A relationship is an experience that directly or indirectly influences virtually every aspect of life. Obviously, this is positive, as emotional and physical support is incorporated into so many aspects of daily life. However, it also means that conflicts in relationships can come from many directions.
In this article we will see what are the main types of conflicts in a relationship, and the different forms of intervention used in couples therapy to provide them with a solution.
Common types of conflict in relationships
The main types of conflict treated in couples therapy can be grouped into these categories.
1. Jealousy in the relationship
Jealousy is one of the most common sources of discomfort in those who have problems in their relationships, especially among young people. These types of issues feed off personal insecurities, the desire to unilaterally control what goes on in the relationship, gender roles, and other aspects that often work in combination with each other.
2. Lack of time together
Poor organization and time management mean that many couples can barely spend a few hours a week in the company of each other. This lack of quality time together is often a problem in itself, and it also acts as a catalyst. of all the potential factors of discomfort in this relationship.
3. Differences in terms of future plans
Although in everyday life the experience of married life is centered in the present, it is inevitable that from time to time you will reflect on the implications of continuing this long-term relationship, and how that corresponds to expectations. of each on what he wants. to do with their own life. I when mismatches are detected in this area, anxiety and insecurity as to whether the relationship has a future arise.
For example, the extent to which you want to have sons or daughters can be divisive if there are significant differences in each person’s preferences; The same goes for everything about where you want to live, what level of income you want to have reached at a certain point in life.
4. Problems when assigning homework
These conflicts are often based on gender roles: Women tend to feel more pressure to take on “household chores” by default. However, these asymmetries can occur both ways in heterosexual couples, and the discomfort is especially intense when added to stress at work and lack of time to rest.
5. Lack of confidence due to infidelities
infidelities they almost always lead to a deep gulf in the emotional and coexistence dynamics, Generating a couple crisis. The fundamental aspect of these crises is usually the lack of trust in the other, the idea that it is no longer worth the trouble to continue to be involved in the relationship.
6. Differences in the extent to which we think about ourselves or in the relationship
If one person clearly tends to think more of themselves than the other in everything that touches the life of a couple, conflicts are expected. It happens in everyday life; for example, forgetting the relevant things the other person said over lunch, not remembering together an anecdote that was special at the time, etc.
7. Problems in the relationship with the relatives of the other person
This type of conflict with third parties can generate another conflict within the relationship, due to the tension of having to position oneself in relation to discussions, family commitments, etc.
8. Taboo themes in the intimate and sexual sphere
While the expectation in a relationship is trust and intimacy, it doesn’t always reach all aspects of life.; fear of talking about time issues related to sexuality and nudity in front of others can fuel insecurities and the habit of avoiding certain topics.
Strategies used in couples therapy
When it comes to helping people resolve these kinds of conflicts, couples therapy has several resources and strategies. These are the most used.
1. Use of discussion management techniques
Discussions don’t have to mean fighting; they can also be a way to solve problems that existed before, to reach a common ground in which the interests of both are respected.
2. Training in assertiveness techniques
Assertiveness helps us not to leave anything important in the inkwell and express what we feel whenever it matters, knowing that it may disturb the listener. The key is to find a balance between standing up for your own point of view and respecting and empathizing with the other.
3. Use of self-registrations
These personal diaries of emotions they serve to improve self-knowledge and learn to better manage (and channel) your own feelings.
4. Reorganization of values and priorities
Arrange to organize your own thoughts and interests it is essential not to let our doubts and insecurities hinder the development of the relationship, Since there must always be a number of commitments.
5. Training in the expression of positive feelings
It allows anything that makes the relationship a pleasurable context to come forward.; Not only is it important to see the positive aspects of the other, but you also need to let them know without the fear of exposing yourself in this way.
6. Detection of problematic thoughts and behaviors
Through collective and individual work, it allows people to detect these patterns of recurring behavior over time which indicate a mismanagement of the expectations and perception of the other. This is very useful in cases of jealousy, for example.
Are you looking for psychological assistance to solve relationship problems?
If you are interested in starting a couples therapy process, please contact us. Fr Psychoconsultation we work by offering strategies and techniques that allow us to learn new ways of connecting, communicating and managing emotions and their impact on emotional bonding and coexistence.
In addition, we work by offering individualized psychotherapy to overcome issues such as anxiety disorders, low self-esteem, time management, impulse regulation, etc. You can find us in our office located in Barcelona or take advantage of the online therapy that we offer.
- Blow, AJ and Hartnett, K. (2005). Infidelity in Committed Relationships II: A Substantial Examination. Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, 31: pages 217-233.
- Dattilio, FM and Padesky, CA (2004). Cognitive therapy with couples. Bilbao: Editorial Desclée De Brouwer.
- Mathes, E. (1991). A cognitive theory of jealousy. The psychology of jealousy and envy. New York: Guilford Press.
- Shackelford, TK; Voracek, M .; Schmitt, DP; Buss, DM; Weekes-Shackelford, VA; Michalski, RL (2004). Romantic jealousy in early adulthood and later in life. Human nature. 15 (3): 283-300.