Conflicting Values in a Romantic Relationship: How to Resolve Tension

Written by Tom Marino

July 28, 2021

conflicting values

What should you do when you and your partner have conflicting values?

Our values give us purpose and direction. Honoring our core values is key to making better choices and pursuing our life goals. When there is a misalignment between our actions and our values, we often experience conflict.

In the same way, we’ll experience tension in a relationship if our partner’s values do not align with our own.


Lack of value alignment creates conflict in relationships

“We don’t want the same things anymore.” “We’re just not on the same page.” “We’re like two ships passing in the night.”

These are different ways to say the same thing. In other words, you and your partner are not on the same path because you are governed by different foundational principles.

This is not to say that you and your partner should be 100% aligned in every way. We are all different people, and it is OK to value different things. But when it comes to a romantic partnership, the majority of your core values should be shared so that you’re rowing in the same direction.

Let’s say that you value intimacy, but your partner is distant. Is this something you’re willing to overlook, or compromise? Maybe you value personal growth, but your partner is not receptive to feedback or willing to improve. You value family, and you hope to have children, but your partner does not.

Where your values do not align, there is tension and conflict. How, then, do you heal a relationship or grow closer?


What to do when you and your partner have conflicting values

First and foremost, you need to be aware of your differences. What are your values? What are your partner’s values?

By identifying one another’s values, you can begin to see where compromise or healing is necessary. This is an eye-opening exercise because it gives each of you an understanding of what’s important to one another. It opens an honest conversation about your priorities and how you live your lives.

On the one hand, you may realize how to move forward together and decide which of your values need to be aligned for growth and stability. On the other hand, this exercise may reveal to you that your partner is “not on the same page,” and it’s time to go your separate ways.

Of course, this is not about a blanket acceptance of another’s values. Where your values differ, the key word is “respect.” Sometimes you won’t agree. But you can learn to respect each other even when there are differences.



Your conflicting values are at the root of your conflict. It is so important to understand one another’s values so that you can bring yourselves back together.

Are you struggling to align your values? As a Certified Life Coach, I can help you (1) identify your values, and (2) take the necessary steps to align your choices with those values. Learn more about CHOICE coaching and schedule your complimentary session today.


Photo by Christopher Burns / Unsplash