How could affect or be affected by the

How
Couples in Long-Distance Relationship Can Manage Conflicts.

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How Couples in
Long-Distance Relationship Can Manage Conflicts.

In the U.S today,
changes in life paradigms have led to an increase in the occurrence of couple
long-distance relationships. Despite the fact that long-distance relationship
among couples has been there for a long time, their frequency has been
increasing recently due to social, economic, and technological changes as
observed by Firmin, Firmin, and Merical, (2013). According to Cameron and Ross
(2007), the physical separation between the individuals in a romantic
relationship or even a married couple has attracted depression and distress,
which often leads to conflicts. The anxiety and uncertainties about the future
of the relationship tend to rise when the individuals in the relationship are
far away from each other. This escalates the tension between resulting into
more conflicts. The research is aimed at establishing the facts about how
couples in long-distance relationships can manage conflicts.

Many couples exist
who have met online and dated long distance and finally got married (Baker,
2002). Advanced technology has not been helpful in maintaining the stability of
couple long-distance relationships. A study by Chang (2003) shows that
face-to-face communication is the best method of solving conflicts in
relationships. By exploiting the theoretical framework of the research as well
as the previous works about the couple long distance relationship, Chang (2003)
was able to study how the application of innovative communication technologies
could affect or be affected by the long-distance relationship dynamics. With
the physical distance being a factor contributing to the conflicts as one can’t
be with the partner all the time, there leaves room for suspicion and
relational insecurity. One may ask the question is my partner being faithful?  Am I being lied too?  Is this person really into me?  The outcomes of the study showed that even
though technology has helped when dealing with conflicts in relationships, the
old fashion way of face-to-face is still proven to be the best way.

    Studies have indicated that social
networking platforms can help resolve the conflicts between couples in long
distance relationships. However, the platforms can also escalate the conflicts
making it difficult for the couple to reach consensus. According to the
research by Billedo, Kerkhof, and Finkenauer (2015), a primary concern when
dating in a long-distance relationship is the challenge of not being physically
available. The social media networks come in handy in such relationships by
enhancing the communication frequency. This is because effective frequent
communication help brings the couple more closely even when separated
physically by long distances. Through keeping in touch frequently, the level of
confidence in each other is increased. 
Furthermore, frequent communication cultivates the trust in one another,
thereby eliminating uncertainties that may cloud the future of the
relationship.

    However, as mentioned, the research also
shows that social network media may escalate the conflicts in a couple of
long-distance relationships.  A survey
conducted to establish the effect of social media networking on long couple
distance relationship using Facebook has shown that the social media networks
can make it difficult for a couple to resolve their conflicts. As reported by
Billedo, Kerkhof and Finkenauer (2015), the use of social media networks such
as Facebook leads to jealousy. Through Facebook, one can see who their partner
has other communication with besides them exclusively. This leads to resentment
that creates tension between them. Criticism and defensiveness sets in and are
blocks to communication during conflict communication as stated by Peterson
(2013).  It becomes hard for conflicts to
be resolved in a tense relationship as the trust levels are significantly
lowered.

Moreover, the
study by Billedo, Kerkhof and Finkenauer (2015) also shows that the long
distance creates a barrier such that by the time the couple sees each other
they would have calmed down and can communicate effectively to resolve their
conflicts. Communication during conflict resolution cannot be underestimated.
If communication collapses, the parties fail in addressing their issues. There
are styles of communication embraced in conflict resolution that make the
process of resolution easy or more difficult. The parties involved should
eliminate any communication roadblocks for faster solutions. By having calmed
down when the couple meets, effective communication is achieved. During
conflict resolution, the involved parties should always try to keep a calm
posture. In most real life cases, research shows that the interested parties
tend to show emotions through body language (Alexandra, 2013). An example is
the use of facial expressions that bring out fury. A mediator can be essential
to try calming the involved parties (Alexandra, 2013).  The body language can be in the form of
gestures, as the concerned individuals try to prove their point (Alexandra,
2013). There might also be the rise of tone, which requires a regulation for a
sufficient resolution. A sitting position should be embraced, and the involved
parties should keep calm and relax for effective communication and a fast
solution (Alexandra, 2013).

Furthermore, the
extent of the lack of affection and relational security is a threat to the
stability of couple long-distance relationship. The physical separation
resulting from the long-distance relationship causes insecurity in addition to
lowering the affection between the two individuals in the relationship.
According to research by Cameron and Ross (2007), various conditions make some
of the long distance relationships to survive while others fail. This fact was
established in a study aimed at evaluating the conditions that predict the
stability of long distance relationships. The conditions include the nature or
characteristics of the relationship and those of the individuals in that
particular relationship. The features of the physical separation, as well as
the individual differences, also play a great role in establishing or breaking
the relationship. People can develop a lasting long-distance relationship
through proper means of solving and managing disputes created by the
disconnection between couples. 

Additionally,
studies have proved that conflict management depends heavily on the traits of
the individual. For instance, an individual who is unhappy with the
relationship will make it hard to resolve any emerging conflict when the couple
gets physically separated. Moreover, pessimistic individuals make it difficult
to resolve the conflicts in long-distance relationships. Moderation and
mediation can be a useful method to solve the disputes among the long-distance
relationship couples as suggested by Cameron and Ross (2007). Thus,
relationship optimism can play a crucial role in solving the conflicts, since
optimism involves being confident in one another the despite the long distance
separation.

More importantly,
research proves that attributes such as trust, confidence in one another and
understanding in addition to communication lead to the success of couple
long-distance relationships. As observed by Firmin, Firmin, and Merical (2013),
the conflicts arising as a consequence of the physical separation can be
managed through attributes such as trust. 
The mutual faith in each other, even when separated by long distance,
leads to trust which is a necessity to the survival of most long-distance
relationships.

Social norms can
be a hindrance to the couple long distance relationship. In his study,
Jurkane-Hobein (2015) established that both generation-specific and
gender-specific social norms play a role in complicating the long-distance
relationship. People approach the long-distance relationship in different ways
based on their social backgrounds. For instance, older individuals from
collective cultures would not consider living together or dating long distance
as observed by Jurkane-Hobein (2015). In a collectivist culture environment,
one is expected to maintain certain social norms in the society. Sometimes the
difference between individuals in how they handle conflict will influence
whether they will have a fruitful and satisfied relationship or not. As
reported by Pattie (2009), the way a person handles conflict whether it’s long
distance or locally will affect the relationship. Different conflict management
styles impact long distance relationship versus dating someone you can be with
all time.

Effective conflict
management in couple long-distance relationship also depends on the effort by
each partner into the relationship. A study by Gormly (2010) reveals that the
amount of effort put into the relationship is paramount to establishing stable
and long lasting couple relationships in cases where the couple is many miles
apart. Gormly (2010) suggests that based on the efforts of each partner, the
long distance relationship can either fizzle out or thrive. Therefore it is
imperative for each partner to put more effort into the relationship such in
case of any conflict the relationship would not fizzle out as the conflict can
be resolved much quickly

In conclusion,
maintaining effective communication between the individuals involved in a
long-distance relationship make it easier to manage any conflicts arising
between them. Excellent communication skills and personal attributes play a
significant role in how conflicts can be resolved amicably by the partners in a
couple of long-distance relationships. Through constant communication, the
confidence in one another is maintained same as trust. Thus, in the case of any
conflict or disagreement, the couple can resolve the issues easily.

 

 

 

 

References

Alexander, E. R. (2013). The
Reduction of Cognitive Conflict: Effects of Various Types of Communication. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 23(1), 120-138.
doi:10.1177/002200277902300107

Baker, A. (2002). What makes an
online relationship successful? Clues from couples who met in   cyberspace. Cyber Psychology & Behavior,
5(4), 363-375,                                               
          doi: 10.1089/109493102760275617

Billedo, C. J., Kerkhof, P., , C. (2015). The
Use of Social Networking Sites   for       Relationship Maintenance in Long-Distance
and Geographically Close Romantic            Relationships.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 18(3),            152-157.          doi:10.1089/cyber.2014.0469

Cameron,
J. J., & Ross, M. (2007). In times of uncertainty: Predicting the survival
of long-            distance
relationships. The Journal of
Social Psychology, 147(6),
581-606.    Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199836345?accountid=45049

Chang, S. (2003). Communication
technologies and long-distance romantic relationships   Paper   Presented at the International Communication
Association, 1-31,       doi:ica_proceeding_11995.PDF

Firmin,
M. W., Firmin, R. L., & Merical, K. L. (2013). Extended communication
efforts    involved with college
long-distance relationships. Contemporary
Issues in Education        Research (Online), 6(1), 97-n/a. Retrieved from             http://search.proquest.com/docview/1418450424?accountid=45049

Gormly,
K. B. (2010, Sep 20). Long-distance loves: Relationships can fly or fizzle when
couples are separated by miles. McClatchy – Tribune Business News Retrieved from   http://search.proquest.com/docview/751635232?accountid=45049

Jurkane-Hobein, I. (2015). Do I
qualify for a love relationship? Social norms and long-      distance relationships in Post-Soviet Latvia. Sexuality
& Culture, 19(2), 388-406,      doi:10.1007/s12119-014-9263-0

Pattie, B. (2009). The impact of conflict management styles on
relational and communication         satisfaction:
Comparing long-distance and geographically close dating relationships.      Paper presented at the National
Communication Association, 1.

Peterson, G. (2013). Barriers to
effective communication. Conflict
Resolution, 1(4),
1-7. doi:10.4135/9781446261095.d7