Which Relationship Style Do You Prefer?
Conflict-Avoider Style: Generally prefers little disagreement. If there is an issue, prefers to discuss the issue completely, but not try to influence partner or persuade partner or to be persuaded by the partner. Feels that the passage of time will often solve problems. Will drop the topic or just agree to disagree. Generally feels that anger is a dangerous emotion and believes in protecting the relationship from anger. Believes it is best not to dwell much on the negative in life, but to roll with the punches and emphasize the positive. Prefers having traditional roles in the relationship. Often does things separately.
Volatile Style: Enjoys a good debate and argument. It is fun, and there is a lot of humor and teasing and affection in a good discussion. Values being direct and honest, even if this is sometimes painful. Also prefers doing a lot of things separately. Definitely thinks that the expression of anger and most emotions is healthy and natural in a relationship.
Validating Style: Values togetherness above all things in the relationship. Prefers arguing about some things, but not a lot. Values listening before trying to persuade one another. Places a high value on compromise. Believes in expressing anger, but is very careful to buffer partner from too much anger.
Anger: How do you feel about anger? Do you think the expression of anger is healthy and natural, or do you think it is dangerous and something to protect your relationship from? How did your parents express anger? Could you tell if they were angry? How did you react to it? How did they react to your anger when you were little? How has that affected you?
Sadness: How do you feel about sadness? Do you think the expression of sadness is okay and natural, or do you think it is potentially giving in to depression and a negative view of life? Do you think it is dangerous and something to protect your relationship from? How did your parents express their sadness? Could you tell if they were sad? How did you react to it? How did they react to your sadness when you were little? How has that affected you?
Fear: What has been your own experience with fear and conquering fears? Do you have any fears now, and, if so, how do you think it is best to cope with these fears? Could you tell if your parents were worried or afraid? How did your parents deal with your fears when you were little? How has that affected you?
Meta-Emotions: If there is a major discrepancy between the two of you on preferred style or different attitudes about the expression of anger, sadness, or fear, you might profit by exploring where each of your attitudes came from in your lives and how these attitudes affect you.
Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to me here.