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    A relationship is not destroyed by conflict, but by emotional distance

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    Joe Dispenza
    @joedispenza
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    There are a thousand and one reasons why a relationship can end, but conflicts are not one of them, even if we think they are. In reality, conflicts are usually just the excuse, relationships end because we don't know how to manage conflicts and this generates insurmountable emotional distance.

    Conflicts serve to strengthen the relationship

    Conflicts are an extraordinary stimulus for change. They are not negative, but they contain the germ of transformation and growth. Stable couples over time, for example, are not those who have not had conflicts but those who have been able to overcome them and use them to strengthen the relationship.



    Conflicts are the expression of differences and different desires, so they are also a great opportunity to clarify expectations. They serve to reaffirm, on the one hand, the individuality of the members of the couple and, on the other, to encourage them to approach opposite extremes.

    Paulo Coelho was not wrong when he said that “conflicts make love grow”. Without a doubt, they test it, so they are the building blocks with which we create a resilient relationship.

    It is in this dialogue, in the search for points in common, that the relationship strengthens and grows. When everyone gives in a little, the relationship strengthens and each member compromises a little more, learns to be a little more tolerant, and takes an extra step towards maturity.

    The secret to resolving conflicts? The emotional offerings

    John Gottman, a psychologist who has studied couple relationships for decades, discovered that one of the secrets to dealing with conflict in stable couples is emotional offerings, which are used to make a connection about 86% of the time.

    An emotional offer is a sign of affection, attention, or any other form of positive connection that one person offers to another. It can be a hug, a caress, a simple look, loving words, or an act that involves a sign of peace, repentance, or an emotional connection.



    These offers are essential for maintaining the emotional bond in the relationship and serve to mitigate the intensity of conflicts. They are a kind of bridge to understanding that allows you to maintain the emotional bond despite the differences that may exist.

    When one of the people continually refuses these emotional offers, ignoring them or responding with criticism and resentment, or they are absent, a psychological distance is established which, in the long run, increases the differences and makes it impossible to resolve conflicts.

    Emotional distance separates more than any conflict

    Emotional distance is what is established when the emotional bond has been broken. Its devastating power is such that it can end up turning two people who once loved each other into complete strangers. Emotional distance involves feeling disconnected from the other, even perceiving him as a stranger, usually because the relationship has ceased to satisfy our emotional needs.

    The problem is that the further the distance increases, the more unlikely we can resolve conflicts because, suddenly, it is as if we have no point of contact with the other person. When communication is lost, giving way to silence and indifference, even conflicts lose their meaning because there is the feeling that there is nothing more to recover.


    Communication, communication, communication…

    To avoid emotional distance, we need to communicate. To resolve conflicts it is important to talk about them, to express what we feel and want clearly. At the same time, it is vital to be able to listen to the other person and put ourselves in their place, cognitively and emotionally.


    Communication is the best antidote to emotional distance, assertive and authentic communication, one that aims to solve problems and find common ground so that we can look together in the same direction.

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