What does conflict avoidance have to do with cheating?

Fighting is not fun. Most of us don’t like conflict, especially the ugly kind of conflict where we say mean and hurtful things. Conflict is as much a part of your relationship and should be as much a part of your relationship as kissing or even breathing. It is normal, it is necessary. But none of us like it because it’s uncomfortable. Well, it’s supposed to be that too. Conflict draws attention to areas where growth is needed, either within yourself or in your relationship. Conflict is a call to action to pay attention to a specific area that needs to be addressed.

So let’s start by defining the conflict. When I talk about conflict, I don’t mean name calling, loud voices or anything like that. I mean dealing with uncomfortable problems in a kind and caring way. It is being able to be open and vulnerable with each other to share your deepest thoughts and feelings. This openness and willingness to be vulnerable to one another, when handled in an emotionally safe environment, is what creates a deep and meaningful connection in your relationship.

What happens when we avoid conflict? We usually avoid it because we don’t know how to approach problems that come up in a kind and loving way. We want to be heard and understood and when we are not, we throw tantrums. When we can’t hear our partner, he throws tantrums. So let’s avoid everything together.

What does this have to do with infidelity?

When we don’t address the issues that lie beneath the surface of our relationship, two things happen. We tune out, and those problems escalate, resulting in hidden resentment and frustration. The longer they stay, the worse they get. When you don’t address what the issues are, you end up fighting over nonsensical mundane things that don’t really matter and wondering why you’re not getting along.

And that encourages disconnection between you and your partner. You keep thoughts and feelings hidden and they accumulate. This creates a privileged atmosphere for an adventure. There needs to be a release valve, and when you don’t handle it in your relationship with your partner, you will look for other things to deal with. Sometimes it can be alcohol, drugs, gambling, coming up in your hobby or an adventure. When people are not addressing areas that need growth, they seek an escape, and that escape along with avoidance is very damaging to intimacy, emotional security, and the connection of their love relationship.

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