Poor communication is one of the most common causes of death for a relationship. Not knowing how to communicate properly can turn little annoyances into big issues and big issues into impossible ones. You and your partner might be on the exact same page, but if you can’t tell each other what page you’re on you could end up thinking you’re in different books entirely.
After all that time and effort spent finding your ideal match, getting to know them, and developing your relationship to this point, it would be a shame for things not to work out because of a few misunderstandings that spiraled. So, how can you and your partner work on expressing yourselves in a healthy and productive way? Here are a few places to start:
Observe, but don’t assume.
When you care about someone, you should be attentive to how they act, what they say, and sometimes even what they don’t do or say. What’s important to remember though is that you must try your best not to interpret your observations and make assumptions about what your partner is feeling or thinking. If you think something is wrong or are unsure what they meant by something, ask them about it directly.
Be honest and direct.
Just like you shouldn’t take it upon yourself to read your significant other’s mind, you can’t expect your partner to read your mind either. If you have an issue or want them to know something, you have to tell them! Don’t assume they’ll figure out what’s wrong based on any passive aggressive signals you might give (and then, even worse, get mad at them for doing nothing). In a healthy relationship, you need to communicate your needs, wants, and problems directly if you want them to be met and solved.
Don’t attack, discuss.
Issues will always arise in a relationship, even the healthiest ones. The key is in how you approach them. When there’s a problem, explain how you’re feeling to your partner instead of throwing out accusations. Pointing fingers will quickly turn a productive discussion into a nasty argument by putting you both on the defense. To prevent that wall from building, try to express your emotions with “I” statements.
For example, instead of saying “You never listen when I talk about my day at work”, try “I’ve been feeling a little ignored when I talk about my day”. This reframes the focus on how you’re feeling and being affected by what’s happening rather than on what your partner is doing wrong. They will be more open to listening and working on the problem when their defenses don’t automatically kick in in response to an accusation.
When your partner is talking to you, whether it’s about a relationship issue or just about their day, listen to understand, not to respond. Don’t interrupt them when they’re speaking and give them your focused, undivided attention. If you’re texting while they’re trying to vent about work, they’re going to feel unimportant and ignored.
When you and your significant other are discussing a problem in your relationship, make a real effort to understand their point of view. Most importantly, if you’re listening to them and realize you’re in the wrong, admit it! Don’t get defensive and try to redirect blame onto them or something else. Just apologize and ask how you can guys can improve the situation moving forward.
Check in with each other daily.
Checking in with your partner everyday is a good way to develop the habit of communication and strengthen your relationship. Talking about the little things, like what you tried for lunch from that new place today and the funny thing your coworker said in a work meeting, brings you closer together. It also makes you better-equipped to talk about the big things—which you should also check in on regularly too. In a long-term relationship, you should touch base routinely about how you’re feeling about the relationship and any major changes you’ve gone through, such as buying a house together, getting engaged, etc.
Building good communication in a relationship starts with the very first conversation. That’s why My Safe Dating makes it easy for our users to keep in touch with their matches and get to know each other at their preferred pace. When you sign up for our online dating platform, you’ll have access to secure text, voice, and video chat tools to develop your relationships safely and effectively.
If you’re 40 years or older in the Metro Vancouver area, become a member today to start making connections that last!