Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

The Five Couples You Meet in Therapy: “Conflict Avoiders”

The Five Couples You Meet in Therapy, Part One: Conflict Avoiders

As you attend couples therapy, you might wonder if you are “normal”. As it turns out, “normal” is hard to define when it comes to couples and relationships. Every relationship is unique. You and your partner will confront individual and unique challenges, and you will react to them in your own way. 

However, when it comes to couples, there are some common themes that pop up in the marriage counseling world. And,couples therapy according to relationship researcher John Gottman, those themes can be gathered into five main “types” of couples

Today, you will learn about the first type of couple; the conflict avoiders. You will learn about some common aspects of conflict avoidant couples and if you and your partner potentially fit this description. Then, you will learn how couples therapy can help your relationship improve, no matter your type. 

Defining Conflict Avoiders

Let’s start off by addressing the label for this type of couple. Conflict avoider couples are not as “bad” as the name makes them sound! In fact, if you are in this type of relationship, you will find that your interactions with your partner are usually positive. (Source)

Gottman cited in his research that these couples typically have a positive to negative ratio of 5 to 1 when it comes to their interactions. Meaning that for every five positive contacts, this couple only had one negative interaction. (Source)

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? If you and your partner match this description, you likely spend time highlighting the things you have in common with each other. You are great at finding your common ground. However, you are also good at distinguishing good boundaries with each other. You probably have happy lives individually and find ways to foster independence. 

Overall, if you match this description, you and your partner probably describe yourselves as generally content in your relationship.

Common Challenges for Conflict Avoiders

While your conflict avoidant relationship may be generally happy overall, you may find that there are some frustrations that are left unsaid. And things that are unsaid go unresolved. This may not be detrimental to your relationship, but these unresolvedcouples therapy problems may prevent your relationship from going from good to great. (Related Article: Building Emotional Intimacy)

Many couples who seek marriage counseling describe this sort of relationship. And, when asked why they seek therapy, they might not even be sure what to say! Your relationship isn’t falling apart and full of conflict. But something is missing. The depth and connection you seek in your marriage may not be fully established. But where can you begin? (Related Article: Holding Emotional Space for Your Spouse)

Therapy Can Help You Tackle Conflict Head-On

If you are relating to this description, you are not alone! Some “conflict avoider” couples assume that since they don’t have major arguments, they won’t benefit from couples therapy. 

Luckily, this is not true. If you struggle to connect   deeply with your partner, or if you feel like something is missing, couples therapy can help. Marriage counseling can teach you the communication skills necessary to confront and resolve conflicts. A couples therapist can teach you how to establish that deeper emotional connection with your spouse. Are you ready to get started? Begin couples therapy in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork. 

Written By Lauren Adkins




Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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