Conflict is a bridge to intimacy. Let me explain.
When you feel that familiar and uncomfortable tension that leads to that inevitable angry outburst of criticism, conflict can feel like a threatening and destructive process that may lead to the end of a valuable relationship. It can be very scary. But if you can tolerate the anxiety, fear, and tension as you sort it out, it can create an opportunity for greater relational depth.
When you and the other party are able to achieve emotional self-regulation, there can be enough consciousness in the moment to accept your thoughts and feelings as they are; without personalizing or catastrophizing criticism, this creates space to be truly seen, heard, and felt on an authentic level.
Having your thoughts and feelings unconditionally accepted and even embraced by your partner ultimately deepens the sense of safety within the relationship. A sense of safety in a relationship amounts to stability and security which allows for more closeness, intimacy, and acts as an invitation to extend more honest and open communication.
Conflict becomes a non-threatening entity that essentially says, “I accept your bad mood, your criticism, and your anger, and I also do not take it as a personal reflection of who you are or who I am, because I know that no matter what is said, I am still here for you, you are still here for me, and we are in this together.”
In this way, conflict becomes a bridge to more intimacy.