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Resolving a conflict

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What should we do when we have different needs from our relationship?
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When two people in a relationship have different needs, it can create tensions. You might prefer to spend time with your friends, while your partner needs to spend a lot of time with you. It doesn’t mean you don’t love each other! Take the time to express your needs and feelings. Then try to find solutions together that take both people’s needs into account. If each of you does your share, you’ll surely manage to find a balance.

Am I in an unhealthy relationship?
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If your partner shoves you, hits you, insults you, asks you not to see your friends anymore, or forces you to have sex, there’s no doubt that you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Nothing justifies violent behaviour. Despite yourself, you might love someone who hurts you. Tell yourself that we can’t choose our feelings but we can choose whether or not to stay in a relationship. If your relationship makes you suffer or you think it’s unhealthy, talk to an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher, counsellor, or member of the Tel-jeunes team.

He/she promises to make an effort but nothing changes.
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When we decide to be with someone, we choose to take them as they are, with all their defects and qualities. We don’t have the power to change someone else. If your partner’s defects cause too many problems or affect your happiness and well-being, ask yourself if this relationship is really right for you. Your partner may promise to change and make an effort, but it’s very hard to overhaul one’s personality! If you don’t see any changes, it’s possible the other person will never change. If you stay together, you have to accept that person as he/she is.

Types of conflicts

Normal conflict

Normal conflicts are part of daily life. You can disagree with another person, you might both get mad, but nothing between you is destroyed. You don’t start to doubt your feelings or your relationship and you’re both open to discussing the problem. Take the time to calm down and try to identify each person’s responsibility. Then, express your emotions and search for a solution together. With a little effort, you’ll manage to resolve the conflict.

Conflict of values

In a conflict of values, two people disagree about fundamental issues, such as fidelity, family, friends, trust, or respect. Sometimes it isn’t possible to reach an agreement. If you’re in this kind of conflict, take a break and assess the situation. To continue the relationship, you’ll need to make some major adjustments. One of you will probably have to compromise on his/her own needs to satisfy the other person.

Major conflict

If you’re experiencing a serious conflict that threatens your safety, well-being, or balance, talk about it right away to an adult you trust. If your relationship makes you scared, guilty, or anxious, that means it’s unhealthy for you. Violence is never acceptable, and jealousy, dependency, and control aren’t signs of love!

Fundamental principles for resolving a conflict

A problem between two people can rarely be settled by just one of them: resolving a quarrel or misunderstanding always requires efforts from both.