Silence suffocating the relationship

Have you ever been in a relationship and thought, “I don’t want to argue,” “I better shut up,” or “I don’t want conflict”?

Maybe at that moment it gave you peace and the feeling that everything will be fine and you will be calmer if you avoid conflict. But therein lies the danger.

As someone who has had experiences and relationships with people who avoided conflict, I have to warn you about a few things about fear of conflict.

Read my story and let it be a lesson to you, whether you are a conflict-shy person or in a relationship with someone who is conflict shy.

How conflict aversion ruined my relationship

How conflict aversion ruined my relationship

My ex-partner and I had a relationship for a few months. At first, everything was wonderful. It was like a fairy tale. A romantic movie. Unreal beautiful.

With rose-colored glasses on my eyes, as we all do when we fall in love, I was naturally blind to his weaknesses, including conflict aversion.

At first I thought it was great that we never fought.

A quiet harbor. Harmony. But there I was mistaken.

Whenever I wanted to talk to him about problems, about what was bothering me, about things we needed to work on, he swept everything under the rug. 

I don’t want to talk about it now”. I don’t want to argue”, “Do we have to talk about it today?”, “I don’t know how to argue”.

His silence, shrugging his shoulders, agreeing to everything I say just to avoid an argument, and inability to deal with conflict triggered an incredible rage in me.

I was like a volcano whose eruption was about to happen. 

To make matters worse, he started lying and making things up, all to avoid conflict, which more and more triggered this avalanche inside me.

In the end, a whole bundle of problems came crashing down on us that we had previously swept under the rug. This shook our relationship to its foundations and made me leave him.

From this personal story and through research, I have come to the conclusion that avoiding conflict in a relationship is detrimental to the partnership because:

1. … It is healthy to have conflicts

Let’s face it: none of us likes conflict with our partner.

They cause stress and discomfort and make us feel like something bad is happening in our relationship. But that is not the case at all.

You have to be aware of the fact that you are in a relationship with someone who has their own attitudes, opinions and life. 

We have different ideas about things and, naturally, you won’t agree on everything. But that is also a good thing.

Conflicts can be good for a relationship because they allow people to learn about each other’s needs and desires when they are healthy and productive. They help identify the problem and find solutions to it, making relationships healthy and strong.

Eine Studie aus dem Jahr 2021 bestätigt genau das, denn es hat sich gezeigt, dass Paare, die Streit und Konflikten aus dem Weg gehen, in ihrer Beziehung eher unzufrieden sind. 

You just have to talk to each other, listen to each other and respect each other, even if you have disagreements. 

2. … Unresolved problems explode sooner or later.

2. ... Unresolved problems explode sooner or later.

Has it ever happened to you that you ignore a problem and pretend it doesn’t exist, only to have that same problem bite you in the, let’s call them, backside?

From my example you can learn that sooner or later everything comes to the surface.

Once the limits are crossed and the breaking point is reached, there is no turning back.

Everything that could have been solved and prevented immediately just piled up in the end and cost us the relationship.

Remember, avoiding the problem doesn’t solve the problem.

“The secret to successful love is not whether couples avoid hurting each other. It’s how well they deal with and fix their mistakes,” says psychologist and clinic director Jenifer McEwan in her article on unresolved relationship issues.

She also cites, among other things, Dr. Gottman’s findings on what works and what doesn’t in a relationship, conducted on 3,000 couples.

Dr. John Gottman considers the ability to repair relationships to be one of the most important relationship skills.

People argue, hurt each other, but in the end it all comes down to healing the relationship.

Unfortunately, if we ignore it and let the problems pile up, it may be too late.

3. … Lies create distrust

Many people use lies to avoid conflict.

My ex-boyfriend did just that. And every time I caught him in a lie, he claimed he just didn’t want to argue with me.

Gaslighting or something else? That didn’t matter anymore either.

What I am saying is that lying is one of the most common techniques people use to avoid dealing with the problem directly.

The problem arises in relationships, of course, because trust is inevitably destroyed, because lying and a relationship are not a good combination at all.

How can you trust someone who has been caught lying several times? 

Although at first glance it may seem that we have avoided a major problem by telling a lie, the opposite is true.

We have only created an even bigger problem for ourselves and our partner.

4. … frustrations and anger arise

As I said, I was like a volcano about to erupt.

If your partner runs away from problems and doesn’t address them directly, you can’t help but get angry.

Maybe not immediately, but over time the problems accumulate, as does the anger inside you.

If you are a person who avoids conflict, you should consider that too.

Be aware that avoiding addressing issues will only upset your partner more.

The relationship becomes toxic and you grow apart.

One problem follows the next, and very quickly resentment and negativity arise, and eventually love fades, because, unfortunately, sometimes even that is not enough to sustain the relationship.

I loved my partner and left him not because the love stopped, but because I saw that he did not try to solve our problems. 

All of this has led me to dedicate myself to this topic and share it with you so you know how to deal with it.

So the first step is to find out where the fear of conflict comes from. 

Let’s look at what psychology has to say about conflict incapacity.

Where does the inability to deal with conflict come from?

Where does the inability to deal with conflict come from? 

Conflict avoidance can manifest itself in different ways. Some people withdraw completely and avoid the issue at all costs. Others, however, become passive-aggressive and begin to insult and humiliate.

However, in psychology, there is an explanation for why people who are afraid of conflict behave the way they do. Below you will find the reasons for conflict management.

1. Fear of abandonment

The fear of conflict and its avoidance usually stems from the fear of abandonment. 

It is human beings’ natural desire and needs to belong and feel part of a community, whether in a love relationship or in other interpersonal relationships.

When a person is confronted with being rejected by others around them, they may react in a variety of ways. These reactions can range from social anxiety to loneliness to aggressive behavior.

Conflict avoidance is a person’s attempt to avoid rejection because their fear of abandonment is stronger than their desire to conflict with another person.

2.Traumatische Erfahrungen

Childhood trauma, traumatic experiences or violent relationships are also triggers for conflict aversion in many cases. 

The fact is that our experiences shape us.

In particular, the childhood and formative years, crucial for development, can hurt the lives of individuals and their fellow human beings if traumatic experiences accompany them.

Anyone exposed to criticism as a child, who was not allowed to say openly what bothers him or her or who grew up with quarreling parents, develops fears of conflict.

One’s subconscious mind tells one that the consequences will be the same as before, and man does not want to experience that, so he prefers to withdraw and avoid any form of dispute.

3. Low self-confidence

Low self-confidence generally causes us major problems in life. Fears, self-doubt and the feeling of not being good enough have major negative consequences.

One of them is certainly avoiding conflict.

A study conducted at the University of Waterloo on self-confidence and romantic relationships concluded that a partner with low self-confidence refuses to address relationship problems.

People with low self-esteem are less likely to complain or blame their partner, which in turn leads to neglect of their own wants and needs. 

Fearing rejection or fearing that the partner’s feelings for him or her will be extinguished, the partner withdraws because of the lack of self-confidence.

He also refuses to address such conflicts that could be resolved through simple conversation.

Now that you know where the fear of conflict can come from and why it is bad for you or those around you, you will figure out the best way to deal with it.

These are few things you should know for your own well-being, but also to make your relationships better, healthier, and more successful.

7 things you should know when dealing with conflict aversion

7 things you should know when dealing with conflict aversion

When you, meaning you or your partner, are avoiding conflict in your relationship, keep these 7 things in mind:

1. recognition of fear leads to liberation from it

The best thing is when you realize that you suffer from conflict anxiety! You’re probably wondering why.

Well, this means that you can soon start solving your problem.

In case of fears and problems, the most important thing is to identify the cause, because then we can look for solutions as soon as possible.

2. The absence of conflict does not necessarily mean a good relationship.

This is perhaps one of the most important points regarding conflict and romantic relationships.

Even if it seems that everything is fine at first because it’s quiet and there are no arguments, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Rather, it has turned out to be a red flag in the relationship in many situations just as it happened to me.

In a relationship, it is normal that two people sometimes have arguments, disagreements and even quarrels, but all this is resolved through communication. 

Learning to communicate well and avoid certain words that could hurt your partner is important.

But in any case, you should not avoid conflicts, because they are also part of communication, which is actually the most important and fundamental element of any relationship.

3. Conflicts do not mean the end of love

You also need to know that if your partner confronts you about something or you have problems, it does not mean that his feelings for you will change and vice versa.

Conflicts come, are resolved, and things move on.

It takes much more than conflict to make love go out, and if it goes out just because of that, then it was not love.

The bottom line is that it helps to address and solve problems, strengthen the relationship and build intimacy.

So don’t be afraid to approach your partner if something doesn’t suit you, if you are unhappy or if you have a problem.

4. Eating everything inside is not healthy

In a 2013 study on the suppression of emotions, psychologists concluded that the accumulation of emotions may increase the risk of premature death, including death from cancer.

All the suppressed stress and negative emotions sooner or later have a negative impact on our health. 

Keep this in mind and know that it is always better for your well-being to resolve conflicts and admit feelings openly.

5. Small steps lead to big

You don’t need and can’t suddenly get rid of your fears or help someone else get rid of them. 

It’s not something you can do overnight. But the good thing is that you know it can change and you just have to work at it, so take small steps.

Start with situations where you are least uncomfortable having a confrontation with someone. 

For example, tell your hairdresser that you don’t like your hair, the waiter that your food wasn’t cooked all the way through, or something similar.

Once you realize that nothing bad will happen in these situations, it will be easier for you to handle major conflicts.

6. Self-confidence is the key to everything

Self-confidence is the key to everything

Self-love, respect for one’s own desires, needs and boundaries must be paramount.

The more you value yourself and your mental and physical health, the more you will work to improve it. 

Build self-love, be aware of your needs, and don’t hesitate to set boundaries when you see others crossing them.

If you love and respect yourself enough, you will always be ready to stand up for yourself. It will therefore be easier for you to resolve conflicts.

7. Professional help is always welcome

Do not hesitate to seek professional help.

If you can’t see the problem, don’t know where to start, or don’t know what to do, feel free to ask for help.

A psychologist or psychotherapist will guide you through your process, monitor your progress, and tell you what to do. 

If your partner is conflict averse, I recommend couples therapy or counseling where you can work out your issues and strengthen your relationship with the help of experts.


Communication and problem solving in a partnership are the nuts and bolts of any relationship. 

It is normal for a couple to have conflicts and disagreements, but if you are afraid of conflict, then a problem arises.

Running away from conflicts and sweeping problems under the rug is never good and you need to work on them constantly. 

For this reason, it is very important to recognize the problem and look for a solution. Various factors can be the cause, but the most important thing is to recognize where this fear comes from and why we feel it.

With sufficient communication, the support of your partner, and the desire to make a change, this is possible.

Conflicts are not only necessary for building and maintaining relationships but also for one’s well-being.

If you learn to deal with it, you will be much more relaxed, happier, and able to have healthier relationships.

Love and take care of yourself! <3

Your Way uses only peer-reviewed studies and trusted sources to ensure our content is truthful, accurate and reliable.

Jones, R.G. (2013) Conflict and Interpersonal Communication.Communication in the Real World.

2. Navarra, R. 3 Research-Based Tips for a Happy and Healthy Relationship. The Gottman Institute.

3. Tehzeeb, A., Anila, M. (2020). Deception as a Conflict Management Technique Scale: A Preliminary Analysis. Journal of Education and Social Sciences

4. Leary, M. R. (2015). Emotional responses to interpersonal rejection. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

5. De Bellis, M. D., Zisk, A. (2014). The biological effects of childhood trauma.Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America.

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