Q. My boyfriend and I broke up after 5 years. I realized how much our communication had deteriorated over the years. We got together and talked and decided to go to counseling and see if we could get healthier and save our relationship. So what should we do differently?
A. In most cases communication is what created the relationship to begin with. It appears that it is what creates the relationship and what destroys it. It should be easy, right? Sharing your thoughts, feelings, dreams, your opinions related to world affairs and your outrage with social injustices. That’s what fuels your desire to have an intimate relationship with someone, right?
When you are in a relationship over a period of time, people change. It may not be big, easily seen changes but hopefully we do not stay the same everyday of our lives. Problems begin to occur when people change their plans but do not communicate them to their partner.
Communication should be nurtured; you don’t do it just to get the relationship started and then lose it as time progresses.
When you communicate do the following:
1. Don’t play on your phone. Silence it and put it out of sight.
2. Don’t watch TV.
3. Don’t scream from another room.
4. Don’t roll your eyes if you think the conversation is stupid.
5. Speak up. If you are so codependent that you cannot speak your truth; you have a much bigger issue.
6. Don’t file information for a later attack date.
7. Don’t control the other person’s thoughts. Do not think for them.
8. Show concern while the other person is talking.
9. Avoid the “nothing is wrong” dance. If someone asks you what is wrong, tell them.
Have you ever engaged in a conversation and you could tell the other person wanted you to stop talking because that really wanted to talk? Sure you have, it is easy to see. When you are listening remember the following: LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO RESPOND!! This makes a huge difference. Try it the next time you are having a conversation with someone.
Listening and Talking; equally important. Practice being mindful of the moment. When your boyfriend is talking to you. listen. Give him time to talk. Men typically respond slower and women typically lack patience.
You can do this!!!