“We never fight” – Why your relationship may be in trouble
If you pick up any book on relationships, it’s likely that there will be a lot of reference to couples who argue a lot. It's widespread belief that they are in the most trouble. The ones that are constantly bickering and never seem to find common ground. These couples are the most common presenters to relationship counselling. They seek couples therapy to learn skills to communicate more effectively. At the very early stages, they really need that third person there to provide a lot of structure so things don’t blow up.
There’s another type of couple though who seem to fly under the radar. They would benefit from relationship counselling as much as the conflictual couples. They don’t get much attention in the relationship survival books. They seem to present to therapy more regularly following extramarital affairs or when contemplating ending the relationship. You know the ones? They seem to have everything together. They’ll report proudly “we never fight” or "things are always pretty easy with us". You’d be forgiven for thinking that their relationship was pure sunshine and roses.
However, it’s all a bit of an illusion…. A bit of conflict in your intimate relationship is extremely healthy! It serves a purpose and if it's not there - your relationship may be in trouble.
Most people think that no fighting in relationships is a good thing. Conflict can be hard, scary and confusing. But the alternative may be much worse. Choosing to sweep things under the rug and continue to ‘keep the peace’ often leads you to feeling distanced from your partner. When you don’t talk about the important stuff, you can’t be authentic with each other. You start to hide what is really important to you.
Those who avid conflict don't get to know their partners as well as couples do when they are more open to exploring emotional difference. Avoidance of any form of difficult conversations leads to increased distance in the relationship with long term conflict avoidant couples at risk of relationship challenges such as affairs, addictions and mental health issues.
Allowing yourself to express your real feelings leads to greater trust and security in your relationship. No communication of feelings means you never really know what your partner is thinking or feeling and can result in uncertainty or a sense of loneliness and isolation. These kinds of patterns long term, can lead to individuals developing an inner hidden world and increase the risk of turning to others outside of the relationship romantically who they feel comfortable to reveal their true self to.
Yes, it can be anxiety provoking to talk about the hard stuff. It might feel like a big risk to you to bring up certain things. You might be worried about how they will react or if it will end in a big fight. Continuing to avoid though could result in going weeks, months or even years of not opening up your true, raw, honest and open self with your significant other.
Relationship counselling can offer a safe space for conflict avoidant couples to explore ways that they can communicate their true thoughts and feelings to each other. It can help teach skills to express difficult emotions such as anger and frustration in helpful ways without making the relationship feel like it should end.
Contact Monique at Ritual Counselling today to see if relationship counselling may be able to help you.