Dr. Bonnie Advises Ways to Deal with Conflict and Stay Together


Dr. Bonnie Advises Ways to Deal with Conflict and Stay Together
Relationships can last if they learn the proper techniques and tools to keep the sizzle alive.

The latest news to come from the Kardashian camp is that Kim is conflicted about her recent divorce filing and has flown to Minnesota to see her husband Kris Humphries. “The fact that she's having second thoughts is a good sign,” says Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil. “I believe just about any marriage can be saved if the couple is willing to put in the work and it seems like there might be hope for Kim.”

The conflict first arose after the couple had only been married for a short 72 days, apparently over a difference of opinion on where to live. Dr. Bonnie says this is evidence the couple has already left the honeymoon phase and is now moving to the power struggle phase, where they must learn to address each other on different terms. Kim wanted to settle near hear family in California, while Kris hoped to set up home base in Minnesota. “Although these are things the couple should have worked out prior to marriage, all is not lost due to this apparent impasse,” encourages Dr. Bonnie.


Although it's disconcerting that, facing a disagreement, Kim's fist reaction was to throw in the towel, her trip to Minnesota suggests she's realizing dissolving a marriage shouldn't be that simple. “Kim needs to learn how to deal with conflict in their relationship or, even if they work this issue out, there will be others that might send her running again,” Dr. Bonnie cautions, and suggests a few things to give the couple staying power.

Smart Heart Dialogue: The couple can use this as a way to move beyond the anger and blame that typically is placed when an argument or disagreement comes to a stalemate. It can be used for smaller, more inconsequential arguments as well. Dr. Bonnie encourages having a weekly ten minute “Smart heart”-to-heart with a figurative emotional "bullet proof vest" to protect from hurt, anger and defensiveness, as the couple listens and echoes back what they each heard the other say.

Fight Fair: Fighting in a relationship doesn't have to signal the end – but rather, it's HOW the couple fights that makes all the difference. Fighting doesn't necessarily mean a relationship is on the rocks, in fact, couples who argue well are happier. Perhaps surprisingly, there's also little distinction made about the so-called differences between arguing, fighting, bickering or even nagging – they're all forms of expressing dissatisfaction with a situation or a person and learning how to convey these feelings, and how to respond to them, can make all the difference.

Break up to make up or “brush with death”: It may be this initial divorce filing provided Kim with all the separation she needed, but Dr. Bonnie typically advises a temporary breakup as a way to help resolve certain issues, and create a shake-up that many couples need. In certain circumstances, this is the only thing that will create an action step which will make reconnecting and making up easier to do.

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Dr. Bonnie Weil


Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil
Relationship and Family Therapist

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: PhD
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