the relationship. Both of these scenarios are common and wrong.
My most successful relationship was my last one. It was short, about 6 months with less contact than I would have liked given the program we were in, but we made it work. We were very different, but I think we were very smitten with each other regardless of our differences.
I want to interject the fact that I hate conflict. I don’t like confrontation or arguments; HOWEVER, I won’t back down if I feel like a conversation needs to be had. I understand that while it makes me uncomfortable, the relationship will be more uncomfortable if I don’t speak up.
So, this 6 month relationship with this beautiful woman was a dream in terms of communication and respect. I never felt disrespected or taken advantage of. I always felt safe and open to voice any concerns or thoughts. This hasn’t always been the case.
When there were things that arose as potential problems, we were quick to talk about it and “clear the air”. That was hard work for me. It was easy in terms of it was easy for me to open my mouth and speak words; however, it was difficult for me to get over the fear of confrontation ending in the termination of the relationship.
Oftentimes, conflict seems like the end of something, but it’s just a bump. It’s an opportunity for growth, for learning, and for better understanding your partner and your relationship.
This previous girlfriend taught me that and I love her for that. I am now far more comfortable having conversations sparked by a possible issue in my relationships (both platonic and romantic). I understand that disagreements don’t have to be explosions, and they don’t have to cause the relationship to implode, so it’s okay to have them.