In the first year or so of a relationship, often it’s a bit of a cloud-nine, head over heels situation. Everything is rosy and exciting and you’re still learning new things about each other all the time. But as anyone who’s been in long-term relationship knows, to keep the relationship developing and strengthening, working on how you communicate with each other is essential.
Don’t overlook your non-verbal communication.
Things like touching your partner’s hand as they tell you something important to them and making eye contact are key ways you can communicate well with your partner. Be in the moment and listen attentively when they’re talking to you. Why? Picture this scenario: you’re sharing about the awful day you had and your boyfriend is scrolling through emails on his smartphone. While he is listening, his lack of attention gives off a sense of lack of caring.
Do pay close attention to what your loved one is actually saying.
Listen to the words and phrases they use and use this information when you’re conversing with them. This doesn’t have to mean repeating verbatim what they’ve said (paraphrasing is fine), but by demonstrating how attentive you’ve been will contribute towards building an intimacy and bond between the two of you. It helps them feel acknowledged and heard, and you’re showing how well you understand them.
Do take a time-out during a heated moment if you need to cool down.
Fights are a normal part of any healthy relationship. Know yourself well enough to know when you need to call for a time-out from a heated argument. When your emotions are running high and you’re feeling angry or upset, you may say things that are hurtful or hostile in the moment, so it’s better for both of you, if you take a breather to process your emotions and gather your thoughts. Furthering the conversation once you’re both calm and in a more positive headspace is the best thing you can do.
Don’t let social media rule your relationship.
Nowadays, a relationship isn’t official until it’s been posted on social media. But it’s essential to be wary of how much a role social media plays in your relationship. Say, you two have an argument and you take to social media to vent or share passive-aggressive comments about them. In moments like this, you’d be wise to remember that social media is forever. Also, boasting on Instagram that you’re #couplegoals isn’t what will bring you together stronger as a couple, and comparing yourselves to other seemingly perfect couples will only lead to frustration and unhappiness. Connecting and talking with your partner in real life in an open and honest way will build intimacy.
Do know yourself well and communicate your feelings.
Being able to communicate well starts with knowing yourself and being clear with what you put out there. Tapping into how things make you feel, rather than how you think your partner is behaving, can be significant in effectively communicating with your partner. For example, rather than say “you’re selfish for going to the gym again,” share what’s at the root of your emotions, which is, “I am feeling lonely.”
What are some of the ways you’ve found works well to maintain good communication with your partner?