Good communication is central to a lasting and satisfying relationship. But even with the best of intentions, we can fail to understand what our partner is feeling and thinking. We may also fail to properly communicate our own needs to our partners.
If you are feeling misunderstood in your relationship, it is likely your partner is having a similar experience. Rather than get lost in frustration, sadness or anger, take steps to learn to communicate effectively with your partner.
Barriers to Communication
Emotional patterns can halt us in our tracks in terms of communicating with our partner. This is because we are reacting to something that happened in our past rather than what is occurring in the present.
For example, Lisa and Ken may have hit a romantic slump in their relationship. They haven’t gone out on a date in months. Lisa may be feeling neglected, but she’s afraid to bring it up because she doesn’t want to argue. When she does eventually express her disappointment, Ken reacts defensively. Lisa feels rejected and Ken feels unappreciated.
Both partners may be struggling with issues around their past, perhaps Ken is sensitive to criticism because his parents were overly critical. Lisa may be struggling with feeling unloved because this was how she felt as a child. In both cases, the past is haunting the present.
Different communication styles can make it difficult to connect. For example, after an argument, Ken may try to make peace with a kind gesture while Lisa needs to talk about it and hear/give a verbal apology. Lisa doesn’t feel like the fight is resolved if they don’t talk about it. Ken finds it upsetting to bring it up again.
In this case, neither of them are getting their needs met around resolving the situation. One or both may feel dismissed or shut down and the unfortunate situation is, neither partner likely wants the other to feel this way.
Help is Available
Dr. Mann can help you learn how to share your feelings more effectively, and how to listen to each other. She can help you recognize old patterns and prevent them from replaying over and over in your relationship. Call today, or fill out the contact form and click Send.