Communicating in Your Relationship
27th January, 2011
IF ONE WINS YOU BOTH LOSE – In every relationship there are disagreements. But if you get to the stage where you are just trying to score points against each other, it doesn't matter how many points you both notch up, neither of you will win. You will only make yourselves feel frustrated and misunderstood. Is it really so important that you prevail? If you 'win' an argument that leaves your partner feeling crushed or humiliated then you both lose.
LISTEN TO YOUR PARTNER – Do you really listen to what your partner is saying or are you just waiting for a gap so that you can get your point across? Listen to them and take the time to think about what's been said. Really try to understand what is going on for your partner. Respond don't react.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT – Don't assume that your partner can read your mind. What you want in a relationship is sometimes so obvious to you that you can take for granted that your partner will somehow magically know. If you ask for what you want you may not get it but at least you will both know where you are. If you don't tell them they can't know.
TELL YOUR PARTNER WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY – If you are angry with your partner or feel hurt, tell them. Keeping them in the dark while you brood silently is unfair on your partner and just stores up resentment and problems.
ACCEPT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOU – Don't expect you and your partner to share exactly the same opinions and therefore agree on everything. In a strong and healthy relationship you may share a great many goals and ideals but you both can't think and feel the same things at the same time. You are both individuals. Differences can be healthy, stimulating and challenging. Accept and be comfortable with each other's differences.
TELL YOUR PARTNER, NOT YOUR FRIENDS – Discussing with your friends what's going on between you and your partner can make you feel as though your are addressing and dealing with the issues of your relationship. But remember, your partner is not included in this dialogue and may not have a clue what's going on for you while you may act as though they do. It's your partner you need to talk to.
KEEP TALKING – Often our first response when trouble comes is to withdraw and pull back from each other. This can only make things worse. If both of you close up so there is no dialogue between you and your partner then neither of you can know what is going on and you will have no hope of resolving the issue; all either of you can do is to imagine what the other is thinking and feeling. Keep talking. Once dialogue stops so does any hope of resolution.
DON'T EXPECT TO RESOLVE EVERYTHING AT ONCE – It may take several conversations to resolve a problem. That is fine. It gives you both time to reflect on what you have both said and to think about the implications.
Related articles from our experts
- Couple relationships and microfrictions: what is it, what can be done about it?
Graeme Armstrong MBACP13th October, 2017
- Are there benefits of having an affair?
Gill Sanders: Psychotherapist and Couples Counsellor, COSRT: BACP: UKCP:11th October, 2017
- Differentiation – balancing the need for togetherness and separation
Angela Dierks, BA (Hons), MStud (Oxon), MA Integrative Counselling, MBACP (Acc)7th October, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.