Saturday, May 12, 2007

Most issues remain unresolved in long-term relationships

Like A Man - a guide to men's emotional well-being (edited extract): Most of the issues couples fight over in long-term relationships remain unresolved, according to research in the United States by John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman. The Gottmans are leading figures in the area of relationship enhancement and breakdown. In their research, they came up with the surprising finding that even in successful, long-term relationships most of the issues on which the couple disagree remain unresolved.

What this suggests is that to demand that another person change completely is a waste of time and a source of aggravation. A partner whose attitude is ‘my way or the highway’ condemns the couple to fight after fruitless fight, a situation which may destroy the relationship.

What really matters about conflict in the long-term relationship, the Gottmans suggest, is the way it is handled. Rows cannot be avoided - but rows that drag on and on, followed by weeks of silence are damaging and draining. The ability to get over rows quickly, and without waiting for one person or the other to surrender unconditionally, is a key skill in developing successful long-term relationships.

Edited extract from Long-term Relationships: Lessons from the battlefield in Padraig O'Morain's book Like A Man - A guide to men's emotional well-being (Veritas, 2007).

No comments: