“Exacerbating our differences is one road to disaster; denying them is another. Instead of fantasizing about a harmony that is out of reach, we should focus on ensuring that our inevitable disagreements lead whenever possible to constructive outcomes”
Differences and Disagreements
The majority of differences between you and your partner will never be ‘resolved’ in a way that puts you in total agreement on the issue at hand. That’s to be expected – you are quite different from each other, and both of you have the right to your opinions and ways of thinking.
Committed adult relationships are an exercise in practicality, as well as nurturing affection. As Albright points out, fantasizing about a harmony that is out of reach doesn’t really work. It leads to disappointment instead of satisfaction. Conversely, focusing on constructive outcomes leads to genuine affection.
Those negotiations are the ‘give and take’ of adult relationships. Think of them as ‘work arounds’ that acknowledge you both have an equal voice and that accommodate you both. Any individual negotiation might lead to one partner’s way being preferred, of course, but over time you both are ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ in these constructive outcomes.
To get to these outcomes, focus on these things (taught in my couples seminar, btw):
Developing conflict intimacy, learning conversation and other communication skill sets that allow both partners to express their feelings and needs without being judged
Looking for the ‘and’ in situations to see if there is a way to have part of what one partner wants and part of what the other partner wants (vs. either/or)
Managing anger outbursts which might make the relationship unsafe for good communication
Moving away from parent-child dynamics which rarely allow for an equal ‘give and take.’
If you’re not satisfied that the outcomes of your disagreements are constructive, which of these might be a good starting place?
The ADHD Effect In-Depth - webinar seminar - April 7, 2021 is the start of my 8-session live Couples' Seminar. Need help in your ADHD impacted relationship? This seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships.
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals.
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next live session starts April 7, 2021.