This approach happens when a person does not assert himself, doesn’t know how to cooperate or wants to avoid conflict entirely. Although this can temporarily be a good approach to use if one is dealing with a difficult person, in the long run, it leaves issues unresolved and can linger on far beyond the event. Avoidance can mean to others that a person is ‘running away’ from them and they feel they can take advantage of the situation. Their inner message is that they need to maintain a lose/win attitude to survive.
The avoider on the outside may seem to give in, but at the same time, they can build considerable resentment towards their spouse for denying their feelings and agreeing to things they feel are wrong or hurtful.
When one partner always retreats from difficult discussions, the other partner pushes even harder to achieve a resolution. As the pusher pushes harder, the retreater retreats further. Eventually the distance between spouses can become an uncrossable chasm.
Next week, Part 19 – The Compromising Style of Communication
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of a “First Aid for Jewish Marriages: Eight Steps To Enhancing the Most Important Relationship in Your Life.” For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.