As well as my work with individuals I also do extensive work with couples.
Communication is the way we relate to people. This means if there are difficulties in communicating with each other there will be difficulties in the relationship as well. More positively, it means if you can improve one then the other should improve too.
Relationships go through stages. When we first meet someone we often go through the honeymoon stage where everything is wonderful. We have an image of each other that may be, to some extent, based on fantasy – we see what we want to see. As this stage passes then the fantasy wears off and we are faced with the reality of each other. This is the real test of the relationship.
If you are worried about your own relationship there are a few important questions you can ask yourself.
- When you talk to your partner do they seem not to ‘hear’ you or understand you – do you feel you’re hitting a brick wall?
- Does your talking together become repetitive – you go round and round in circles?
- After you’ve talked do you feel confused, let down, frustrated?
- Do you only talk for a few minutes before it turns into an argument?
- Are you afraid that if you bring up a certain subject things will get even worse?
- Are there some issues that are seldom if ever talked about but which you both know are there?
Differences are normal. Being able to resolve them by really listening to each other, being able to negotiate and compromise are the tricky things with which we can need help.