Managing disagreements

Topics in
this section

1 Reasons for disagreements

2 Ways to manage disagreements

3 Effectively communicate during a disagreement

True or False?

In a relationship, if both people really love each other, they don’t have disagreements


It is impossible to completely avoid disagreements in a relationship. When you have a disagreement, all it means is that you have a different view or opinion than your partner’s. It doesn’t mean that you love each other any less. It’s normal to have disagreements and they can even be beneficial. They can allow you to:

  • Identify the themes of disagreement in your relationship
  • Improve communication
  • Deepen your connection
  • Get to know yourself and your partner better
  • Communicate and express your feelings
  • Clarify each person’s needs and expectations

1 Reasons for disagreements

What disagreements do teenagers have?

Here are the themes of disagreement most often mentioned by teenagers in their romantic relationships:


Control and jealousy

  • My partner is jealous when I talk to other boys/girls.
  • My partner doesn’t trust me enough.

Contact and activities

  • My partner doesn’t text me often enough.
  • We never have enough time to do things together.

Needs and expectations

  • We have a different view of romantic relationships.
  • My partner and I disagree on the topic of our sex life.

Substance use

  • My partner smokes, drinks or takes drugs more often than I would like.

Is there jealousy in my relationship?

The idea of losing your partner can be a source of concern. . The idea of losing your partner can be a source of concern.

However, jealousy is not a proof of love, but rather a sign of a lack of confidence in oneself or one's partner. You can ask yourself questions to determine whether jealousy is present in a relationship. For example, does someone in the relationship:

  • Pry into the other's cell phone without permission?
  • Make the other person feel bad about talking to certain people?
  • Restrict the other's use of social media?
  • Constantly asks who the other person is texting with?
  • Wants to know where the other person is and with whom at all times?

Y a-t-il de la jalousie dans ma relation?

What do I do when there is jealousy in my relationship?

If you notice that jealousy is present in your relationship, ask yourself some questions:

  • Where is this jealousy coming from? Is it linked to a lack of confidence in myself or of trust in my partner?
  • What situations in our relationship trigger a feeling of jealousy?
  • How do I feel or how does my partner feel in these situations?
  • What strategies can we implement in our relationship to reduce jealousy?

It is normal to feel jealous, but it’s what you do about it that’s important . If there is jealousy or other themes of disagreement in your relationship, you can use the following strategies to effectively manage them.

Managing disagreements

Que faire lorsqu’il y a de la jalousie dans ma relation?

What are the potential consequences of jealousy?

Jealousy can lead to different consequences from one person to another, even within the same relationship. It can bring up unpleasant emotions for both partners, for example, anger or disappointment . It can also lead to more disagreements in the relationship or escalate to controlling and violent behaviour . If this is the case, talk to an adult you trust.

Dating violence

If you think that jealousy is present in your relationship, think about how you feel and how the other person may feel.

Quelles sont les conséquences possibles de la jalousie?

2 Ways to manage disagreements

What are the best ways to manage my disagreements?

There are several ways to manage disagreements in your relationships. The strategy you use to deal with your disagreements will have an impact on the way they end. Here are different strategies to help you effectively manage them:

  • I clarify the emotions I feel, and I express them
  • I take the time to calm down before speaking
  • I choose the right moment to talk about it
  • I tell the other person that I want to discuss something important and ask them if they are open to talking about it
  • I think of a good way to say things
  • If it’s appropriate, I use humour to lighten the mood
  • I try to resolve the situation, not to win or be right
  • I accept that the other person sees things differently
  • I express my needs and expectations
  • I look for a solution that is acceptable for everyone
  • I use the FEMG method to express myself in a positive way

What if my partner doesn't want to talk about the disagreement?

  • Clearly express your need to discuss the disagreement and why it's important to you
  • Take a step back and consider the other person's needs as well
  • Offer the other the possibility of resuming the discussion at another time if theyr aren't ready

What do I do if the same disagreement keeps coming up in my relationship?

  • Ask yourself if the strategies you’re using to manage the disagreement are effective and try different strategies
  • Ask yourself why you’re having this disagreement so you can find an acceptable solution for the partners
  • If the disagreements keep coming up despite the strategies you’re using to resolve them, give yourself the right to question your relationship or to think about breaking up

A disagreement or conflict becomes problematic if it happens too often in the relationship or if it escalates, for example, if the partners start saying hurtful things to each other or using violence. Communication should be the preferred strategy to resolve disagreements and violence should never be tolerated.

Effectively communicate during a disagreement

Que faire si le même désaccord revient tout le temps dans ma relation?

3 Effectively communicate during a disagreement

How do I effectively communicate during a disagreement?

It’s not always easy to communicate with others, to clearly express yourself, and to make others understand you correctly, especially during a disagreement. But there are 3 tips that can help you and that are easy to remember with the acronym FEMG  :

Faits observables   Émotions   Terrain d’Entente

Faits observables


Mention actual observable FACTS rather than perceptions or opinions.



Tell the other person the EMOTIONS you’re feeling in the situation, but without accusing them (avoid using “you” statements).

Terrain d’Entente


Find the MIDDLE GROUND that is realistic and positive and meets the needs of everyone involved in the disagreement.

Take the following quiz to test your knowledge of the communication tips:

Which of these 3 statements mentions an actual FACT that can be confirmed or observed?

A I have the impression that you don’t feel like seeing me.
B We never see each other and you never message me.
C I only got one text from you last Sunday.


You got it!


This statement shares an impression rather than a fact that can be confirmed or observed. Does the other person actually not feel like seeing the person or is this their interpretation of the situation?

Statements that use words like “Never”, “Always”, or “Every time that...” are usually exaggerated perceptions, but rarely actual facts. Do these two people actually “never” see each other?

This statement describes the situation using observable facts and not impressions or perceptions. The person only mentions facts, without adding any judgment that would change the message, for example, by saying “I got a text from you a really long time ago.”

In which of these 3 statements does the person name their own EMOTIONS without accusing the other person?

A You make me feel like I’m not important to you.
B I’m insecure about our relationship; I’m afraid of getting hurt.
C I feel like you don’t love me as much as I love you.


You got it!


This statement uses “you” and does not specify the person’s emotions. Rather, this statement accuses the other person.

This statement shows how the person actually feels in the situation. They are sharing their own feelings and fears, without mentioning the other person or their emotions.

Although this statement begins with an “I”, the rest of it refers to the feelings that the person thinks the other feels.

Which of these 3 statements proposes an acceptable MIDDLE GROUND?

A I want you to text me several times a day, as soon as you’re not busy doing something else.
B I would like it if we could set aside some time to spend together, as a couple.
C I would like you to message me immediately when you have a free moment in your day.


You got it!


This statement is worded as an order rather than a proposition or a suggestion. It is not realistic.

This statement proposes a positive solution that will very likely work for both people.

This request is certainly not realistic and will probably not be acceptable to both people.

You can use these 3 communication tips

Faits observables   Émotions   Terrain d’Entente

during all your discussions to express your point of view in a respectful way while listening to the other person’s! And don’t forget that you can always try again if you think that communication was not optimal.