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Thread: why does communication break down in relationship?

  1. #21
    Platinum Member mhowe's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=gingerlemon;5244101]That's interesting. I think our dynamics are kind of opposite - he feels he isn't getting enough attention from me. I'm trying to be a bit more attentive. I'm glad things are working out for the two of you

    Buy or download the book Love Languages by Dr. Chapman. It will do wonders for your understanding of how to communicate effectively w/ a SO.

  2. #22
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    Originally Posted by mhowe
    Buy or download the book Love Languages by Dr. Chapman. It will do wonders for your understanding of how to communicate effectively w/ a SO.
    Yes, I've seen different people refer to that book. I'll look into it. Thanks!

  3. #23
    Platinum Member mhowe's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gingerlemon
    Yes, I've seen different people refer to that book. I'll look into it. Thanks!
    Actually, I think it is called the 5 Languages of Love.....I know I got the author right!

    I read it during break up, and it totally solidified what I at some level knew, but I think you will find it really enlightening....and if it doesn't get you on the same page, it will at least get you guys in the same book!!!!

  4. #24
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    I look at this online now, not the whole book but different online information about it. I think the concept is helpful, but I think my problem is less about us not knowing each other's languages, and more about me simply being unable to express myself. I kind of know what his needs are, but I don't always act on them. And I know what I want to say, but can't say it.

    When I write it out like this, I realise how messed up it is

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  6. #25
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    Most skills in life require regular training/exercise. You wouldn't expect to be able to run a marathon tomorrow, just because you decided to do one. In relationships it's not any different. Thus if you want to acquire new skills as an individual or as a couple, you have to be willing to invest the time to learn.

    What many people fail to realize is that you should start training your communication skills when everything is fine and there are no issues. In this way you can try to learn the differences how both of you like to express yourself and what kind of initial response you can handle best without having the added stress of an issue between you.

    What worked really well for me (not that I am married yet): no matter what is going on in my life/ my partner's life - we would have a kind of weekly "state of the relationship" date. An opportunity to check in with each other what was going on with us as individuals and to share that with the other person in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Doesn't mean that you are not communicating on the other days, but it ensures that even if life is hectic, we both know that we had set time aside to address things calmly if there was a need. It also breeds a knowledge of knowing you will have time to express whatever you feel is necessary.

    By having a set time/date, we also both had the opportunity to think about what it was that we want to tell the other. Sometimes it's not good to bring something up immediately while you are experiencing the first initial emotional reaction and not even sure yet what the emotional reaction is about. Some seeming issues also dissipate if you give it a few days, and realize it wasn't as dramatic as you initially thought.

    However, if there was something serious to bring up, you had the time to think through your arguments and seed out what is important and what is not.

    By combining these talks with a date (at home or out of the house) you also created an atmosphere that was emphasizing the overall goal of wanting to find solutions/compromises/understanding together. You both know you are not going in as 'adversaries', but as team members trying to figure out game improving strategies.

    As to feelings: no feeling is unjustified as such - it's only important what you do and expect in consequence that may seem to make those feelings unreasonable or not.

    The better you know what YOUR feelings are about, the easier it will be for you to tell your partner what the important message is. If you don't know yet why you are upset or angry about something - take some more time till you have figured that out for yourself until you bring it up with your partner.

    As to your husband reacting with an emotional immediate response: encourage him to learn to identify what those emotions are about and to express it differently. Usually extreme initial emotional responses are triggered in response to fear. The fear could be about many things. It doesn't have to be making sense to you, but if he is feeling fear - he needs to figure out what it is about. Once he knows he may be able to express what could be done not to trigger that fear response and in consequence you wouldn't have to experience this response.

  7. #26
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    This is a brilliant response. Thank you. I've already read it a few times.

  8. #27
    Platinum Member JeckyllNHyde's Avatar
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    Wow great thread! I've been struggling for quite a while with these issues in my relationship of over 4 years.
    Communication is almost non existent. In my eyes, in his everything is fine. But I've truly been going in circles trying to decide how I can be honest about my unhappiness.

    But I've also noticed I don't feel safe expressing myself when something bothers me, and so I keep so much bottled up. My partner doesn't believe in "talking too much" and prefers to avoid any conflict by ignoring mine or his feelings when something isn't right.

    What led to this was him always making me feel "crazy" for feeling a certain way, shutting down and going quiet/ignoring me, agreeing just to smooth things over, etc. The usual causes.

    After months/years of this I just have so many negative feelings building up as well as resentment and it really really sucks. I keep wondering how I could have been in love with him all these years and even planned our future, when now suddenly I find myself at a point contemplating us parting ways.

    It's very hard to get over this hurdle and begin healthy and open communication after so many years of poor communication. Sorry, I can't really give tips and strategies which worked for me, since I'm still trying to figure it out. Just wanted to say that I know it's hard "fixing".


    @penelope13: I really love the idea of retraining communication in a normal happy setting. I'd have never have thought to do that.

  9. #28
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    I so identity with the bold. I am being a bit more open now, though. Baby steps. It's a long way to go, but it feels a bit better.

    Sounds like you need a strategy for the 'shutting down' phase. Can you call him out on it? My H used to do that to me when I shut down. It was good because then I had to face it.

  10. #29
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    Originally Posted by gingerlemon
    Here are some of the mistakes I think I have done. I have sometimes not communicated honestly because
    - I didn't think that my feelings were valid or 'acceptable', that I didn't have the 'right' to feel the way I did
    - I was worried about his reaction and that he would think less of me
    - I spoke my mind, but then received a very emotional reaction (my H, in his own words, tends to react very emotionally at first and then reflect more later) which made me 'shut down'
    - I was (still am, but I'm working on it) conflict avoidant
    Ive been married for 7 years and for some reason we stopped communicating. I guess on my part I may have some mistakes as well, but more on when we talk it leads to argument. He got defensive or I will be defensive, so no one is at fault. So I tried to just hold my thoughts and I think he is as well and now I am suffering from it.

    I guess what holds me from communicating, is afraid to be judge, and afraid to make him feel less about himself. I am afraid about him having doubts on my love. And lastly I am afraid to break the ideal thing about us. Our life seems perfect in the outside, but we are missing something, "emotional connection". I am trying to fix but I know it is going to require a lot of time and I need to be patient about it.

  11. #30
    Platinum Member mhowe's Avatar
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    Being patient and doing nothing will not solve your problem, it will make it worse.

    Communication is pro-active. You have stopped doing it out of fear of either being judged or judging him. True communication is not about judging, it is about listening.

    Please see a counselor or do some research. Breaking your "ideal" is the right thing to do --- ignoring it will kill your marriage.

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