We all know the importance of communication in a relationship. It builds intimacy, establishes trust, and helps you feel connected with your partner. When communication is not effective, it might cause you to feel like your relationship is on shaky ground. It can lead to a lot of tension and conflict between you and your partner.
Unfortunately, communication breakdowns happen far too often in relationships, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, each individual person has difficulty expressing what they need from their partner. Or it can be hard to accept the two of you have different views on issues. When communication creates conflicts, you may feel unsafe to bring an issue up or feel unsafe to respond when your partner brings something up. Whatever the reason may be, it can create a very tense situation quickly if it isn’t handled properly.
Thankfully, if you’re both still committed to your relationship, there are things you can do to fix it. Let’s take a look at how to rebuild after a communication breakdown, and how you can improve your communicative efforts as you move forward together.
Know Each Other’s Style Of Communication
Communication in a relationship can also break down when you don’t understand each other’s styles. For instance, maybe you are the type who prefers to talk things out as soon as possible. But your partner prefers to process things in their head before they can discuss something with you. This can lead to a very frustrating experience on both sides.
Try to reach a middle ground. It can help if you try to meet each other halfway. You can agree to give them a little more time to think things over and to give them some space. And they can agree to talk about things after a certain amount of time.
Talk To Them Without Placing Blame
If you have tried to communicate with your partner, but they are still shutting down on you, you are likely becoming really frustrated. When we become frustrated, we often will use statements that place blame on the other person versus saying how we feel about the situation. For instance, instead of saying, “All you ever do is avoid me,” you could switch this to say, “I feel like you are avoiding me and I don’t understand why.”
The difference here is that you aren’t accusing them of avoiding you, instead, you are saying that you feel like they are. Little things like this can go a long way in keeping communication open between the two of you.
If you’ve been in your relationship for a while, your traditional “date nights” might not happen as frequently as they once did. While you certainly don’t need to go on a date to communicate, dates are important because they feed good energy into the relationship.
Dates allow you to both focus on each other and nothing else. Scheduling that time shows you both that your relationship is a priority and that you want to make things work.
No matter what you do during that time, make sure it’s distraction-free. It’s probably not the best idea to see a movie or do an activity that won’t give you the opportunity to talk. Additionally, make sure your phones are put away, and you’re keeping your attention on the conversation at hand. And most importantly, let the conversations be about positive things. Save your frustrations for another time.
If things have been silent for a while, it could feel a little awkward at first. However, as you start to get comfortable with communication again, you’ll both be willing to open up more. You don’t have to jump into the huge conversations, just start off with small talk and bonding like you did in the beginning.
You will find having more positive energy flowing between the two of you makes it easier to have conversations later about difficult issues without them devolving into conflicts.
Communication in relationships is challenging for all couples and requires effort from both partners. Using the Imago Dialogue Process is a very effective way to communicate about difficult topics that contains reactivity and allows both people to feel like they have been heard and what they said matters to their partner.
Don’t let a lack of communication lead to even more conflict. If you are ready to try a whole new approach to communicating with your partner, reach out to me to learn about how Imago Relationship Therapy can help.