Counseling for Kids and Teens: A Basic Guide

How to Open up Communication to Build A Better Relationship

Perhaps you are at a stage in your relationship where you are wondering where it is all going wrong. Communicating with your partner may have deteriorated and seems to be continually negative. As with many couples today you would welcome some assistance and are looking for ways to understand how to move forward.

Here are some of the strategies you can try to build better communication with you partner. Good communication is the foundation for every healthy relationship.

Identify the Issues

Relationships become troubled when communication between you is always negative and leaves you feeling insecure and depressed. When your communication deteriorates to this level and you would rather withdraw than deal with the continual hurt feelings and emotional turmoil, ask yourself these questions:

  • What causes the most conflict between you?
  • Do you really listen to each other?
  • What causes disappointment or pain?
  • What things do you avoid talking about?

If you try to identify these issues you are in a better position to control the things that cause problems between you, and try to find ways to deal with them. Use these techniques to work at building your relationship.

Choose the Right Time

When something is troubling you and you need to have a serious discussion about it, make sure to choose the right time for it.

Don’t interrupt your partner when they are in the middle of something else such as watching a sports progam on TV or when they are stressed about their work day. Tell your let them know that you would like to talk later and choose a suitable time when you are together and nothing important is going to interfere. Make sure that you can talk privately

Text messages and emails are not suited to serious discussions as they can be easily misunderstood and open to misinterpretation. It is far better to communicate face-to-face.

Avoid an Attack

When we feel strongly we often say things harshly and use the wrong words. Be careful not to choose language that can be taken as aggressive. Instead of saying”you” in conversations, use “we or ‘I”.

For example, “You have been so distant lately” comes across as more antagonistic than saying, “We don’t seem to be very close lately”.

Decide on Honesty

Make an agreement to always be honest with each other as it is a key to healthy relationships. Sometimes the truth hurts or is not always agreeable. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. It is better to own up and apologise rather than make excuses. You will feel much better for it and it will actually strengthen the relationship.

Use Open Body Language

Always show that you are listening to your partner. During conversations you need to:

  • Sit face to face.
  • Make eye contact
  • Avoid answering phone calls or texting
  • Listen carefully and respond

Leave Time to Recover

When your partner has made you angry or disappointed you need to tell them. However, it doesn’t need to happen immediately. If you still feel upset a day later you can bring it up then, but if not, let it go. If you do decide to tell your partner about your hurt feelings, and they apologise sincerely you can then let pass. Try not to revisit once you’ve talked it over and your partner has expressed regret.

Restoring a relationship is not easy and takes time and commitment. That is why many couples seek professional assistance from counselling services. Trained professionals are skilled in helping you identify the patterns that are causing problems. They help you find ways to change those patterns and open up the channels for healthy interaction.

 They can work with you to:

  • establish some ground rules for communication
  • learn how to express your feelings
  • have more of your needs met
  • make more sense of what your partner does

If you work hard together and have the support of specialized assistance from professionals at places like Riviera Counselling Service, you can learn new ways of communicating openly and move forward to a stronger and healthier relationship.

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