We all like to think that we’re good communicators, as being able to communicate well is vital in any relationship. But it can sometimes feel difficult to really express how you feel with the person you want to have the easiest communication in life with – your partner.
To some extent, it’s natural that over a period of time certain aspects of your relationship may become difficult to discuss. Many people fear that stating their opinion over something may upset their partner, or rock the relationship in some way. So, instead of saying what’s bothering them, they hide their feelings and say nothing. This is not a healthy approach. It can make things worse as things left unsaid tend to fester and become reasons to resent your partner, whereas if you were open with each other from the outset, you could sort a particular issue or situation out.
Good communication is key to a healthy and happy relationship. If you’re struggling to speak your mind in a relationship without it descending into an argument, try using some of the tips below.
- Remember your partner can’t read your mind. It’s important to remember that your partner can’t second guess what you’re thinking. If you don’t express what’s on your mind clearly, your partner won’t know what the problem is.
- Talking is the way forward. While we live in a digital age, where lots of our communication is done by text or email, there’s a lot of opportunity for miscommunication through the written word. Things can get lost in translation. Talk face to face so that your partner can see your body language and hear your tone of voice. Don’t stand with your arms crossed, looking defensive. Bear in mind what their body language tells you too. Sit down together and keep up the eye contact.
- Be honest. Many people don’t say what they really feel as they fear upsetting their partner or hurting their feelings. Although it’s sometimes not easy to be honest, it’s always the best policy.
- Be an active listener. If you and your partner are having a serious conversation, make sure you’re not going to be distracted. Switch off your phone and the TV. Make sure you have eye contact and really ensure that you hear what your partner is saying to you.
- Use the sandwich method. If you have something to say that your partner may not want to hear, soften it by sandwiching it between some positive statements. Don’t just say you’re fed up with the long hours they’re working; try something like “I love you and I love it when we can do things together, but when you work so much it means we have less time together. Is there any way you can change your hours so we have more time for some fun?”
- Use some ‘I’ statements. In order for someone not to feel attacked, you need to turn statements from ‘you’ to ‘I’ so they understand how their actions affect you. Don’t say ‘you always leave the house in a mess’; instead, say ‘I find it upsetting that you leave all the housework to me’. Although you’re saying the same thing, it’s in a manner that’s more approachable.
Friendships and relationships are one in the same. They both require dedication to one another, good communication, honesty and trust.
— Good Vibes Only (@Good_Vibes_OnIy) March 7, 2016
Better communication isn’t a one-way street; your partner has to learn to communicate well with you as well. By starting the ball rolling and expressing yourself effectively, you’ll be able to meet your own needs as well as your partner’s.