[Life] How Do I Manage Conflict?


30 Days of D/s, Relationships / Saturday, August 5th, 2017

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N.B: This blog post was inspired by an email from the Loving BDSM 30 Days of D/s. If you haven’t listened to their podcast yet please do so, you can also check out the website for great resources and links on how to listen or follow on social media.

For anyone who is reading most of what I post, you will know that a lot of my recent blog posts are inspired by the 30 Days of D/s emails from the Loving BDSM website. As regular readers and listeners of #ProudToBeKinky will know, while myself and Bakji do engage in D/s play it is in a scene only. So for subjects like this about conflict, it’s less about conflict within D/s and more about conflict within a relationship in general.

I don’t like conflict, I don’t like arguing and I don’t like being surrounding by negative emotions. As with the feelings surrounding discipline and punishment, which I wrote about in my last post, my need to have conflicts resolved quickly or even better avoided is due to how those feelings will affect my mental well-being.

There are many people who feel arguing is a healthy part of their relationship, there are many people who if you tell them you don’t argue as a couple will say ‘that’s not healthy’, I absolutely disagree. I think knowing what is healthy for your relationship is important, any relationship I am in would be unhealthy for me if it involved persistent arguments. I, therefore, tend to find partners who are of a similar mindset.

Twice I have been involved with people who liked to instigate arguments, nothing could be resolved calmly, and those interactions made me feel physically sick and mentally drained. I will not engage in these behaviours with people any more. I am quite capable of fighting my corner, but I’m also capable of doing it without it descending into anarchy.

This isn’t to say I always handle everything perfectly, I don’t. Sometimes I’m grumpy, sometimes I make assumptions, sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good, these can all lead to conflict situations quite easily. I’m lucky though that Bakji is much more likely to approach me about these situations calmly than to fly off the handle at me, which means conflict is usually sidestepped rather than us having a blazing row about it.

It has taken a fair chunk of time for us to become better at communicating which I will talk more about in another blog post, but essentially we deal with conflict by asking questions, hearing the answer and communicating what we need to do moving forward for the situation to not arise again.

I’m not for one minute saying this is how everyone needs to do things. If you’re a couple that thrives on clearing the air by having a good old shouting match, then who am I to tell you that you’re wrong. We all do things in our own way. Some people need time apart to gain some perspective, some people need to resolve together. All our methods of resolving conflict are valid.

The only thing I do believe is that we all need to learn what our partner needs when it comes to conflict resolution. Especially if it’s a relationship we treasure. If you need to leave the building to clear your head, and your partner doesn’t know this is your go-to conflict state, they may just feel abandoned. Likewise, if someone is asking for space and they don’t get it they are going to feel trapped and unable to process.

I think taking time to express to our partners how we personally need to proceed when conflict arises, at a time when things are calm and happy can make a huge difference in how things go when conflict situations actually arise. We quite often learn another side of someone when we engage in disagreements with them, and it’s not always pretty.

For me, there are a number of behaviours that would be deal breakers for me if exhibited by a partner as a normal part of their conflict state. I’m not saying everyone needs to have such a hard line on how they are prepared to navigate disagreements, but I do think it is absolutely acceptable to know what does and doesn’t work for you in these situations and to work with your partner to make sure that you come through conflict stronger as a pair and not weaker.

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