Did you know that poor communication is the leading cause of divorce?
This underscores the importance of effective communication in intimate relationships. Healthy communication is ESSENTIAL for partners to actually interact as 'partners' in life, rather than being against one another. It empowers them with the right information solve challenges when they arise, as well as create deeper intimacy and connection.
The following most common communication problems in intimate relationships can happen to the best of us. Knowing how to move past these challenges and develop powerful communication skills is key to a lasting, harmonious relationship.
1. Emotional Reasoning
Emotional reasoning is a negative cognitive phenomenon that blurs your view of reality. When in such a state, you conclude that your emotional reaction means something is true even when the evidence proves otherwise. Bascially, this is where you are locked into your triggers and feel unable to see past the stories that your insecurities, past experiences, and wounding, are telling you. You are then reacting to life, rather than responding. This is not only disempowering, as reacting is a disempowered state of being. It is also not based in reality. It is not listening to what is being said, or responding to what is actually happening. Rather than logical reasoning, we are totally unable to see beyond the emotional chaos.
This cognitive distortion clouds the real issue; thus, you cannot communicate successfully. For instance, if you feel resentful, you may end up blaming your partner in situations where no one is to blame.
Of course, you'll have conversations that are emotionally challenging, and you'll feel these responses arise. THAT IS NORMAL! But losing all logical reasoning and rationale is really where the problem arises.
Hence, it is vital to learn how to recognise and soothe your emotional triggers when they arise, so that you can separate facts and fiction as you communicate with your partner, and reduce any risk of conflict or misunderstandings.
This is a key part of our Heal & Harmonize Communication Course, for both individuals and couples to explore how to navigate difficult circumstances in their relationships with powerful, conscious communication.
2. Suppression of Frustration to Avoid Conflict
If you’ve been trying to make your relationship work to no avail, you may feel exhausted and frustrated. Nevertheless, most people choose to go silent about the underlying issues to avoid arguing with their partners.
Not confronting these matters and resolving them can communicate to the other partner that things are okay when they are not. You'll compromise on your own truth and continue to build more resentment. Ultimately, the relationship may end up in a worse state or even break since the frustrated partner gave up on it.
Imagine it like a pressure cooker... you keep pushing things down, and the pressure keeps increasing. Instead of expressing something when it is relevant and necessary, you continue to be silent, but eventually, the pressure that has built up needs to be released, and an explosion happens...
This is often when fights occur, strong words are said (that often aren't even what you mean) and the relationship suffers, or ends, when it didn't need to.
How to deal with this? Know that sharing hard truths doesn't have to lead to conflict. So much of the time we are trying to run away from conflict, but actually the impression is what ultimately causes that conflict to eventually happen. If we spoke about it when we needed to, when it arose, then it might have been just a discussion, rather than an argument.
Learning how to express your truth, needs, and desires in an effective and loving way is essential for a healthy partnership. In our Heal & Harmonize Communication Course for couples and individuals, we share an effective formula for expressing these truths, desires, and needs, to use in any setting.
3. Being Defensive
Defensiveness is exhibited in the way that you speak, often in a combative mode of blaming others or proving that you are right or wrong. It is also shown in body language, when you are closed off with crossed arms. When your partner points out an issue, you may feel that they are being critical of you. Consequently, you may retaliate by becoming sarcastic, critical to them, or giving them silent treatment. These are all self-protection mechanisms, coming from a sense of insecurity and fear. Defensivness, is therefore, rooted in fear, not trust and love.
While this defnesive behaviour may make you feel better for a short while, it causes more problems in the long term since you did not resolve the issue at hand. If one partner becomes defensive, they push the other person away, and this can lead to the relationship eroding overtime.
4. Poor Listening
Poor listening is among the most common communication problems in intimate relationships. It can originate from physical and psychological factors. The physical factors include visual and audio distractions, inadequate volume, and physical discomfort.
The psychological causes of poor listening include personal bias, insecurity, and stress. All these create a barrier between partners to actually understand one another, and come to clear conclusions and problem solve together.
Here's a short video I made on how to deeply listen!
5. Trying to Fix Your Partner
It is human nature to fix almost everything that is not operating appropriately. We tend to carry the same ideology in intimate relationships.
It's said that this desire to fix your partner is often associated with childhood abuse which causes a long-held feeling of perpetual guilt in people. Thus, you respond by trying to change your partner with the idea that by making it work, you won't feel guilty anymore for past experiences and hurt that you were made to feel guilty about, perhaps, in the past.
What people really want is appreciation and acceptance. So, the moment you begin to fix your partner, you are affirming 'you are broken' - that doesn't transmit trust and acceptance. Sure, you can help your partner. You can support them. But the idea of FIXING them can really hinder your relationship.
You can prevent this by dropping the ‘fixing’ ideology and allow them to ask for help when needed, or support them in other ways - like listening deeply, or asking what they need from you to feel supported during hard times.
What to do about this?
Communication problems can cause devastating outcomes in intimate relationships, and that’s why you need to address them by creating a safe space in your relationship to express, by learning the tools to effectively and lovingly communicate to heal and harmonize your relationships.
Take stock of your partnership and examine if you have any communication gaps... where does conflict arise? What do you need to say that you can't? How can you share more effectively? My partner and I recorded a podcast episode on this very topic, which is illuminating for couples and individuals to understand ways to communicate that do and don't work. Listen to it here!
AND - check out our upcoming 6-week online communication course for couples and individuals - Heal and Harmonize - The Art of Masculine and Feminine Communication. We begin June 22nd, 2021 (early bird ends June 4th!) If it's past this date when you are reading this, know that I also have recorded communication programs and work within 1-1 mentorships with couples and individuals as a communication coach.