Couple discussing

Constant conflict due to differing opinions

“Birds of a feather flock together” and “opposites attract”. Both are true in partners, but when frustration about different values, opinions or attitudes predominate, the couple need to do something.

Christian Hofer has seen that the past few years in which couples have spent more time with one another because of the pandemic have opened up rifts in relationships. Topics such as freedom, obligation and health ultimately needed to be sounded out and discussed again.

“Within a relationship, most people really want to be on the same wavelength – to share similar world views and have the same opinion when making decisions, but that’s unrealistic.” It’s important to keep an open dialogue, to ask your partner what their position is, to communicate using “I” messages and build understanding in an unbiased and violence-free way.

“A key point that is often overlooked is how to cope with the fact that you think differently, accepting the frustration and disappointment,” the expert says. But there’s no way around communicating in peace. Why are you doing that like that, why do you think like that? These conversations are a wonderful opportunity to get to know your partner better and to use knowledge about your partner’s stance to expand your own.

Ultimately, you yourself are responsible for accepting the compromise that often needs to be made. “It’s a lot easier if you understand why and how your partner thinks differently. The topic remains, but you consciously address it together rather than being defensive”.

If one of the partners is under a lot of pressure when making important decisions or if there is too much psychological strain caused by constant discussion of the same topics, support from an expert is advised.

Christian Hofer and his team are available, along with numerous other counselling centres across Austria. Find the right one near you using our search function. Make a free appointment.

Our interview partner

Christian Hofer is a social worker, de-escalation trainer and transaction analyst and runs the counselling service at the Männerberatungsstelle EFZ-Feldkirch, a men’s counselling service in Vorarlberg.

Herrengasse 4
6800 Feldkirch
Website of EFZ

The interview was conducted in January 2023.

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