3 Dating Conflicts: When to Bend & When to Break

In my younger years I foolishly believed that if I ever had a boyfriend and we were in a middle of a fight, that our true love would overwhelm us and we would break into a catchy song and dance our way back to ‘happily ever after.’ Thank you, "High School Musical" for planting that fantasy in my brain.

I sit here now knowing that a breakout musical number isn’t even remotely close to a solution when it comes to relationship conflicts. The real problem with conflicts is sometimes not only the conflict itself, but how we choose to handle them. There is a time to bend, be flexible about the situation, step back and rebuild. On the other hand, there is a time to break, realize the situation isn’t going to get better and that you deserve more than what you are currently getting.

Conflict #1: Communication
Nothing’s more frustrating than feeling ignored. Your partner’s inconsistent messaging and non-existent phone calls can easily get under your skin. You may start to question whether or not he or she even cares about your feelings.

  • When to Bend: If this lack of communication is far from frequent. Everyone gets busy, and we are all guilty of reading a text and not responding right away. Keep in mind that although you are both very important to each other, there are other people in your partner’s life. Next time you two have some time together, address the communication concern; chances are he might not even be aware of his MIA behavior (I hate using this excuse, but boys will be boys).
  • When to Break: You are continually shut down when you need communication most. When it comes to a point in a relationship when you start feeling second best to everything else in your partner’s life, a warning flag should go up. Your partner should be there for you when you need him most, no matter whom he is with or where he is. If your partner fails to realize that importance, then it is way overdue to tell him how you feel like you’ve been put on the backburner. If he can’t understand why his lack of communication hurts you or isn’t willing to rev-up the communication engine, then it’s time for you to find someone who is willing to put you first.

Conflict #2: Lying
Lying in a relationship, whether it is a white lie or a huge lie, is a major no-no. Lying undermines trust, and without trust a relationship becomes tainted and unhealthy.

  • When to Bend: Your partner truly apologizes for the lie and recognizes that what he did was wrong. It’s hard being the last one to know about something that has happened, especially when it directly has to deal with your relationship. People make mistakes though, and if he can understand his mistake and is willing to gain your trust back, then wouldn’t you hope he’d do the same for you if the situation were reversed? Give him a chance to prove to you that he’s truly sorry. (Okay, so some lies are bigger than others and for those huge, left-you-in-the-dark-for-months-to-years-kind-of-lies, I’d encourage you to consider your options and think about the breaking option below).
  • When to Break: His lying is constant, or the lie told was so huge that you feel like you cannot trust a single thing that comes out of his mouth. To be lied to once is a huge blow, but when he continues to lie to you and the severity of the lies increase, it’s time to start thinking about if you are in a relationship with him or just a pawn in a mind game. If you can’t trust him with his words then how can you trust him with his actions? There is really no way to move forward in a relationship when you cannot trust your partner.

Conflict #3: Cheating

When you find out that your exclusivity wasn’t as it seemed to be, your partner may seem to be a complete stranger to you.

  • When to Bend: Never. Now, I’m all about giving people second chances, but hear me loud and clear: if there is solid evidence and not just rumors floating around about his cheating ways, then it’s time for you to get up and go. Cheating involves a lack of communication and lying, a combination of the two conflicts I’ve presented above. Bending is very hard in a situation when cheating is involved, because quite frankly, he BROKE the relationship when he decided to cheat. Your best bet in this conflict is to know that cheating isn’t acceptable and that you deserve better.
  • When to Break: After you gain all the details you want to know. If you want to know about the person your partner cheated on you with and why he would do such a selfish act, then you deserve to know those details. He may not be willing to open up to you about this, but if he does, take in what you need and then pack your things and leave. Remember that “I’m sorry” are just words that can mean so little when it’s a little too late and when so much damage has been done.

Obviously, there are countless more conflicts than the three above that a relationship might bring, but a couple things hold true when you find yourself in a new or continuing conflict:

*Think about the circumstances.
*Replace anger and misunderstandings with the truth.
*Be specific with how you feel and what you want to see change.

And most importantly...
Never be ashamed of your feelings.

Never be afraid of what you know you deserve, even if that means having a future without him by your side.

This article is a part of Kaity's column focusing on dating and relationships in college.

By: Kaity Martin | Image: Source


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