Archive for Conflict Resolution

Preparing for an unexpected winter storm got me thinking about all the couples I have worked with over the years whose relationships go into a deep freeze when conflicts arise. Why does this occur? Because these couples were left totally unprepared for conflict and lacked the necessary conflict resolution skills essential for handling these conflicts.

So many times I wish these couples would have been just a little more prepared for the difficulties and conflicts ALL relationships inevitably face – it is just a matter of time. Since “forewarned is forearmed” I decided to share with you in this week’s relationship advice ezine 3 Key Conflict Resolution Skills Necessary for avoiding a deep freeze in your relationship when conflict arises.

  1. Acknowledge the conflict exists. Sure, this might sound like common sense but believe me when I tell you how many couples I’ve helped over the years by showing one partner in a relationship that a specific issue is, in fact, a conflict. Many times it is just easier for one partner to be an ostrich and keep their head in the sand – the more difficult the conflict, the more tempting it is to avoid acknowledging it as one. Ladies, I know you can relate to this – how many times do you feel there is an issue in the relationship and your partner thinks you are just making a big deal out of nothing. If these false beliefs persist, the conflicts will never get worked through and will, most probably, just get worse.

It is imperative that both people acknowledge the fact that a specific conflict exists as the first step toward its resolution.

  1. Communication. Couples who are not “iced” out by conflict within their relationship know how to effectively communicate with each other. Many people mistakenly think happy couples do not experience conflict within their relationship. Nonsense. All couples experience conflict but it is the way the conflict is handled that will determines the happiness – and longevity of the relationship.

Communication is an essential relationship tool that holds the key for healthy conflict resolution.

  1. Prioritize your relationship over the conflicts within your relationship. You have the ability to make a conscious choice that whatever you and your partner are in conflict about is NOT more important than keeping your relationship together. You decide that your relationship is more important to you than proving yourself to be “right” to your partner. Do not dig your heels in and refuse to be reasoned with regarding the conflict at hand. Happy couples who are facing conflict on any given topic understand that whatever issue they are disagreeing about – this issue(s) is NOT more important than the relationship. This way, one partner in a relationship will not argue to the n-th degree to be “right” and “win” the argument at all costs – which might include losing the relationship.

Having these 3 conflict resolution skills will go a long way in preparing you for the conflicts that will inevitably arise in your relationship.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Conflict Resolution
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Most women love to shop. Truth be told, the holidays can be the perfect excuse for women to not only engage in – but ramp up into full gear – this favorite female pastime activity. Never mind that I, the bizarre person I can be at times hates shopping. (I know, this alone should throw me out of the club called “womanhood” forever.) Although I hate shopping, I find myself spending a ton of time and money shopping during the holiday season; and like the rest of you, I suspect I spend more time shopping during the holiday season than at any other time during the year.

This means we spend more money during the holidays than any other time of the year as well. And therein lies the rub for most relationships – fighting about money rearing its ugly head once again – but now it gets even uglier because the fighting takes place during the holidays and this time it usually centers around how much money we are spending on gifts, decorations, food, etc.

How do we avoid fighting with our partner about the amount of money we spend during the holidays?

Do you spend out of control and way over budget – and not say a word about it to your partner? Do you just wait until the credit card bill arrives in late January and then have a huge blow out fight?

Or do you pay cash so your partner doesn’t know how much you really spent on the Coach handbag you bought for your niece?

Maybe you don’t even realize how much you are spending on your holiday purchases because you truly get caught up in the spirit of the gift-giving season.

Whatever your style of shopping and spending money might be, here are a few of Dr. Patty Ann’s Relationship Tips for Avoiding Money Fights during the Holidays – or when the credit card bill comes due.

  1. Speak with your partner and agree on a Budget before you even think about shopping for anyone on your list. I know, I know, it sounds boring and the Holidays are all about giving, but remember, less can be more. Really.
  2. Make a list of people you and your partner have agreed to purchase gifts for this holiday season and stick to the list. Do not add names as you go along. If you didn’t put the substitute teacher on the original gift-giving list you and you just remembered them while in the store – do not buy a gift for them. If you really, really, really want to let this substitute teacher know you are thinking about them during the holidays, bake them a pie or give them a call and let them know you are thinking of them. Believe me, we all realize what a precious commodity time is for everyone – especially during the holidays; and people will appreciate the fact that you took time out of your hectic holiday schedule to think of them.
  3. Avoid impulsive purchases. Just because something is on “sale” it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If the sale item is over-budget for the person you would be buying this gift for – do not buy it. It doesn’t matter that the item is on sale. Walk away from it. The receiver of the gift will never know you passed on that great pair of earrings you thought had their name written all over it.

In my work with couples I have found that a little bit of pre-arranged conversation and budgeting between you and your partner will go a long way in avoiding holiday money fights – before, during and long after the holidays.

Finally remember, it doesn’t cost us a dime to show people your love and affection for them. So try to remember “less is more” and time spent together is the type of spending Dr. Patty Ann recommends during the holiday season!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

The holidays are just around the corner and you feel as if your relationship might break up soon. If this happens, you will be stuck spending the holidays alone – no kiss for you under the mistletoe! To prevent this from happening and keep your relationship together for the holiday season I have decided to show you five effective and very do-able relationship tools you can use now to prevent a relationship break up.

1. Take a time out from each other. If your partner has just told you they want to break up, or want a divorce – or if you feel this way – take a time out from each other to gather your thoughts. When emotions run high, our ability to think rationally often goes right out the window. So take about a week or so to think about your relationship in totality.

In other words, remember why you fell in love with your partner in the first place and focus on the positive aspects of your partner, and your relationship. We don’t realize how we get so caught up in the negative aspects of our relationship – allowing us to forget about all the positive aspects. Take time to regroup your thoughts and feelings and revisit your relationship after this time out period with a new mindset. Think about respectful ways to approach your problems with your partner once you have reunited and see each other again.

2. Look in the mirror. Take a long hard look at the issues you have brought to the difficulties you are having in your relationship. We get so caught up in what annoys us about our partner; we often forget that we are not exactly a walk in the park to live with either. We all bring our own emotional baggage into our relationship from our past relationships and childhood. As I tell couples I help make up when they are on the brink of a break-up: “there is no such thing as a one-handed clap”. Sure it takes a while to work through our own baggage, but acknowledging our issues to our self – and our partner – will go a long way in making your relationship work.

3. Tackle the issues creating conflict. Many times we ignore conflict in our relationship hoping the issues will just go away. It just doesn’t work that way. The longer we ignore conflict/issues in our relationship, the deeper the conflict becomes. Ignored conflict(s) in our relationship acts like an untreated wound. Left untreated long enough, your minor wound may end up getting infected, leading to more serious complications. So address the issues in your relationship once you have taken a time out from each other, and acknowledge the issues you bring to the problems in your relationship.

4. Prioritize the relationship. By the time couples are ready to break-up, they have been spending less and less time together. Not spending enough time with each other is often what creates many problems in your relationship to begin with. This problem is so easy to solve. Schedule and prioritize time together. Two important rules apply to these date times – you must be able to have a conversation (taking a walk, going to dinner, etc) and you are not allowed to discuss problems in your relationship during these “dates”. The point of these scheduled times together is to re-create the positive feelings which have been lost (or are significantly diminished) in the relationship.

5. Act now! In other words, don’t wait for issues to solve themselves by brushing them under the rug and hoping they will go away. And you all know what I mean. Take action right now to begin repairing your relationship. It can be a small baby step, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Doing nothing about the problems in your relationship insures nothing in your relationship will change. So take action on all of the steps mentioned above and you will be well on the way to laying the foundation for a make up – instead of a break up.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life!

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Conflict Resolution
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