Conflict occurs when expectations are not aligned.
“What I think I am getting is not what you think you are providing.”
(And vice versa).
That can be applied in all walks of life and business.
Turn the stones up front, so that you can have a candid discussion about things, and then you can both go in with your eyes open.
In relationships, not doing the above leads to presumptions, crossing boundaries, resentment, and ultimately a big blow up at the end.
It’s never really about the clothes on the floor or the hair in the sink.
It might be the way you order for him, and implicitly judging his weight by requesting the salad and water options from the menu.
It might be the way you laugh and tell your friends how your househusband cooks well and who loves to iron your knickers really nicely.
I think that playing guessing games, and assuming the other party can read your mind, or “should know better”.
This is in some way alleviated in business situations with the use of contracts that lay out what is to happen, and who is responsible for what.
It might seem dry and ‘unromantic’, but it might be worth discussing the potential issues that might cause conflict.
“I love clipping my toenails in bed – is that ok?”
“I cannot go to bed until the whole house is spotless. That means hoovering at night if necessary.”
“I want to bring up our kids to be devout followers of the Church of Pastafarianism. You and your Jedi cult can stay out of it.”
“I like ‘open relationships’ and will be inviting my boyfriend and his husband to come and live with us.”
You might find that the response to all of the above is:
“Awesome! I agree!”
In which case – all is well with the world.
If not, then what follows should be an open, non-judgemental conversation about what is important to each party.
And to be listened to empathically.
Being seen, and being heard, is sometimes the very simple first step in de-escalating conflicts.