Detailed information about partner conflict can be accessed on the Relationships Australia website.
The information below is summarised from the Relationships Australia resources. http://www.relationships.org.au/
Managing Differences and Conflict
Differences of opinion are normal and can be enriching for a relationship. Some conflict in relationships is inevitable, but there are ways to handle conflict so that it is not destructive to you individually or as a couple.
People often get emotional and angry when they see their partner has different values, beliefs or expectations from them. We all need to understand and accept that between any two people there will be differences in ideas and expectations and, at times, conflict and strong expression of feelings.
Relationships usually become stronger if partners talk about these differences. Differences will be part of relationships, but they may be resolved through respectful communication.
All couples experience problems in one form or another - it's part of sharing your life with another person. The difference between relationships that flourish and those that don't is how well couples deal with the challenges and problems they face in their life together.
What does conflict in a relationship indicate?
Frequent conflict, most commonly expressed as anger, can indicate that all is not well for a couple, that some change is needed to keep their relationship healthy.
The key questions are
- "how can we manage not to hurt each other or our relationship when we have a row?" and
- "how can we learn from the conflict?"
Avoiding conflict could mean avoiding important issues which would be better faced and sorted out.
Conflict is a symptom - treating the symptom by patching things up without finding out its cause is unwise in the long-term.
Warning signs of a relationship breakdown
Noticing early warning signs of relationship breakdown can help a couple resolve conflicts.
Some early warning signs are:
- abandonment of joint activities - just living parallel lives
- recurring arguments that are never resolved
- feelings of ongoing dissatisfaction and unhappiness
- preoccupation with interests and activities outside the relationship by one partner leading to the other partner feeling neglected
- complaints of loss of feeling - one or both partner/s speaking of no longer being in love
- an affair - becoming emotionally and/or sexually involved with a person outside the relationship
- increased fatigue and reduced ability to meet responsibilities at work
- arguments over parenting.
When is a good time to get professional help?
Professional guidance and extra skills can often assist. If your relationship has some of the previously mentioned warning signs, it may be time to seek help. Counsellors can help you identify underlying problems and may be able to help you find ways to mend your relationship. Family dispute resolution practitioners (family mediators) can work with you to define practical issues and identify present and future needs.
The sooner that you act on issues, the easier they may be to resolve.
It is beneficial for couples to learn new ways of relating, communicating and resolving conflict.
In addition the CFA’s Welfare Services program may be the first contact point for people who are concerned about partner conflict. Remember, any CFA member or immediate family member can access Welfare Services at any time.
Welfare services are short term in nature. Members with long term clinical or complex needs will be linked to appropriate services where relevant, such as internal services (WorkCover or Volunteer Compensation) and external community based agencies.
- Peer support can be accessed through the Regional Duty Officer, Officer in Charge, Line Manager, the Peer Coordinator or via the CFA Welfare line (ph 1800 628 616)
- Chaplains can be contacted directly or by contacting Converge International on 1800 337 068
- Psychologists/Counsellors can be contacted directly by contacting PPC Worldwide on1300 361 008
If you have any comments about the Welfare Services programs, please email email@example.com
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