"You're a psycho! You need therapy!"
Everyone deals with conflict in different ways. Some blow up, some turn away, but how many couples actually discuss their problems like adults? When there's a breakdown in conflict resolution, the relationship shows wear almost immediately. The problem is that most people in today's "me" generation do not know how to communicate effectively. Bickering ensues, arguments flare up, and relationships collapse. I was one that practiced the idea that the best way to deal with anger was to see who could the other more. Then I fell into a relationship with a man who taught me there's more to communicating and conflict resolution than screaming at each other and stomping out the door. If you want to preserve your relationship, and ensure that it will last, you need to learn the basics of conflict resolution.
In my past relationships, I was common to blow up and let it get out of control. Screaming the words "psycho" and "therapy" were daily events. The new guy is different. He actually makes me think about my blowups and my anger, they don't fuel him, and he encourages me to have an adult conversation with open communication.
The key to conflict resolution is learning how to communicate rather than vent. Any time there's a conflict of any sort, don't wait until it becomes a blowup. Learn to recognize your triggers and cut it off before you go off. Take a deep breath, count to ten, whatever you need to do to calm down before you open your mouth. Too often, when an argument ensues in a relationship, it consists of one or both partners making accusations, whether directly or subtly, at the other person. Rather than telling your partner what they are doing wrong, explain how you are feeling, in non-combative terminology. For example, instead of saying, "You're neglecting me," say, "I feel neglected." It doesn't seem like much, but couching your words in a manner that does not make your partner feel attacked can change the whole tone of the conversation.
Another important factor in proper conflict resolution is for both partners to voice their thoughts and opinions. Take turns, acknowledge what your partner has said and respond, but allow them to finish: interrupting only exacerbates the problem. It demeans them, and only encourages them to withhold their feelings. If you feel like you're too aggravated or wound up to have a meaningful, constructive dialogue with your partner, you might need to find some ways to relax first. Find a hobby or activity that soothes you, take a bubble bath, work out, or take a walk. I'm the type of person that finds nature relaxing. A great place for me is Tree Hill Nature Center, with a camera around my neck, just taking in the sights and sounds of trees and wind and birds.
Remember that communication goes both ways. It's a dialogue between two people, not a monologue of all the ways your partner has done you wrong. Stay cool, speak your mind in a respectful manner, listen to your partner, and you'll be on your way to developing a relationship where you are comfortable speaking to your partner about anything.