Conflicts Can Be...Romantic? - Retirement Net by Judith Sherven, PhD and James Sniechowski, PhD

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Conflicts Can Be...Romantic?

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They can be when you give up the idea that winning is most important

Posted May 6, 2011

Romantic conflicts are as common as: money, sex, in-laws, holidays,feeling ignored, vacations, enough time together, lack of listening, dirty fighting, the “right way” to do things, “you just don’t get It,” and on and on...

And whether you’ve been together for years and years, or you’ve become a couple just recently, no doubt both of you have your own unique trouble spots that make conflicts even more confusing.

Add to that the entrenched ideas about “reality” that can come with more and more years on the planet and conflicts can seem like “life-or-death.” And conflicts can easily be the death of what would otherwise be a wondrous experience, if you do treat them that way.

That’s why we offer 5 keys to a romantic outcome when you know how to resolve your conflicts in a way that benefits each of you and your relationship.

1. You are both right...and you are both wrong
Each of you brings some piece of the truth about the conflict, and each of you brings some distortion. If there were no distortion there would be no conflict.

Furthermore, you are dead wrong if you believe that your lover’s point of view is “ridiculous” or “stupid” or any other dismissive comment. That denies your partner’s right to be unique in their own right.

Remember, the other person is not you. Nor has the other person lived the same life you have. And your conflict is simply a natural outcome of your differences clashing.

2. There’s magic in your differences
Because each of you is unique, you won’t always see things the same way. That’s guaranteed! But there is powerful and very romantic magic in your differing points of view.

How? When you find yourselves in conflict, that’s the chance to share each of your own hard-earned wisdom about life and love and the specific situation you’re caught up in, so you can find a resolution together that enhances the well-being of your relationship. That will always produce a richer, deeper, and more intimate understanding of yourselves, each other, and your life together. That’s the magical value of conflict.

3. Don’t try to win!
Why would you want to triumph over the person you love? No one likes to lose and the winner never really wins because the other person just gets you back in the end anyway. Where’s the prize in that?

A conflict is like an SOS, a signal that something’s not working and must be attended to. This view of conflict offers the chance for you both to get your feelings and needs on the table so you can examine what needs to be changed—for the benefit of your being together.

4. Give up “Me, me me!” And that goes for both of you!
We all have the impulse to think that our way is the right way. The only right way. But a relationship between two mature adults offers the magical and spiritual opportunity to grow beyond that adolescent point of view of “me, me, me” to learn to include your partner.

There’s a surprising paradox in that—because the more you can listen to and understand your partner, the more you will be heard and understood. When you stop focusing exclusively on yourself, more of what you actually want will be available.

5. You get to be loved for who you really are
When you resolve conflicts, keeping the well-being of your relationship as your primary goal, you continually rejoice in being together as individuals. Each of you remains unique in your own way, committed to being present, and, at the same time, you increasingly learn to include your partner’s ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving.

You keep discovering that you feel closer and closer for having worked through whatever conflict you just ran into. And increasingly you can trust that you are loved for being who you really are. Now that’s romantic!

Judith & Jim are the best selling authors of five relationship books and co-founders of—the information hub for living to 120, 130, 150 and beyond. Get your Free Alert, “10 Dangerous Beliefs About Aging and How To Avoid Them” by going to


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