Conflict and relationships

Are there some causes of marital conflict, for example infidelity, that can only be resolved by marriage breakdown?

The infidelity of one partner, or both partners in a relationship may not always signify the end of the relationship, so what other factors could influence the continuation of a relationship once the shame, embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, depression, anger, loss of face and trust have subsided?

What keeps people together? Kids, status, power, money, or lack of it, the notion that a relationship can survive into friendship fails to convince, the idea that a couple who fail to maintain a strong supportive relationship can somehow after a disastrous trauma remain friends just doesn’t seem plausible.

What about people in abusive relationships? The introduction of infidelity into the mix may have little impact if the respective partners are continually at war but find it hard to leave the relationship anyhow.  An extra relational affair may actually be as welcome as a stay in refuge.

Are there equivalents in other conflict situations?

Conflict situations tend to arise out of nothingness, most people I have worked with when describing the event suggest, ‘it was silly, nothing at all’, of course what sparked the conflict was the trigger, which again on reflection could have been fairly insignificant. The conflict occurred because the perpetrator of the conflict had failed to recognise and deal appropriately with the beginnings of arousal. It’s a simple trap most of us fall into it at some time or another. The equivalent to infidelity in a typical conflict situation might be the fact that some one refuses to acknowledge the existence of the significant other in the relationship, and that at times must feel like they are being ignored, humiliated and treated disrespectfully, much the same feelings one would possibly experience to learn that their partner was involved with another.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN11
Written by Steve Earlam, MSc Psychotherapy. Addictions Counsellor and Behaviourist
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN11

I am a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Specialist and a Behaviour Change Practitioner. I provide support for the management of anxiety, depression and PTSD conditions. My role is to work with you in adjusting your behaviour, your relationships and yourself. Your role is to learn, process, apply and practi...

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