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Assessing Discomfort
by Demian
© January 1999, Demian

Uncomfortable situations in a relationship sometimes can lead to conflict. The form below can be used to assess relative distress levels in various hypothetical situations.

Take turns with your partner to rate the situations listed below from
4 (highly uncomfortable) to 1 (minor discomfort).
Use the results as a basis for discussion.

Situation Partner
Your partner is coming home one to three hours late, four nights a week because she or he is getting involved in work or volunteer efforts.    
Your partner begins to take a mechanical, disinterested approach to lovemaking.    
You and your partner have an argument and she or he pushes you so hard it leaves a large bruise. Both of you are aware that this was not an accident.    
Your partner lacks initiative in many areas and leaves decision-making to you.    
Your partner has chosen to join a support group for personal growth. This means you will have to cut back on your joint entertainment time and expenses.    
Your partner takes the initiative in many areas and leaves no decision-making to you.    
Your partner pressures you for a form of sex with which you feel uncomfortable.    
Your partner tells you to mind your own business when you mention your concern that she or he is abusing a substance, such as alcohol, pot or food.    
You have two weeks available for vacation. Your partner has decided she or he wants to spend one of these alone.    

Like most values clarification exercises, there are no right or wrong answers. Indeed, there are no right or wrong ways of dealing with the conflicts that can arise from these situations. However, considering minor conflicts in advance can help ease tensions later.

This exercise was adapted from materials developed by Campus Christian Ministry.

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