CONFLICTED PARTNERS

Ailment:
I've been in a relationship for 2 years with a kind, caring, intelligent man. We have a nomadic and athletic lifestyle and we've allowed each other the freedom to pursue the things we love to do. We enjoy each others company
and we have great sex. The problem is that we don't deal with conflict well. We both have hot tempers and are easily irritated and frustrated. Whenever we try to talk about or resolve an issue we end up in a heated argument, neither of us listens, and we both end up feeling disrespected. How can we learn to deal with conflict before we destroy our relationship?
Kind Regards,
Frustrated partner
Dear Conflicted and Frustrated,
Your relationship sounds mostly marvellous, especially the athletic and nomadic side of it. However, your inability to disagree with each other comfortably is indeed a worry. We suggest that you start off with a strong dose of The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, preferably taken in audio form. Donald Sutherland's soothing and hypnotic tones will filter deep into your consciousness and show you that the best way to resolve issues of conflict, whether it is between man and fish, spear and Marlin, or two halves of a couple, is through steady, determined persistence and implacable calm. By the end of this short book, you will both discover the still, calm center of yourselves and be able to cope with anything that the other throws at you.
Then read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This brilliant, 800 page novel, portrays the conflict between twins, who realise that they cannot co-exist in the same country when one of them  crosses a fatal line, in regard to the romantic love they both share. The way that the twins separate and reconvene is salutary in itself, but it is the power struggle between Hema and Ghosh, the adoptive parents of these twins, that teaches us most about how to get on in a partnership despite one's differences. These two strong and charistmatic characters are as ill-suited as sand and oil, but they love each other deeply and get by admirably. You should take a few leaves from their book, and agree to disagree, but follow their recipe for conjugal calm.
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE