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Transforming relationship conflict into understanding.

Generally, every relationship has about 5-10 issues that come up on repeat over time. Ask yourself if these issues are deal breakers or inroads to deeper understanding.

Sometimes conflict doesn't mean the end of a relationship.

Not all relationship problems are solvable, but that doesn’t mean you and your partner(s) aren’t compatible. Generally, every relationship has about 5-10 issues that come up on repeat over time—just in different flavors. Maybe you were raised to view finances differently, and this challenge rears its head every time you’re faced with a major financial decision. Perhaps you and your partner(s) desire sex in different ways or on a different schedule, and the pain around this discrepancy resurfaces on and off throughout the relationship.

Unsolvable problems aren’t necessarily an indication that a relationship should end; more likely, they call for a shift in perspective. They call for each partner to step into the others’ shoes and empathize, to find ways to regulate their anxiety when compromising, and to communicate frustration or grief in a way that their partner can understand.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for a relationship is “give up” on external solutions and “start up” on shifting our internal framework. Relationship success hinges not on how many problems a relationship has, but what members of that relationship do when they hit a wall in conflict. You can either keep hitting up against that wall, or—if this is a relationship worth keeping—you can make yourself at home in the space you’re in.