Essay Example on Approach-Avoidance Conflict

Published: 2021-07-19
591 words
3 pages
5 min to read
George Washington University
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This is a situation which involves making a wise decision if it has both negative and positive impacts (Elliot & Thrash, 2002). I have undergone this conflict situation when making a life decision of getting married to a particular lady who we have been dating for a while. The case was challenging because I first admired going into marriage because of sharing good memories with my wife, tackling issues together and enjoying companionship. However, there were personal problems with several members of her family which became an obstacle and frequent arguments in the house. Another challenge was fear of commitment considering financial challenges I faced.

My situation fits this type of conflict situation because it forced me to critically analyze and compare both appealing and unappealing situations to decide which one outweighs the other. Approach-conflict situation demands that the person involved should attempt to directly confront an issue at hand. In my case, a marriage is such a momentous decision that has numerous negative and positive impacts thus needs to be handled carefully. In my case, financial problems and desire to live a good social life were some of the factors that put me into a dilemma. However, I decided to involve my family members and the ladys family to discuss the way forward especially concerning difficult with in-laws. In the end, we reached an agreement and finally settled on the marriage while getting financial support from my parents.

The feelings about my decision later become more positive as my relationship became stronger in a marriage that made me happy about my earlier decision. The decision of quitting or be staying focused on marriage originated mainly from disagreements with some of my wifes brothers. This put me in an awkward and difficult situation forcing me to take a long time to think critically about it thus delaying my situation. However, I finally reached a decision when the brothers, I and my wife decided to sit down and discuss the matter extensively.

Approach-avoidance conflict creates a scenario where the influence of positive and negative aspects causes a conflict because the decision maker has to decide to go on with his/her goal or abandon it altogether (Elliot & Thrash, 2002). The issue of marriage had put me in that dilemma since I proposed to my wife due to excitement and great positive outcomes that could have followed after getting married. On the other hand, I once decided to cancel the marriage plans altogether to avoid discouraging aspects of marriage which could have affected me psychologically.

The competing feelings to achieve a goal are a determinant factor in approach-avoidance conflict (Elliot & Thrash, 2002). I experienced a situation of contradicting feelings where one tries to outweigh the other. The positive effects were rather strong because of numerous impacts marriage will have in my life such as happiness and being loved. However, some negative effects such as being sad or depressed while in marriage developed a desire to avoid the situation which almost produced indecision inside my mind. After thorough approach towards that life goal, the positive effects made me proceed with my marriage plans.

In conclusion, the approach-conflict situation can be hurtful to a relationship. In my marriage case, the conflicting ideas within my mind could have ruined my marriage if I made a wrong decision. Reaching equilibrium was one of the fundamental achievements which became a defining moment in my life.


Elliot, A. J., & Thrash, T. M. (2002). Approach-avoidance motivation in personality: approach and avoidance temperaments and goals. Journal of personality and social psychology, 82(5), 804.


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