Resolving conflict in relationships by Dr. Tara Fields, LMFT, Ph.D.

Tangled Up and Blue?

How To Ease A Conflict Loop In Your Relationship


Conflict and Protections in Childhood

One thing we learn in childhood is how to create ways to feel safe and protect ourselves. As children, we are living in the land of giants and even if we have loving parents, there is still the occasion where a parent is towering over us with a red face. Sheepishly running away, cowering in a bedroom closet with a economy-size bag of chips, waiting for the storm to subside are behaviors that may be the ideal strategy for the situation. It keeps you safe long enough for the parent to realize they were out of control.

As an adult, protections may take another form. Reactionary behaviors—nasty, hurtful remarks or zingers that go straight to the heart, or withdrawing and retreating, are not protections. They assist in creating the very thing you think you are protecting yourself against: heartache, loneliness, rejection, conflict. In an adult relationship, you may not feel strong enough to endure one more tedious argument and consciously or unconsciously find a way to retreat. If it’s an out-of- control argument, that may still be a wise choice. However, if it’s a conflict loop that keeps recurring and your partner is not out of control, but is merely frustrated, withdrawing may reinforce the loop.

 

“…Both Partners Have a Part in Every Conflict Loop”

What habitual behaviors do you use to avoid pain or escape anger? What are you asking for that your partner is unwilling to give? And what is on the other side of this argument – what is your partner not getting that they need to feel heard, understood, respected, loved, safe enough to open up? Understand that both partners have a part in every conflict loop. Think about it: you can’t sustain a Come Close, Go Away loop unless one partner pushes and the other pulls. But at the core of every destructive behavioral pattern is a deep desire to be loved, appreciated, heard, and understood. 

In the heat of the moment, however, the last thing people want to do is take responsibility for their role. No one wants to stop and say, “Gee, let me step back and take ownership for my part.” It’s difficult to accept responsibility, and normal to avoid it. But it can become a major problem when couples become like dogs with a bone, rabidly insisting that their problems are—solely and completely—the other person’s fault. He doesn’t listen. She’s clingy and needy. It’s all her fault. It’s all his problem. Looking at your part in the matter is a crucial part of the process. Muster up the courage to understand your role and your partner’s in order for the two of you to make the necessary changes that will breathe new life into your relationship. For more advice and the steps, Heartwork, and 3-Minute Fixes to transform your conflict loop into a Circle of Love, check out my book The Love Fix: Repair and Restore Your Relationship Now.

How To Break Up When You Live Together

Photo: STYLECASTER/GETTY IMAGES

Photo: STYLECASTER/GETTY IMAGES

Tara Fields was recently quoted in STYLECASTER. Read the original article here

Ending any relationship is hard, but add to that the complicating factor of living together, and you get a seriously thorny breakup situation. I speak from experience. When my ex and I called it quits, we fought about stuff we’d never argued about before—money, possessions, and real estate—and those conversations overshadowed the already-difficult end to our years-long relationship.

“For many young couples who live together, breaking up is no different than if they were married,” says couples therapist Tara Fields, Ph.D., author of The Love Fix. “It’s easy to get distracted by fighting over things, but at the end of the day it’s important to remember that you loved this person at some point, so making a graceful exit is a better way to do your relationship justice, even if it’s in your past.”

Below, Fields details seven smart ways to keep your wits about you when splitting up with an S.O. who also happens to be your roommate.

Your 2016 Guide to Money Etiquette When You’re Dating

Photo: STYLECASTER/GETTY IMAGES

Photo: STYLECASTER/GETTY IMAGES

Tara Fields was recently quoted in STYLECASTER. Read the original article here

Few topics in life get awkward faster than money. (Except maybe talking about sex with your parents or explaining why you’re a die-hard Democrat to your 90-year-old grandmother.) People can be famously neurotic about money, whether they have a ton of it or are trying to save more. And on a first date—already a delicate, nerve-wracking situation—trying to figure out who should pay for what, and when, and how much, can be confusing and stressful.

When it comes to money etiquette in dating circa now, says couples therapist and relationship expert Tara Fields, Ph.D., author of The Love Fix, there really aren’t any hard-and-fast rules. And that’s what can make things so difficult to navigate. Everyone has different values around money—how to spend it, how to save it, and what role it plays. The most important thing is to gauge whether your values are similar, because that can help you figure out whether this is someone you should keep seeing, she says. “It’s about compatibility,” she says. “Money is important in relationships right from the get-go. It’s really symbolic of emotions and an area that can have tremendous meaning.”

How to Confess a Secret Without Totally Effing Up Your Marriage

If you’ve been hiding something from your spouse and you’re worried it’s hurting your relationship, this expert advice will help you come clean.

Getty

Getty

Tara Fields was recently quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine. Read the original article here

Every husband and wife keeps secrets — they could be as minor as what your singing voice really sounds like, or more serious, like past infidelity or hidden debt. And while you might have been taught that it’s best to treat your husband as a Bachelor-esque confessional, that’s not necessarily the key to a healthy marriage.

“People keep secrets in the first place because they’re often afraid of what will happen next, or they tell themselves they’re protecting someone else but they’re really protecting themselves,” says Tara Fields, PhD, psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of The Love Fix: Repair and Restore Your Relationship Right Now. “But one thing that people don’t realize is that there are major opportunities to heal old wounds and strengthen relationships when you’re open and forthcoming about things. Plus, something that seems small can actually have deep, rooted issues behind it.”

So if you ask yourself whether the secret is helping or hurting you — or you can ask a friend you really trust to gut-check you, suggests Fields — and if it’s hurtful in the long run, it’s time to get the process started so you can figure out as a couple how to move forward.