Communication is the life-blood of a relationship. Problems with communication in relationships are so common that no matter how great you and your sweetheart get along, you’re bound to run into some miscommunication somewhere. The good news is, with the right approach, these problems usually fairly easy to solve.
Bridge the gender divide!
Men and women approach relationships in distinctly different ways. Without and open mind, it’s all too easy to write the opposite gender off as “illogical” or even start thinking of their differences as childish or petty. The fact is neither gender is perfectly logical. Taking some time to learn about exactly how the opposite gender looks at love matters can help you avoid a lot of problems in relationships.
Don’t forget that you’re one half of the communication problem. When you’ve been together for a while, you might start to think you know what your partner is going to say. Unless you have ESP, though, you’ll get a lot farther by actually hearing your partner out. When sweetie tells you something, restate what they said to make sure you understood correctly and let them know you heard.
Release the need for blame!
When one of you has a problem, the relationship has a problem and it’s in both your best interests to work it out peacefully.
Instead of going around in circles trying to decide whose fault it is, focus on how you’re going to solve it. Likewise, try to avoid blaming your partner for your overall mood. Specific issues like “When you flirt with other people, I feel rejected.” are fine, but sweeping statements like “You make me miserable.” or “You stress me out.” are taking it too far.
Stick to the facts!
When trying to talk over problems in relationships, don’t bring up any thing you can’t prove. Instead, stay with what can’t be argued like your own feelings and what your partner already agrees they do. For example, saying “You disrespected me in front of my friends.” can be argued because standards of respect differ. On the other hand, saying “I was embarrassed when you told Dave you don’t think I should ask for a raise.” is not only unarguable, but also gets your point across more clearly.
Be frank, but kind!
You’re not doing anyone any favors by taking a “put up and shut up” attitude to problems in relationships. All you end up doing is allowing wounds to fester and they can eventually reach the point where they’ll never heal at all. Instead, speak your mind when you have a problem, but do so with gentleness, kindness, and respect. Remember, your partner probably isn’t trying to hurt or annoy you and may be pretty upset to hear you’re unhappy.
Be a friend, not a coach!
Chances are, your partner isn’t with you because they’re hoping you can correct all their bad habits and personality flaws. You’re not their parent, teacher, coach, or boss. You’re their friend and lover.
You may think you’re giving constructive criticism, but your partner might think your love or respect for them has diminished because of this one little flaw they have. Instead of criticizing, encourage improvement by giving your partner some positive feedback when they do something you really like.
There, that doesn’t sound too hard, does it? These techniques may be simple, but the really do work to solve communication problems in relationships. Give them a try.