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This Super Common Conflict Pattern Is What Escalates Fights Between Couples

According to Earnshaw, if you struggling with this dynamic in your relationship, both parties need to navigate their own role in this dance. Typically the action items will include learning to self-soothe and take breaks during a conflict, she explains.

“If you tend to be the person who distances, it’s your job to learn how to calm yourself down so you can enter into conversations and learn to compromise,” she says. To do this, you can work on being open and vulnerable, asking for what you need, and practicing self-soothing.

“If you are the person who tends to pursue, you will need to learn how to take space and allow for breaks in conversation, set boundaries, and express yourself assertively,” she notes, adding, you, too, will need to practice self-soothing when you’re overwhelmed.

Additionally, Earnshaw says it may be helpful to explore your attachment styles. The pursuer may be more likely to have an anxious attachment style, while the withdrawer may have an avoidant attachment style.

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