Conflict in relationships

Not every relationship is meant to be, but sometimes problems can be sorted by just talking things through. Working out if a relationship is right also involves working out what you’re willing to compromise. There are a few approaches to resolving problems which can help you to work out if it’s the right relationship for you.

This might help if you...

  • are in a relationship that you’re not sure of
  • are about to get into a relationship you’re not sure about
  • want to know more about resolving problems in a relationship
girl rolling her eyes while guy makes a plea

Rough patches

Most relationships have their difficult times, but what happens if you feel like you can’t fix it and nothing feels right?

It’s really important that you continue to monitor your relationship, no matter how long you’ve been together. Just because it was perfect when you first got together, doesn’t mean that things can’t change and become not-so-right anymore.

Working out if the relationship is right

In reassessing a relationship with another person you may want to consider some of these things:

Are you getting what you want from the relationship?
If being in a relationship with your partner isn’t making you feel satisfied or not meeting your expectations, it might be time to start asking questions. Make a list of the things you want out of the relationship and work out if those things can be worked on in your current relationship.

Are you willing to compromise?
Once you’ve made a list of things you want from a relationship, have a look and see what you’re willing to compromise on. Not all our expectations can be met by one person, so decide what’s really important and what you don’t care about as much.

Some qualities that people value highly in a relationship include:

  • trust
  • honesty
  • respect
  • quality time
  • affection.

If your expectations are not being met by your partner, then it might be time to reconsider whether you want to stay in the relationship.

What are the deal breakers?
If your partner means a lot to you and you don’t want to give up just yet, it is worth putting the time in to mend the relationship. However, if a person is treating you unkindly or not respecting your values and beliefs, then regardless of how much you love them, things have to change.

When it comes to balancing how important a person is to you with your expectations of them, there are things you need to keep in mind. Things that your partner might be doing that need immediate attention include:

  • making you feel disrespected
  • not being open and honest
  • disregarding what's important to you
  • verbal and emotional abuse
  • physical violence and abuse.

    It is not ok to be abusive. If you are experiencing violence it is worth talking to someone you trust like a friend, family member or counsellor. Have a read of the ‘Am I in an abusive relationship?’ fact sheet for more info.

    Resolving problems

    If you feel that a relationship is worth maintaining, you may just need to be clear about what problems you are having and try to find solutions.

    Before talking to the other person you may want to:

    • write down a list of your concerns
    • consider talking to someone not involved in the situation; they may provide a different perspective and help you sort things out for yourself
    • think about areas where you are willing to compromise
    • think of a time and space where you can talk about your relationship calmly and openly.

  • What can I do now?

    Last reviewed: 02 March, 2014
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