How many of us attended the class on how to communicate well with a romantic partner?

I’m guessing the answer is close to none of us. It can be extremely difficult to learn to communicate openly, honestly, and kindly with a partner. We all bring a personal history of being hurt, experiencing rejection and sometimes even betrayal in our love relationships. In order to communicate well as a couple, both partners must be able to regulate their anger and fear of being hurt and build a “good enough” foundation of trust to risk exposing vulnerability.

When there is a reasonably secure foundation, couples can begin to practice the basics of healthy communication which include finding a mutually acceptable time for charged conversations, listening carefully to your partner and accurately repeating back what you heard, expressing your needs and concerns using “I” statements that don’t blame or criticize the other person, and helping your partner to understand the reasons why something matters to you. Couples can get stuck in conflict when there is defensiveness, problems accepting that each partner is different, blame or criticism, difficulty listening, or assumptions that your partner should know how you feel without being told.

When couples develop healthy communication skills, many conflicts can be resolved just by understanding each other better and taking the time to listen carefully and remain open to different ways of solving a problem. More difficult conflicts may require many conversations, patience and willingness to put the relationship first and make compromises and changes that don’t violate either partner’s values or sense of integrity. It is easier to be flexible and open to new ideas and solutions when both partners express acceptance and respect for each other and avoid efforts to control or manipulate the outcome. Resolving conflicts and working through difficulties together will increase your resilience as a couple and bring greater intimacy into your relationship.

Interested in couples therapy? Give us a call at (508) 797-7110. We offer both in-person and telehealth services and support all couples, including the LGBTQ+ community.