Conflict is inevitable in any healthy relationship, but the way in which you and your partner handle yourselves when engaged in conflict will heavily affect the state of your relationship. For example, the outcomes will be significantly more positive if you can both stay calm and effectively communicate, compared to if you both escalate the argument until you’re screaming at each other. You’ve probably been in or witnessed both kinds of fights, and it’s clear which conflict style will result in more positive outcomes.
While arguments may become heated, unpleasant, and stressful, there’s a particular pattern that all happy and satisfied couples follow (and avoid!) to ensure they resolve their issues in a productive and constructive manner. The first indicator is the frequency of conflict.
Ah yes, the dreaded LDR. You’ve heard horror stories from most sources – maybe it’s through the rumor mill, maybe your friend is in one, or maybe you’re in one. They’re becoming more and more common because of travel, college, and demanding jobs. And It’s likely that you’ll be away from your partner for some period of time, especially if you’re a 20-something.
While it may feel as if the odds are stacked against you, not all hope is lost. After drawing from my own experiences and talking to several LDR couples, I’ve compiled a list of things that help us succeed.
Wake up at noon (still tired), doze off throughout hours of lectures, attend several group meetings (but really, sit there staring at Facebook), trudge home, heat up leftovers because I’m too tired to cook, open my computer (whose screen I’ve been staring at all day), and launch Netflix. Then sit in my bed watching Friends for countless hours before passing out.
That’s what my first two years of college looked like. I wasn’t engaged in what I was doing, and I wasn’t learning anything useful in my classes. My days were spent in the library, cramming facts into my brain for the next exam (all of which I would forget 10 minutes after said exam).
In my mind, good grades meant that I was doing my job as a student: I was learning. But I was complacent. I wasn’t really learning, I wasn’t motivated, and I certainly wasn’t happy. And then I realized something:
Forcing yourself to solely focus on shit you don’t care about is exhausting.