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Imagine your relationship with no arguments. The one where you can hear each other and be heard in return. What would your relationship be like if you knew your partner’s feelings, doubts and concerns?
Effective communication is a cornerstone of any relationship. Partners who can communicate effectively form successful relationships based on trust and understanding. Couples who don’t have good communication experience many problems and unnecessary arguments that can ruin their relationship.
In this article, we will explore the importance of effective communication in your relationship. You will learn how to improve communication with your partner. So first, let’s have a look at what communication means.
What Are Communication Problems?
What Is Effective Communication in a Relationship
Let’s understand what we mean by communication. Here’s the definition of communication according to the Merriam-webster dictionary:
1: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviours to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.
a: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviour
b: personal rapport
2 formal : a message that is given to someone : a letter, telephone call, etc.
a: information communicated : information transmitted or conveyed
b: a verbal or written message
3: the ways of sending information to people by using technology
Now, that we are clear on what we mean by communication let’s explain what is effective communication in a relationship.
Effective communication is the ability to express and listen to each other to have an understanding. Clear and effective communication is essential to navigate your relationship and maintain emotional connection. Without good communication you are likely to have misunderstandings and arguments.
Effective communication will help you avoid problems and allow you to have a healthy and loving relationship.
We don’t always like what we see, and we may ignore the issue altogether. It is ok for a holiday fling or a casual relationship. But, if you are serious about making your relationship work in the long-term, clarity is a must.
Communication Problems in a Relationship
It is common to have communication problems in relationships. If you don’t have effective communication, it can lead to problems. Unresolved problems can lead to resentment. Growing resentment can create many issues for your relationship, which in turn will weaken your emotional connection.
All of this can happen silently unless you talk about your doubts, worries and concerns at the moment they arise.
The only way to break from this cycle of blame and resentment is to talk about your thoughts and feelings openly and honestly with your partner. Otherwise, this blame will spark resentment and make your relationship toxic.
Causes of Communication Problems in a Relationship
The things we learnt as children are usually with us for all our lives. The behaviours that serve us and the ones that don’t stay with us unless we make a conscious effort to change them.
So, when you carry shame and low self-esteem because of your childhood experiences. It is quite likely to have a negative impact in the way we form and maintain our relationships.
Why Communication Fails?
Here are some reasons for communication failing in a relationship:
- Lack of trust
- Inability to listening
- Inability to express yourself clearly
- Not paying attention to your partner when they talk to you
- Lack of empathy and respect
- Lack of physical connection
- Lack of emotional connection
- Money issues
- Cultural difference
- Language barrier
- Different values and beliefs
How Communication Problems Affect a Relationship
When your communication is unhealthy it will manifest in your relationship and your personal life as:
- Constant arguments
- Having negative thoughts about your partner and your relationship
- Creating a silent wall of separation
- Lack of connection both physical and emotional
- Thinking you are a failure
- Thinking it’s all your fault or your partner’s fault
- Feeling of frustration
- Feeling of sadness and disappointment
- Feeling lonely and unsupported
- Feeling unfulfilled
What Happens if You Don’t Communicate Effectively?
When you don’t communicate effectively, your relationship starts deteriorating. You and your partner are less willing to spend time with each other and ittle by little you start drifting apart.
Failing to communicate effectively and in a loving way will result in you or your partner having one of these behaviours:
- Contempt (lack of respect)
- Shutting down emotionally
Signs of Communication Problems in a Relationship
Here are some signs your communication needs help:
- You or your partner act defensive when you try to address an issue
- Instead of solving a problem or get to an agreement you or your partner criticise each other
- There is a passive aggression tone in your conversations
- You or your partner are belittling each other
- You or your partner blame each other
- You are constantly giving each other the silent treatment after an argument or disagreement
- You or your partner want to be always right
- You or your partner deny responsibility on things you previously agreed
- You are spending less time together
- You or your partner are spending more time with friends or in work than with you
Signs that You Have Good Communication in Your Relationship
- You and your partner enjoy your time together
- You have interesting conversations
- You have common interests to talk about
- You feel comfortable to openly share your thoughts and feelings
- You can express your opinions without the fear of judgement
- You are able to solve the problems that arise in your relationship
- You can discuss your disagreements and learn from each other
- You appreciate each other’s perspective and different point of view
- You feel comfortable bringing up your doubts and concerns
- You feel comfortable discussing any issues knowing that you will support each other in finding a solution that works for both of you.
- You don’t need to guess and assume what your partner is thinking or needing, because each of you clearly expresses your thoughts, feelings and needs.
Communication Red flags
If you notice any of the following in your relationship is time to get help from a professional:
- Silent treatment
- Not having sex as a sign of power after an argument
- Violent language during your arguments
- One of you being controlling, wanting to tell the other one what to do and what is right
- Feelings of resentment towards your partner
Common Communication Problems in a Relationship
Here are some common communication problems in a relationship:
- Not listening to each other
- Misunderstandings because you or your partner are not expressing yourselves clearly
- Talking too much or not enough
- Not knowing exactly what you want to say
- Not talking about meaningful things that matter
- Saying things that don’t make sense to the other person
- Not paying attention when the other person is speaking
- Not taking the time to hear the other person’s point of view
- Forgetting to create the right space and time for the conversation
- Not sharing your feelings which can get on the way of emotional connection
- Not checking that the other person understood you in the way you intended
- Short cuts and grammar mistakes when sending text messages can lead to confusion
- Not having frequent dates where you enjoy each other’s company and feel connected
How to Fix Communication Problems
How to Develop Good Communication in Your Relationship?
To create a healthy relationship and grow as a couple, you need to know how to communicate with each other. Both, you and your partner need to be able to express and listen to each other.
You need two things to communicate effectively clarity and understanding. Lack of clarity leads to assumptions, misunderstandings, and conflicts. It is one of the main reasons relationships fail. Sometimes we are afraid of getting clear because clarity means facing the truth.
Effective communication in a relationship is your ability to talk to your partner in a way that you understand each other.
To reach this understanding, both you and your partner need two skills:
- Expressing yourselves clearly
- Listening to each other
How to Deal with Communication Problems in a Relationship
Without good communication, problems will pile up, and your relationship will become a struggle. Effective communication can help you find the source of your problems. Once you know the cause of the problem, you can find the solutions.
When you communicate to your partner, as a general rule:
- Don’t use sweeping generalisations like you “always” or you “never”. If something is bothering you be specific about the behaviour and how you feel about it.
- Avoid the silent treatment when you have misunderstandings or arguments . Address the problems as soon as they arise and try to resolve them in a loving way that benefits everyone.
- Express yourself in a way that your partner can understand you better.
Here are three steps to help you communicate effectively:
STEP 1 – Get your partner’s attention.
When something comes to your mind, you may feel the need to share it with your partner. But they might be having their own’ very important’ thoughts.
First, check that they are listening. Ask your partner if it’s a good time for them to hear you out and pay attention to what you have to say. If it is not a good time, tell them you would like to share something with them. Agree the time that would work for both of you.
STEP 2 – Say what you need to say.
Saying too much or too little can be a problem. It’s easy to overthink before saying something. By the time it comes out, we already gave it so much thought and importance.
By overthinking, we worry about our partner’s response. We question ourselves if we should say something or keep quiet. Converse with your partner without having all these worries and fears. Express whatever is on your mind, knowing that your partner will understand what you mean.
Express yourself clearly and make sure your partner understands what you mean
STEP 3 – Check that your partner heard you
You strongly need to share and who is better to do it with than the person closest to you, the person you trust. Your partner cares about you, but it doesn’t mean that they care about everything you say. Don’t continue talking for over 2 minutes without a response.
Don’t accept ‘uh-huh’ as a confirmation that they got what you are saying. Ask your partner to repeat what they heard you say and see if it matches your intention. Observe their body language and facial expressions to see if they are paying attention and are responsive to what you say.
For example, if your partner looks at you with their body facing in your direction, it means they are paying attention to what you are saying. On the other hand, if they are looking somewhere else with their body away from you, their focus and concentration are probably on something else.
You may spend a lot of time talking, but it doesn’t mean that your partner is listening. To test it, ask your partner what did they hear you say. You may be surprised to find how little of what you are saying is getting through to them.
It will give you an idea of how much attention your partner is paying to you at the time. If they can’t ever repeat what you are saying, you need to reassess your relationship.
Ending a Relationship with Communication Problems
When to End Your Relationship Because of Communication Problems
One of the side effects of having communication problems it’s the inability of resolve your issues. Unresolved problems pile up, making your relationship more tense and less enjoyable.
You can carry on like this for a little while, if this relationship satisfies some of your needs. However, unless you find the way to break through the communication barrier your relationship will become a struggle and at some point it may not worth your while.
This point is different for everyone and depends on individual situations and the degree of tolerance that each person has.
How to End Your Relationship Because of Communication Problems
- Try to find the way to have some degree of understanding. If not at a romantic level, at an individual one.
- If you are no longer interested in each other romantically. Find the way to communicate at the level of two people who spent a significant amount of time together.
- Take time to hear your partner’s point of view on your relationship, what worked and what didn’t.
- Identify if you never had good communication and understanding or if it started to break down at some point.
- If you are unable to have a basic discussion without having your emotions getting in the way. Consider getting some help from a relationship coach.
- After you shared your views on your relationship you may agree it’s time to end it or at least have some time apart.
Moving on from Your Relationship
If you agree to end your relation there are still things you can learn from it. Avoid ignoring the issues that cause the communication problems, so you don’t repeat them again in your next relationship.
Ideally, you would have a conversation with your partner to reflect on your relationship. Try to be as objective as possible, share what you like and what you didn’t like about the relationship.
Learn how to make your future relationships better. See what you can do to improve your communication with your future partner from the very beginning.
Having basic understanding and reflecting on your relationship will help you move on from this relationship. If you learn from it, you will make better decisions in the future.
Help and Advice with Communication Problems in Your Relationship
Tips on Dealing with Communication Problems in Your Relationship
- Take time to learn what it takes to communicate effectively
- Try to be objective in your conversations
- Try to manage your emotions when you are having a disagreement or trying to resolve a issue
- Pay attention to your partner when they talk to you and try to understand their point of view
- Be aware of your insecurities that will trigger you and cause you to respond defensively
If you don’t know how to deal with this fear and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Poor communication can create unnecessary problems for your relationship. Effective communication, on the other hand, can help you address your issues and resolve your problems.
Your ability to express yourself and hear your partner is a key to making your relationship work. Effective communication takes time and conscious effort to develop. But with it, you can resolve most problems. You will develop understanding and maintain emotional connection.
If you are too emotional about your relationship problems. And your communication and understanding aren’t good enough. But, you want to address your issues in a healthy and loving way consider getting professional help from a relationship coach. Also consider having a break from your relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the impact of poor communication?
• Constant arguments
• Lack of connection
• Loss of interest in your relationship
What is the biggest problem in communication?
The inability to hear what the other person is saying and to understand what they mean. This tends to happen when the person listening has too many thoughts and judgements that distort the message before it can be objectively process.
How good communication can help you solve problems?
Good communication is when you can express yourselves clearly and understand each other correctly.
What are the barriers to communication?
• Not learning skills to communicate
• Thinking communication is not important
• Not giving enough importance to communicate
How to avoid communication problems?
Take time to learn about effective communication, what it means and how you can apply it to your relationship. Get in touch if you need some help and guidance on how to do that.
How to overcome communication problems?
Approach your conversations more objectively and learn to manage your thoughts and emotions. So they don’t corrupt the message that your partner is trying to tell you.
How Do You Know When It Is time to End a Relationship?
If you are struggling to find a way to maintain emotional connection and resolve the problems. Continuing such a relationship can become a struggle and at some point you will be better off ending it altogether.