Wilmot and Hocker stated that a conflict should be defined as an expressed struggle between several parties who recognize limited resources and incompatible goals. They may also experience obstacles created by others on the way to the goal achievement (Hocker and Wilmot 13). Conflicts are inevitable. However, they teach people how to manage the situation and interact with family members, friends, and acquaintances.
One of the conflicts that I experienced happened last month. My girlfriend discovered that I had hidden a Facebook account. She read my chatting history and found that I was chatting with other women using another account. Moreover, she saw the albums which represented me with other women, not her. The worst thing she discovered was one of my albums that had her naked photos. Sue managed to control her emotions and not to show anger. She gave me an opportunity to explain everything. I was really shocked and puzzled. The only explanation I provided was that I wanted to have a memorable virtual past and recall it in the future. As we had been together for more than 2 years, Sue had enough time to learn me and my habits. She understood the reason for chatting and the albums I displayed. However, she refused to understand why I decided to show her naked photos and created a secondary Facebook account not informing her.
When the conflict occurred, both us decided to save the relationship as it was our highest priority. The study of Siegert and Stamp suggested the idea that the effect of the “First Big Fight” in relationship results in survival and prosperity of some couples.
However, others end up in failure (Hocker and Wilmot 4). We did not want to let the conflict ruin our warm feelings. In the conflict, we had different attitudes to what happened. It was explained by cultural differences and different childhood backgrounds. I took a positive view in the conflict, while Sue took a neutral position.
I was angry as she read my computer history and did not ask for permission. I could not even imagine that she would check my browser and checked my conversations with others. But finally, I felt regret and realized that I could have ruined all her life in case her pictures were published be hackers. The pictures were marked as private, but who knows what hackers do. I was accountable for the conflict, but I did not admit my fault due to the desire to save may face and take a leading position in the conflict. First, I wanted to show my anger. However, I changed my mind and decided to compensate her.
Actually, Sue was extremely angry as I lied and showed her private and intimate pictures in the Internet. Her temper let her calmly discuss the conflict. Afterwards, she went to another room, read a novel and played video games. Sue decided to avoid the conflict, rather than think about it. Her life experience had taught how to avoid conflicts. It was explained by the fact that she lived with her aunt in the USA and was not able to rebel against her views. She comes from Malaysia and according to the Hofstede’s cultural values, less powerful people should accept the power of others. Therefore, her culture and family background made her avoid conflicts. Her final comment on the conflict was to delete her album from the social network.
Next day, we woke up as usually, but there was no natural comfort. Our conflict was not completely solved and it could have influenced the atmosphere. Our conflict caused four questions related to what we want, relationship, the type of communication that should be used, and our goals. As I was guilty I decided to solve the conflict.
While we were preparing breakfast, we were almost silent. The situation was unusually and it annoyed me. I asked Sue whether she was still angry with me. She gave a negative answer. Sue dreamt of being treated as my wife. We lived for more than a year together and she wanted to be deep in my heart. She wanted to be different from my previous girlfriends. She wanted to feel protected and wanted me to ensure her privacy as she was my girlfriend. At the same time, I wanted my own privacy. I did not feel any fault as all my other friends behaved in the same way. Of course, I wanted to be as my friends and satisfy my ego. Therefore, I believed that I was not guilty. But I also I was embarrassed as I was the cause of conflict.
When Sue asked me to delete her album for the Facebook, I was angry. At the same time, my feelings were embarrassing as I understood that it was my fault. I did not know what to do and how to behave. I tried to show that I was right but everything was in vain. I asked Sue to give me several days. She was angry, but left me the time I needed. Afterwards, she left the room and went to the video room. I think that the most important things in the conflict are our relationships and identity goals. Actually, album deletion would not solve the conflict. Sue’s goal and interest was a sense of security and long-term relationships. But I wanted a cheap vanity and boast in the social network creating the future. The key problem was that I made a wrong decision having her at the first day when I asked her to live together. I love Sue as she is unique. I really love her slim body, face, and style. I wanted to be with her and show her as a trophy and ideal. I was to change my intention as similar problems would happen all the time.
Therefore, I wanted to change my life, my identity and relationships. I decided to step on the right way.
I was dominant in our relationship and that was a distressed system (Hocker and Wilmot 108). Concerns with power became stronger when we had conflicts and out relationship began to fade. Everything was under my name, the cars, the property, checks, etc. I paid the bills, paid for the meal, bought tickets and others. All that empowered me to take advantage over her. Moreover, I used my psychology knowledge to manipulate her.
My friends are my buddies and when we go together I treat myself as a liaison to connect our mutual friends. It makes me more powerful and dominant. However, I know that Sue needs my help and support. But I know that everything can be arranged with power talks. I asked her whether she wanted to turn back to her aunt’s house and have such an unbearable life she had. Her answer was that she wanted more sleep and expressed the desire to enjoy Sundays. I ensured her that he could trust me. Then, she asked whether I wanted her to cook or we would go out for a meal. It made me feel powerful.
I understood that I had enough power to influence her decisions. Our relationship was a distresses system. I wanted to keep our relationships as they were. I realized that I loved her because of her unique beauty, kind heart, help, and support. But I hurt her last night and she understood me. I had the feeling that I was an animal. I did not want to continue hurting her and wanted to support her interests making her more happy and confident. The first thing I want to do is to regulate my power and do not use it to take advantage over Sue. I do not want to use it as a weapon to hurt others. My love to Sue makes me realize that I need to start a new life and make a greater emphasis on her feelings and needs.
Our conflict styles differ because of different cultures and backgrounds. Sue pursues accommodating conflict style and prefers to avoid conflicts. I am more concentrated in my own concerns and loss on the concerns of others.
Last night, when I asked her to give me more time to delete her naked photos from the social network, she avoided another conflict. I could explain it by the habit of avoiding conflicts. Her habit was strengthened by the relationships between Sue and her aunt. She thought that I and her aunt had similar achievement styles and I would not change myself as I always wanted to win the conflict showing my rightness at any cost. That is why she avoided the conflict when I required more time. She knew that I could have as much time as I needed to copy those photos to other social networks. But still trusted me and was sure that life does not always go as we want.
My childhood background had taught me to get engaged in conflicts as well as gain power and dominance. When I was a child, I was often teased by my peers. I had to fight with my classmates, but was hurt again and again. Constant bullying in high school made it difficult to trust and love others. I follow a dominating conflict style as I always wanted to gain power and show others that I am not the center of insults. I promised myself to win everything and become dominant even in tiny conflicts. I predicted that I would win the conflict that happened last night. But the best solution to the conflict was integration. I criticized myself and blamed myself for not finding the proper solution that might be beneficial to both of us and for our relationship.
To understand my emotions, I decided to analyze the feelings I had last night. I recollected our emotions and promised myself to manage the problem. I felt embarrassed when Sue revealed my secret and found that I displayed her private photos. I could only guess Sue’s feelings. She needed immense courage sending the photos back to me. I realized that I took advantage of her kindness and she was too kind to be my girlfriend. I did not deserve to have such a nice person with me.
This morning she said that she did not agree with me. But I do not know whether it is true. May be it can be explained by the absence of hope that I may change for her. Asking whether she could trust me she showed that she was unsafe. I understood that she did not angree with my point of view because she knew me and was aware of my character. She suggested preparing a lunch. But I decided to take responsibility for the conflict and improve the situation. I could not pretend that nothing had happened because I loved her.
I think that Sue was afraid yesterday. She thought that I would leave her. But she needed me. May be it was the main reason why she remained so calm and did not let her anger go outside. I was analyzing the conflict and realized that I had some misconceptions concerning our relationship. The conflict happened because I treated Sue as my trophy, rather than a person of my choice. I had never trusted her and was sure that she agreed to live with me only because of my money. However, she had the feelings and trusted me. Sue shared all her passwords, social and bank accounts with me. I did not pay any attention to it. She is the only person who has ever done it so much for, allowed me to be dominant, and love me despite my hurting habits.
May be I am a spoiled person as my parents always gave me what I wanted. It made me learn to manipulate their love and get everything I desire taking advantages from them. In addition, I had a wrong idea about love, about living together and sharing private things. My childhood negatively influenced the feeling of trust in people who surround me. Moreover, during the first date, I hinted that our love was not real. However, I need to change everything in my life as my attitude to conflicts and their resolution will only spoil my life.
The first thing I should do is to admit that I have caused many problems. I did not give her proper love, did not respect her and was sure that my money was the only reason of our relationship. That is why I decided everything that was related to our life. I had never even thought of the fact that Sue might love me and only because she was taught to be a good wife. It was difficult for me to understand the reason of her kindness, tolerance, and loyalty.
Before we started living together, I pretended to be a caring and attentive person. But when Sue became my girlfriend I changed myself and began to take a dominant position, neglecting her needs. I did not notice her love and affection. When I was unhappy or was in a bad mood, I always showed it to her. However, after I met her, I began to ignore the way I look. As a result, I found that I was not a good match for Sue because of her beauty and kindness. But I did not want to show it to her and did my best to hide such ideas and somehow improve my look. Since the childhood, I like to have everything under control. When I lose it, I feel unsecure and uncomfortable. I am from Hong Kong and was taught that weak become the prey for the powerful and strong.
In the morning I decided to discuss our feelings, our relationship and the way we live with my girlfriend. I asked her whether she loved me and her answer was positive. Then, I told I had already deleted my secondary Facebook account. I wanted to become myself and do not pretend that I am another person. I admitted that I did not listen to her advice and promised to do it in the future. Afterwards, I asked her what else I should change to be a good person to live with her. But she wanted to trust me. Trust was what she lacked. I knew it and realized that she lived with me for more than a year because she needed care, love and support. She wanted me to treat her like my wife. She wanted me to be a supporting, loving, and trustful person who protects her privacy. In addition, she needed honesty and responsibility. All that I promised her at our first dating. But I ruined everything.
I thought about the future life, the past life and all conflicts we had together. First, I was convinced that it was not my fault as I created that Facebook account when I was a school boy. It was a show-off tool that increased my self-esteem and confidence. In addition, many of my friends did in the same ways and had a hidden life in social networks. I realized that the reason of all out conflicts was that I did not lie Sue in the proper way. Bad memories from the childhood and poor habits of mutual trust had affected my life and my relationships with others, especially girlfriends.
I understood that I had enough power to influence her decisions. I ensured her that she could trust me from that morning as changed my mind, reconsidered our relations and wanted to love her more than ever. It was not a real negotiation as Sue almost did not take part in it. But I did my best to solve the conflict and opened my heart ensuring Sue trust, love, and good future.
Unfortunately, I was extremely obsessed with my status and what others think about me. Therefore, I did not notice the most precious things and people. Now, I need to work hard to change everything and to make others believe me, especially Sue. I have realized that there are many habits I have to learn to lead a happy lie. I find that Sue is a perfect woman that will help me to find balance in my life. Therefore, I proposed her to become my wife and she accepted my proposal. I was really happy.