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Conflict In Romantic Relationship

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Georgia Perimeter

Conflict in romantic relationship

Conflicts in romantic relationship

Conflicts occur in our relationship when we find dissimilarities in our opinion. It is very natural that disagreements come to the relationships, and conflicts occur. There are no interpersonal relationships without conflicts (Wood 230). Conflicts may also come in romantic relationships. Now, what is romantic relationship? As Wood says, self-concept, proximity, and similarity are the three main things which have greatest influences on initial attraction. Personal identity is the first thing to observe, then comes the proximity. When people can give time to each other, they may find similarities between them, and those similarities may lead to a romantic relationship (Wood 254). In this research, I’ll talk about heterosexual romantic relationship. Conflict acts as an indicator of interaction between people. When conflict arises in romantic relationship, it necessarily does not indicate the relationship is in danger. However, conflicts may bring problems in our relationships if we fail to manage them properly. Thus, we should know how conflicts may harm in our romantic life and how we should deal with conflicts (Wood, 2002/2003).

How we respond towards the conflicts

There are many reasons that bring conflicts in our relationships. In romantic relationships, one partner becomes angry with other for several reasons. We need to handle the situations very carefully because no one can make us angry other than ourselves. We have our choices in a certain situation; we just need to pick the right choice (Page, 1998). For that, we need to know the responses to the conflicts. There are several ways to respond when conflict occurs. As Wood describes, Westerners response to conflicts can be of four types: 1. Exit response,

2. Neglect response,

3. Loyalty response,

4. Voice response.

These four can be classified as active or passive responses, or they can be divided as constructive and destructive responses (as cited in Rusbult, 1987; Rusbult, Johnson, & Morrow, 1986; Rusbult & Zembrodt, 1983; Rusbult, Zembrodt, & Iwaniszek, 1986).

When a person walks out or physically withdraws himself to resolve a conflict, exit response takes place. It may be voice exit, “I don’t want to talk about it”. This response towards conflicts is active and destructive because it is forceful, and it does not address problems. Neglect responses occur when a person does not admit the problems. Such a type of response may be like this “You are complaining too much; I can’t see any problems”. It is actively responded, but it is destructive towards the conflict. Loyalty is a passive and constructive response towards conflicts. It may be expressed by hoping or believing that conflicts will resolve automatically and remaining silent to partner. The last type of response is classified as constructive and active response named voice. When people want to talk about the misunderstandings, active response is occurred (Wood232-

233).

Cramer’s research on conflict style in romantic relationship

Cramer has done some research on conflicts in our romantic relationship over the last few years and found that dissatisfaction in romantic relationships is closely related to the differences in opinions and negative conflict styles (as cited in Cramer, 1998). Several other experiments support the point. Many researchers have found negative conflict resolution styles were associated with relationship satisfaction. In one of his research, Cramer has given an example of a 16-item Conflict Resolution Styles Inventory introduced by Kurdek (1994, 1995) that measures styles of problem solving. According to the example, the processes are positive problem solving, conflict engagement, withdrawal, and compliance (Cramer, 2000). We have already discussed the situations above. The aim of Cramer’s study was to determine the affect between relationship satisfaction and a negative conflict style in romantic relationships because of satisfactorily resolved or unresolved conflicts. He has done the research on some British students who were asked to answer several questions related to their romantic relationships .Cramer has found that the frequency of conflicts over minor issues increased with the length of relationship. When we adopt a more negative style of handling differences in opinion, conflicts increased with the length of relationship (Cramer, 2000).

Cramer has done another experiment on relationships satisfaction and conflict over minor and major issues in romantic relationships. Cramer has made a study if satisfaction of romantic relationship is similar for major and minor issues. Through his experiment, he wanted to determine whether negative conflict resolution in romantic relationships over minor issues was related over major issues. He ended with a decision below: the size of two correlations did not suffer significantly even though the satisfaction was more strongly related with conflict over minor issues than major one. In fact, it seemed to him that relationship satisfaction were associated with the way conflict is handled (Cramer, 2002).

Our responsibility towards romantic relationship to avoid conflicts

From the above discussion, it is obvious that relationship satisfaction depends on the romantic partners and their attitude to the relationship. We must know our responsibility to the relationships. Now, several questions may come to our mind about how we should go after a relationship. “Why should I work alone to keep the relationship together?”, “What will it be like to work alone?”, “How long it will take?”, or “exactly how should I work on the relationship by myself?”. We should work on these questions to find the solutions to resolve conflicts. It may seem unfair to work alone in a partnership of two. But it’s not common thing that two separate people will change at the same time. Again, if one partner kept waiting for another, the conflicts would never be resolved. Someone has to take the leading role. When

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