Being half of a couple can be difficult, even if you’re head-over-heels in love. Communicating with your honey can get touchy, because both of you have different thoughts, opinions, emotions and histories. Check out this list and see what common communication mistakes most couples make, so you can eliminate them from your own relationship.
1. Assuming that more communication is the solution.
Believe it or not, there is such thing as too much communication. Have you ever discussed or argued your point so much that you start saying everything that comes to mind? Sometimes those things that come to mind aren’t the best to come from your mouth… But this happens because you’re talking so much that you’re saying things just to hold your own in the conversation. This is how you know you’re communicating too much. Sometimes you need to keep things to yourself, and while this doesn’t mean hiding things from your partner, it means picking your words carefully and saying just what needs to be said to resolve the issue at hand. The last thing you want to do is open another can of worms while you’re in the middle of resolving the current issue!
2. Expecting your partner to read your mind.
You don’t want to communicate too much, but you also don’t want to bite your tongue and expect your partner to know what you’re thinking. If you’re waiting for someone to read your mind, you’re never going to feel like an equal in the relationship. You need to say what you’re thinking and feeling, just make sure your partner understands that these are your emotions and opinions, not something you’re forcing on them.
3. Giving in without saying what you think.
Don’t roll over and give up everything you’re thinking just to resolve the problem at hand. Your partner can’t win every time, and you need to make sure you’re letting your feelings be known and getting what you need from the relationship, too. If you never say what you think because you’re trying to keep the peace, you’ll find that over time you’re actually holding a grudge and resenting your partner because you’re unhappy in the relationship.
4. Harping on hopeless issues.
It’s easy to bring up fights from the past, or nag your partner for things in their history, or things they believe or do differently from you. This is always a bad choice, though. It changes nothing, and it makes you look like you’re never going to let anything go. Be the type of person who can get over a fight when it’s resolved, and not bring it up in each fight that follows. “Live in the moment” sounds like silly advice when you’re in the middle of an argument, but it’s something that needs to be done so you’re not prolonging every fight you have.
5. Not understanding what is really being said.
Some couples find it helpful to summarize each others’ points. Sounds like something you’d do for a high school paper, right? It’s actually a really good way to make sure you understand each other! After your partner shares their thoughts, summarize by saying “It sounds like you’re happy with X, but need Y to change to feel like the relationship is moving forward.” Your partner can then clarify if needed. If you got it right, then you can start explaining your thoughts on the issue. This way each remark doesn’t bring up a new fight due to imagined snarkiness or hostility.
6. Thinking about your rebuttal instead of listening.
It’s ok to admit — most of us go into a fight knowing what points we want to make, how we want the other person to feel, and what we want for “winning”. This is a bad attitude to have, though, because any discussion should have at least two sides to be fair. But when you know exactly what you want to say, you often think about that instead of listening to what the other person is saying. Don’t just focus on the first few words your partner says — listen to their whole statement, take a moment to absorb it, and then think about what you want to say in a return. If you have to scrap your original plan of attack, it’s probably for the best.
7. Not considering the other’s point of view.
Everyone is different, and you know your partner intimately. You know how they think about things, how certain words or situations make them feel. Don’t forget all of this just to win an argument. Take your partner’s feelings, opinions and background into consideration when you communicate. You can sidestep a lot of fights and hurt feelings by being considerate this way.
Featured photo credit: morning shadow via flickr.com