Top conflict styles for a healthy relationship

In a recent article on Psychcentral it is reported that individuals in a relationship adopt a variety of conflict styles. The style adopted by an individual has a bearing on the relationship. Styles mentioned in the article are:

The ||Avoidant||
Avoidant people minimize conflict as much as possible. They still interact with their spouse but avoid contentious issues. They think there is little to gain from getting openly angry, and that problems have a way of working themselves out if you just relax.

The ||Validating||
Validating people make certain that both sides are heard and that their partner’s views are appreciated. They believe in remaining calm and displaying self-control. They spend equal amounts of time validating others and searching for a compromise.

The ||Volatile||
Volatile people are usually more passionate, louder and more energetic; they don’t shy from a lively debate. They believe that differences are resolved by getting everything out in the open. Their intensity is often balanced with kind and loving expressions.

The ||Hostile||
The only non-functional style, hostile people can be described as destructive. In conflict they try to tear the other person down and at times stonewall all contact with their spouse. It’s hard to recover from a hostile conflict without some help I believe, Busby said. Hostility gets to a place where you scar people.

According to the article the success of a relationship is highly dependent on the pairing of the conflict styles. Some relationships last the lifetime while other move into red flag very quickly. The article mentions that the

Worst (Functional) Conflict Pairing
The worst functional mismatched conflict style is the avoidant-volatile pair. The good news is that it was the least common pairing in the study, representing a little more than 1 in 10 couples.

The Psychcentral article is based on a study published on Family Process journal using information from research on 2000 couples by researchers at Brigham Young University. It also provides indicators on which are Best Conflict Pairs as below.

Several combinations promote relationship health, and the key is that at least one of the partners is the validating type. The researchers note that it’s a skill that can be learned.

Validating types make sure that their partner feels understood and that both perspectives are attended to…. They are more likely to create a positive connection around that conflict.


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