Conflict as a Relationship Builder?  

bipolybabe 56F
10715 posts
5/29/2006 12:43 pm

Last Read:
10/14/2008 8:26 am

Conflict as a Relationship Builder?

I've noticed that people avoid conflict or disagreements or arguments as if avoidance is a good thing.

We're all afraid that conflict will explode in our faces and/or blast our relationships out of the water. I'd like to suggest that there's a way to talk about conflicts in relationships-- male/female, parent/child or with co-workers--that can actually build trust and understanding rather than destroy it.

I'd like share a bit about Non-Violent Communication (NVC), sometimes called "Compassionate Communication."

NVC is one of the best tools I've ever learned for helping men and women to cut through our "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" differences in language. It's called NVC, not because anyone is violent, really, but because language can cause damage.

NVC offers a deceptively simple but powerful tool.

The idea behind NVCis to start conversations with empathy for one's own feelings and that of the other person. (Empathy is not sympathy or pity. Empathy is "the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.") After taking time to feel empathy, one takes responsibility for one's own feelings, not blaming others for how one feels, and makes requests to address one's own needs.

The difference between a request and a demand is that if one makes a request, one has to be prepared to accept "no" as the answer without punishing the other. Otherwise, it's a demand, and people tend not to hear demands well.

One other aspect of NVC is stating a "problem," "issue" or "situation" in terms of objective criteria: that is what a camera would see if it were filming or what a fly on the wall would observe.

Finally, to practice NVC one needs to try to hear a complaint or criticism as the "imperfect expression of an unmet need," rather than as complaint or criticism. By that I mean, when he says, "You are so needy," you will hear it as "I have a need that is not being met that I don't know how to express." This may be the hardest thing to do as we are so trained over time to criticize or hear criticism and then defend ourselves.

The "form" for NVC is as follows:

I am feeling x because I am needing x. Would you be willing to x?

It's very important that the words used for "x" are words that don't imply judgment or criticism.

Here's an example from this morning's conversation with my lover.

"I am feeling insecure about your feelings for me. I need some reassurance that you want to spend time with me. Would you be willing to reassure me about your feelings for me?"

And then he did. Yippee!

Yeah, I admit it sounds a little weird, but isn't it better than those funky conversations about you ask, "Tell me what's wrong" while she pouts and withholds sex?

(c) 2006 AskAphrodite aka BiPolyBabe

P.S.--You can google the Center for Non Violent Communication and find more articles on the topic by the process developer Marshall Rosenberg and others.


Check out my blog Bi-Poly-Babe for more sensual, sexual pleasure!

JustaSeeker 107F

5/29/2006 2:25 pm

This is how I speak to my lover and it is amazingly effective at creating real communication. The man has to be in the same mindset or it doesn't work.


5/29/2006 4:25 pm

Doesn't sound weird to me. Sounds smart and and you that much more of a keeper! More in the tool belt! GO girl {=}

just a squirrel trying to get a nut

TopFisher 64M

5/29/2006 5:21 pm

Liked it until... ""I am feeling insecure about your feelings for me. I need some reassurance that you want to spend time with me. Would you be willing to reassure me about your feelings for me?""

Actually seems to come off as clingly. Sorry not being critical, but hey he's there, not beating you, hopefully meeting other needs, cooks right? Smiles and is courtous toward you? Reason is that it still comes off as you just being insecure with you.

Oh and it should be NCC as in non confronting comms.

bipolybabe replies on 5/29/2006 5:42 pm:
I didn't tell the whole story to avoid boring readers, but the whole story is that he had suggested we do something, then never bothered to follow up to make it happen. I guessed he needed more time on his own because of other stuff he's going through. This is actually the first step--start with empathy for the other's feelings--which I did.

Then, I asked for what I needed, which is to know that his need for time alone really did not mean that he didn't want to be with me.

It may sound clingy to you, but asking for what I need serves me a lot better than worrying about the sky is falling when I don't see or hear from him.

And, the process is actually called Non Violent Communication. I didn't invent or name it. Marshall Rosenberg did. I provide the name so people can find more info.

ProtonicMan 49M

5/29/2006 5:39 pm

Good advice. I'm adding it to my toolbox.


imLadyBambi 59M/51F

5/30/2006 6:53 am


I totally agree with you but, on the other hand I agree with redmustang.

Mr.Bambi and I communicate very well, just as you described.Very truthfully, honestly and openly.
It does make a difference in a relationship.[/COLOR]
Lady Bambi

bipolybabe replies on 5/30/2006 7:12 am:
I'm glad there are couples practicing honest communication. It does require courage because one may hear responses one doesn't like.

But, the truth is, it's better to know than to simply wonder about it.

Mermaidslut 51F

7/24/2006 11:14 pm

Radical Honesty is extremely difficult, but the only way to be in any real relationship. It is not for everyone, because most people are just not that comfortable enough in their own skins to practice it.... especially from the very start.

Especially when you are the one who made a mistake.

Being radically honest, and apologizing for something you have done, to hurt another, unintentionally or not is pretty damn difficult. A thick skin, a mega phone and sincerity are not always enough to get through to someone who adeptly practices withdrawing, blame or worse.

bipolybabe replies on 7/27/2006 7:50 am:
Just a distinction about Non-Violent Communication, Mermaid.

The process does not include apologizing for a couple reasons:

1) An apology takes away the other's power. That is if I am the one who feels hurt, I am hurt because I am needing something, not because you hurt me. I get to choose how I feel about what happened. You did not cause my feelings. It's a subtle distinction but important to understanding and using NVC.

2) Apologies are often given as a free ride ticket to keep up with the same behavior and expect to be "forgiven."

3) Apologies are often insincere like "I'm sorry you feel I hurt you."

In real life, I do apologize, particularly when I realize I've used words to hurt rather than to build a relationship.

Hope you're doing well!


piercednshavedmn 53M
4579 posts
8/10/2006 11:23 pm


Thank you for the information. Never hurts to have additional tools in the conflict resolution tool kit. Especially in relationship arena, where things can get heated and nasty


rm_B_O_H_I_C_A 54M
342 posts
8/21/2006 4:02 am

Communication is the key to any relationship, no matter whether it's a co-worker, a friend, a LTR, etc. As an "affirmation", my ex-wife and I used this in our relationship. From our first date on, any time either one of us felt angry/disappointed/worried/needed/etc. about something the other did/didn't do or say it was communicated right away. You can only imagine how nice it was to come home from work and, after she had had a bad day at work, hear, "I had a bad day at work and am really crabby. It's not you, it's just me." The heads-up was always appreciated (not having to try to keep from getting defensive because I didn't know what I did/didn't do).
Even our divorce was handled with the two of us communicating with each other this way. Neither of us were happy where we were (lots of "life" happening), and we decided ... together ... that we would get a divorce. It was painful, but it would've hurt us more to stay married.
A silly question: Do you feel a degree of respect when you and your partner can openly communicate like this?

Artimus4U 56F

9/5/2006 11:37 am

Interesting topic again... realizing that you cant get your needs met until you recognize them and give them voice. Taking ownership for your feelings... I think it backs up to getting on the same page about semantics though. Many people "think" they are on the same page because they used the same words but their definition of the words is different. Drilling down and really getting to the core of things helps alot.

- Artimus

Bard of Norcal

rm_bluebentleys 48M
4 posts
10/1/2006 4:29 am

X is the most wonderfully moment in life. It may because of pride we loss of a wonderfully moment. Example. It happen to me, i meet this woman which is not that pretty and thought of turning away. Thereagain, am so hard at that moment i have X with her. Suprising, everything go fantantic well, she really blend into me and so passion and passion over me and me too eat her up every little part of the body.

rm_bluebentleys 48M
4 posts
10/1/2006 4:41 am

From the day onward, i only had X with her. We really enjoyed every moment evrytime when we are together. Imagine, we know each other style like she can just wake at 6am just to give me a blow. fantatic, no words can express like i grabbing pillow, booster, bed , bed frame and so on. Me too, i can lick till she came so many many time cry, shouting, and also f her. My record for her within 24 hour, she came 28 time and i came four time.

CuffsGoatsFraud 42M
4 posts
4/9/2007 11:41 pm

Great lessons for anyone. I am going to try the X for success.

bipolybabe replies on 4/10/2007 2:35 pm:


TallSiir_tinypet 64M/49F
1 post
7/31/2007 10:13 pm

My relationship is in shambles...I hope we can apply some of your techniques and build our relationship again. Thanks so much for the insight. I look forward to attending one of your seminars.


1/4/2008 7:35 pm

I have discovered that this way of resolving conflict can be a relationship builder- my experience has been that the first step to getting both parties to utilize this method of communication is to establish a definite desire to continue the relationship. Once that has been established -the issue may be approached this way. Unfortunately in my case- I don't think we were both in the same place. I don't think that the two of us were really willing to place the relationship before our personal grievances. I think it really helps to do that, otherwise resentment and the desire for vindication overwhelm any attempts at moving on. I suppose this would be more true of less formal relationship that have not reached the full commitments stage. In a fully committed relationship I think both parties would have an interest in preserving the relationship.

"Enjoy life, there's plenty of time to be dead..." ~Anon
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