In a successful relationship with a shared commitment to the resolution rather than the perpetuation of conflicts, the partners mutually support each others growth. Unresolved issues emerge from the past and can reappear in relationships such a partners, friends, bosses or coworkers.
Past conflicts may be the only thing holding some relationships together.
Conflicted needs act the mortar with bricks. They may bind couples, however they also leave them stuck apart. Resolving conflicts allows for a new way of connecting. This invokes an inherent risk in problem solving and making changes, since the form of the emerging new relationship cannot be guaranteed. Then again, holding onto conflicts only ensures that the relationship will never improve.
The first priority in helping couples is to teach them how to relate to one another in real time--relating as one adult to another adult. Once a couple engages in this way, the mortar of conflict dissolves, freeing them to decide what better kind of a bond they wish to develop, if any.
The danger of that is 'unaddressed' mean 'unresolved.'Unresolved means perpetuated. The couple may begin to experience old distress that both thought they had left behind with old 'lovers.' Solving problems by splitting from the previous partner can create a sense of being a 'winner,' and in actuality is unresolved.
A successful relationship process is one which both partners join together to resolve their conflicts.
What happens if only one partner wants change? That person must discontinue his role in the conflict dance and learn to develop new response to the powerful, old stimuli coming from his/her partner. By not taking the old bait, he/she can keep off of the old hooks.
Understanding the role each partner played but no longer heeding the call to continue with old patterns means that the past is actually past and no longer interfering with the present. The changed person can now live fully in the present, although unfortunately it may be without the current partner unless they make a change as well.
Breaking Free ~ Kardener & Kardener