Do you try to avoid arguing with your partner? If so you are hardly alone. Many couples go out of their way to avoid quarrels. But Janice Webb, PhD., a therapist writing in Psychology Today shares research suggesting that this avoidance can be a self-defeating strategy. “Suppressed feelings of frustration, annoyance, anger, or hurt may build up enough to cause a major eruption or lie under the surface for decades, driving a couple farther and farther apart.”
Webb compares healthy arguing to a bolt of lightning: “Just like lightning crystallizes the electric charge and clears it from the air during a storm, fights can calm relationships by crystallizing and clearing the negative emotion between the partners.”
There is a natural cycle that characterizes a healthy relationship, says the author: harmony (which cannot last forever) rupture (the challenging part), and repair. The repair process strengthens a relationship in three ways:
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