How to Handle Discord in Your Relationship

How to Handle Discord in Your Relationship

MAUDE: We had an experience of disconnection the other day. Was this a conflict? No, although it could have become one if either of us had clung to these feelings and followed them down that road. We were slipping into old patterns, leftover stuff that isn’t even part of our relationship, stuff that neither of us feels in the present where we live our relationship. Some dragons of life gone by reared their heads, and for a brief while took over my experience of what is real. I speak for myself here because, although I saw the same happening for Phil, that is for him to describe.

My heart warmed observing how we each moved past this event to a place of trust and connection; of reaffirming we are on the same side and that we value resolutions that work for both of us. Our groundedness in the we/us is a clear path out of that illusion of discord.

As we were discussing what to share on how you can avoid this sense of separation in your relationships, this sense of disjointedness, I asked Phil what he would say to others about this, and he replied, “Don’t go there in the first place and if you’re in there, get out.”

So, where is “there”? “There” is where you feel at odds with the other person, where you forget the we/us sense and lose sight of the fact of being on the same side. It’s where you stop functioning from that deep bond and instead flounder around in some confusion of the mind. This place is tinged with fear and defensiveness.

How do you get out? It will be different for each person, but in every case, it involves not being attracted to this sensation of separateness. Return to your sense of surety in the connection and find your trust of that even if you are not seeing it in the moment. It involves a practice of looking inside yourself to find out what is going on with you, rather than thinking it is about the other person.

Once you get a hold of what’s happening inside you, share it with the other person in a non-accusatory manner, making sure you are talking about what you feel. The sharing of feelings free from blame brings an experience of the connection you have to the fore, de-escalating and softening the exchange rapidly. Encourage the other person to do the same. Listen with an open heart to how they feel. The sense of imbalance gives way to a return of focus on the joint desire for mutuality and of finding resolutions that feel good for both of you.Don’t just look at what the other person is doing; look at what you are doing too #quote #relationships Share on X

PHIL: The conversation was about how we can move forward on various projects that we want and need to do. During the discussion, Maude described how we don’t move forward because I get involved in work that demands all my attention, the latest being that of moving websites to a new server, and (as I recall), she thought that might be an avoidance thing.

We got into an almost “He said, she said” kind of working out what had happened, and did we need to go into the past and stuff like that. Afterward, on a walk, it almost felt like we weren’t on the same side for a moment.

We talked about it afterward, and Maude said:

We have a different experience of that because I came out in a different place than what you just described. I never suggested that what you were doing was an avoidance thing. That didn’t come from me. That’s what you thought I was saying, but I didn’t have any of that going on. What I thought was that you have to really look at all of the things and create what the priorities are, and I felt surprised at your choice of priority.

So we had different recollections of how the conversation went, and sparring over whose reality is the real reality is a divisive activity that I don’t care for.

My view on such disagreements is to not go there in the first place, and if you’re in there, get out. The first step is to recognize that you’re in it, because you can be in it without recognizing it, but once you do, then ask yourself what is going on. Don’t just look at what the other person is doing; look at what you are doing, too. Return focus to the idea that you have a joint life together, and that includes finding a resolution that works for both of you. So get about finding it.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: Get your ducks in a row!

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3 Comments on “How to Handle Discord in Your Relationship

  1. As I walk through each exchange with various people every day I see so many opportunities to depart from calm to distressing. I think it is such a human thing to slip into a temporary spin that questions the ground we stand on that moment. It’s easy to choose doubt. And question “why” and “what” may be happening. And think it’s the “”other” that’s driving it all. Certainly both people can slip at the same time…The world we are in is shaking us up. The “connection” between us truly relies on each of “us”. And while we might like to think we aren’t shaken up by all the daily details…We really are…Thanks for navigating the rough waters and sharing it with us… We are all subject to loose wires everywhere…!

  2. PS
    Who doesn’t have inner dialogues with inner conflicts? How blessed are those of us that are safe enough with each other to allow the process to unfold and discover the ever widening of understanding…Thank you for this format… allowing safe inner exploration with each other…

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