Managing conflict can be a key part of
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Disagreements and conflicts
are normal when people spend as much time together as they do in
retirement. But you can work on a process to manage the conflict,
says Sharon Danes, family economist with the University of Minnesota
Conflicts may arise between desired
interests, use of time and choice of friends. For example, if a
woman retires and assumes that her retired husband has the same
enthusiasm for travel as she does, it could create tension if he
prefers to stay at home.
Think of managing versus resolving
the conflict, Danes advises. The following five-step process can
1. State the problem to be solved in
one sentence. But take time to think about it, since what people
argue about is often not the real problem.
2. Write the problem with an "I"
statement rather than a "you" statement. That means you state the
problem in terms of how you feel, not in terms of what the other
person has done.
3. Identify your feelings about the
problem. Feelings can include being angry, frustrated, excited,
anxious, confused, resentful, hopeful and hurt. Rate the feelings
from zero, indicating "not at all," to five, meaning "very."
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4. Then get together with your
partner. If you don't view the problem in the same manner, start
discussing the place where there is agreement about retirement. The
tendency is to concentrate only on disagreements, forgetting there
are many points you agree on. Concentrate on the hopes and positive
ideas, what's most important, who should do what, possible options,
and who is helping in positive ways.
Then try to sift through points of
disagreement. Points to discuss include these: what you need to
reduce emotional intensity, what you want the other person to
understand about your position, which parts of the problem are your
responsibility, which parts you have control over, and who is
interfering with whom.
5. List alternative solutions to be
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