Author: Carol Yan
Relationships - monogamous, polyamorous, friendships, all of the above! These all require a certain ingredient to give the best chance for the cake to not flop! This ingredient is a cup full of effective communication!
This is the backbone of any successful relationship, and when it comes to romantic relationships, it is even more crucial. The way we communicate with our partners can make or break a relationship, and often, it's not what we say, but how we say it that matters most.
Communication is the foundation of any relationship. It is the key to building trust, understanding, and intimacy with your partner/s. When you communicate effectively, you create a consensual and safe space for your partner/s to express their thoughts and feelings, and you also feel comfortable expressing yourself. We IPA-ers like to call this showing up visibly and vulnerably! This helps to build a strong emotional connection that can withstand the ups and downs of any relationship.
One of the biggest benefits of effective communication in a romantic relationship is that it helps to, not only limit, but to navigate through misunderstandings and conflicts. It’s not about not ‘fighting’, rather about ‘fighting’ well.
When you and your partner/s are on the same page, it becomes easier to work through issues as they arise. You can show up visibly by expressing your feelings and opinions without fear of judgment or rejection, and your partner/s can do the same.
Effective communication also helps to build trust in a relationship. When you communicate openly and honestly, you show your partner/s that you are trustworthy and reliable. This creates a sense of security and comfort, which is essential for a healthy relationship.
In addition, effective communication helps to foster intimacy between partners. When you share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your partner/s, you create a deeper level of understanding and connection. This can lead to greater emotional and physical intimacy and satisfaction, which is an important part of any romantic relationship!
So, how can you improve your communication with your partner/s? Here are a few tips:
Listen actively (listen to understand and NOT listen to respond): When your partner/s is speaking, give them your full attention. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their feelings, and ask questions to clarify your understanding.
Express yourself clearly: Be honest and open with your partner/s about your thoughts, feelings, and needs. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements to avoid sounding accusatory and ‘pointing fingers’.
Be respectful: Treat your partner with respect and kindness, even when you disagree. Avoid using derogatory language or making personal attacks. As adults we can forget the social rules that were taught to us growing up - remembering ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in your relationships can go a long way!
Practice empathy: Try to see things from your partner's perspective and understand their feelings and how things may have impacted them. This can help to prevent escalating and creating fiery tension during the misunderstandings and conflicts which will naturally arise.
Using humour: It may sound strange but humour can be a great way to lighten the mood and diffuse tension in a conversation. Just be sure to use it appropriately and avoid making jokes at your partner's expense.
At the end of the day, effective communication is essential for a successful romantic relationship. Communication won’t always be perfect and that’s okay! It’s normal in fact - rather actively and consciously improving your communication with your partner/s and building a stronger foundation on this level can make things really fulfilling and enjoyable within the relationship, and who doesn’t want that?!
Remember, it's not just what you say, but how you say it that matters most.