Is Your Relationship Conflict-Driven?

We all know that ‘bickering couple;’ people who tend to be in some form of conflict pretty regularly. Is it a habit that has just developed over time? And how do we know if the relationship is conflict driven?

We all have some form of conflict in relationships; we navigate through trying to make things equitable, there are times when we need to express how something may be bothering us, sometimes we want our partner to understand our needs. Any time we bring up something that might be sensitive, we are doing so with our defensive system at the ready. That can come out from either the sender, the receiver – or both; hence the conflict.

Signs of a conflict driven relationship:

  • Conflict seems to be a daily occurrence. If there is conflict happening more times than not in a week, chances are you have fallen into conflict as a way to solve even small issues.
  • The need to be right. If one or both partners always need to be right, you are moving into conflict driven territory.
  • The need to criticize. Some people have a need to pick on; this will lead to conflict as the person on the receiving end defends themselves.
  • Chronic stress. Any time a couple faces stress (individually or as a couple), it threatens the ability to work together to solve conflict. If the stress becomes chronic, arguments might become the norm.
  • Chronic anger. Same goes with anger; if someone has a handle on their anger, it can be appropriately contained and not get out of hand. Chronic anger; however, keeps you in a perpetually cranky state – leading to higher conflict in relationships.

Conflict driven relationships tend to be dissatisfying and can often feel empty. Couples can begin by recognizing conflict driven behaviour and learn how to better communicate with each other so as to reduce the payoff of the constant bicker. It often requires both individual and couple work in order to create healthier and functional behaviours; leading to a more satisfying relationship.

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2 thoughts on “Is Your Relationship Conflict-Driven?”

  1. this is a real interesting post. my wife and i get along well. not quite as much as we did. i think my depression and being at home all the time has added a lot of stress to our relationship

    • Hi Brian, I am glad you found it interesting. Stress from an illness can definitely create tension between couples. Knowing that can sometimes be helpful in trying to be compassionate with each other 🙂


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