Young couples that find it easy to engage in conversations with their partners are least likely to hold onto anger and stress after conflict.
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. So what distinguishes healthy conflict from the kind that is more destructive?
A study of conflict in young couples has found that those who were able to easily engage in rewarding conversations with their partners were less likely to hold onto anger and stress and more likely to be satisfied with their relationship.
A team of researchers from Kansas State University worked with more than 50 couples ages 18 to 20 who had been dating for a least six months but were not engaged, married, or living together. These early dating relationships are so new that according to researcher Brenda McDaniel, it can even be difficult to get the couples to engage in conflict. It's there, "but, because the relationship is so new to them, they don't want to cause a break-up."
The researchers looked at stress hormone levels after participants spent 20 minutes talking about a topic that typically caused relationship tension. Often, conflict occurred when one partner treated the other differently in front of family, did not introduce the other to parents and friends, or was flirting with someone else.