Married and unmarried relationships couples attempt to communicate all the time. Sometimes those conversations are mutually enjoyable, nurturing, supportive and fun. Other times they turn into conflict leaving one or both partners feeling frustrated. This feeling can last for a short period. The couple can repair the negative feelings and get back to a loving connection pretty rapidly. Still, other couples don’t get over the negative emotions. Over time, the unresolved feelings can lead to more distance and disconnection, and eventually and break up or divorce.
Couples who navigate conflict successfully found a way to work through their issues in a win/win way. Couples who get stuck in conflict don’t. They get bogged down in interacting with each other in a way that is hurtful. Sometimes they say and do things to each other cannot be taken back. In other words, they make mistakes when they attempt to talk to each other. Frustrating and angry feelings are triggered and prevail.
There are common mistakes most couples make when they are inevitably in conflict. We have illustrated an example with a couple representing what we mean. This couple is not one know personally, nor a couple we have ever provided consulting. They are a composite of any couple anywhere who make these mistakes. We have provided a typical conversation this couple has when communication breaks down. See if you can recognize the communication mistakes they are making.