Change Becomes You
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Change Becomes You

Communicating With Your Partner: A Simple Guide For Beginners

What do you need to start creating an open dialogue that allows you to express yourself clearly and openly?

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Most people know that good communication is the secret sauce to any healthy relationship; still, 75% of relationships end due to miscommunication.

For a long time, all I wanted was to feel loved, accepted, and understood by my partner, not understanding that my communication patterns were destroying the relationship.

Much too late, I realized that communicating is deeply rooted in what I had experienced throughout my life.

Not understanding that communication was the glue that holds a relationship together, I continued moving in and out of relationships.

According to a recent study, almost half of all people in the US admit they have lied or withheld information from their partner.

Why do we lie and withhold information from the one we should trust the most?

The way I communicated in the past affected every aspect of my relationships:

From how I made decisions (like lying)to how often I fought with my partner and, in my case or even if we stayed together at all.

Most often, we didn't.

It is safe to say that communication is a challenge for most couples.

It is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and yet, it seems to be the most neglected area by couples, no matter gender or race.

In this article, I will share some of what I have learned from many years of working on my communication, that has made it possible for me to have a loving relationship with my partner.

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Communication On Two Different Levels

In relationships, we tend to communicate on two different levels.

The surface level includes things like what we do for fun or what something means to us.

The other level is the deeper, more intimate level from which we often share our feelings and thoughts about life and our relationship.

While these types of conversations can be beautiful, they can also be terrifying.

It can feel like I leave room open to my partner's rejection or misunderstanding.

This is my brain at work, trying to protect me from getting hurt in any way, shape, or form.

My happiness is not the focus, and survival is my brain's primary focus.

My communication, or lack of it, has the power to heal, affirm, or damage my partner’s self-esteem — sometimes, when my brain is doing a really good job , it can be hard for me to choose wisely!

Communicating with my partner on a deeper, more intimate level creates a supportive relationship where we can both feel a sense of trust, a sense of security, and intimacy.

Achieving this comfort level in my relationships was something that I didn't see as possible in the past.

I learned that good communication takes deep, deliberate practice, just like deep work takes deliberate practice.

One question I ask when coaching people who feel stuck or that the communication has broken down is:

What do you need to start creating an open dialogue that allows you to express yourself clearly and openly?

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I Remind Myself That We Are On The Same Team

Constructive communication is crucial because it helps me understand my partner and facilitates collaboration and shared goals.

I treat all communication with my partner like we are on the same team.

A question that has moved mountains for me is:

What would this conversation look like if we were on the same team?

This shifts my focus from seeing my partner as the enemy to an alley.

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I Practiced Empathy and understanding

I used to live in my bubble even when I had a partner.

This resulted in an empathy deficit, which was at the root of most of my relationships problems.

Researchers have discovered that far from being an immutable trait, empathy can be practiced and developed.

It is a skill more than anything else, and the greatest teacher in this field is communication.

I started by acknowledging my own biases and moving beyond my worldview by communicating.

The goal is not to win an argument, it's to understand my partner.

A way I check in with myself and if I am displaying empathy is to question if I am acting compassionately toward my partner.

Keywords here are: curious, interested, supportive, calm, friendly, helpful.

Bonus: You'll have much more sex when you practice Empathy.

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I Admit That I Am Biased

It can feel very uncomfortable to admit that I am biased both in life and in how I communicate.

I am no exception to that rule.

Acknowledging it was so hard for me initially, and I felt flawed and that I was exposing myself to criticism.

Admitting my basis was that the first step.

The second step was to take action to overcome it.

This is where practicing communication deliberately enters the scene like the hero in the movie.

Bias has always been a natural part of the human condition.

This is another of the many ways my brain helps me adapt and take mental shortcuts to make conclusions about situations and people around me.

I combat this by always assuming I am wrong or lack information.

A powerful question is: What do I need to know in order to understand?

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Communication Is An Ongoing Process

When I first started educating myself in how to communicate and later started educating others, I firmly believed that If I just had a set of words and questions in my toolbox everything would work out.

Much like putting on a warm coat when it becomes cold.

If I could just manage that I would be an awesome communicator.

If you work with communication, you are probably laughing as much as I am right now because you know that this mindset goes against the very foundation of communication.

After a couple of years of trial and error, I became humbled and relieved.

Communication is an ongoing process, it's a journey I will never finish, and that is a good thing.

I am a good communicator because I know that communications do not flow from me, and the source of good communication is the person in front of me, it is up to me to drink from that fountain.

I do this by asking questions and showing interest, my partner provides answers.

When I realized that communication is about listening and focusing on my partner, I became obsessed with asking questions and understanding.

Life suddenly felt much lighter, it is so much easier to ask than to judge.

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I Stopped Assuming The My Partner Knows What I Am Thinking

I still meet students who are convinced that if their partner loved them, they would know what to say and what to do.

That they shouldn't have to express how they feel and what they need.

This is one of the most destructive relationships behaviors out there.

It is dangerous because it is the complete opposite of communication.

It is judgment in disguise, insecurity presented as aggression.

It is a lack of love for oneself and one's partner.

Every time I assume something and don't ask, I rob myself and my partner of a healthy relationship.

Assuming is the enemy of true understanding

Assuming is the enemy of Empathy

I know I keep coming back to the brain, but even in this case, my brain is not looking out for my best interest.

My brain is a prediction machine wired by all my cultural training and personal experience.

My brain has been shaped to accommodate my social environment and become the product of my cultural baggage.

It does what it has been conditioned to do.

Every action it takes is characterized by a predictable pattern of behavior or thought as a result of having been subjected to certain circumstances or conditions.

In other words, my brain keeps navigating new streets with an outdated map.

But my brain has nothing on me. If I choose to do so, I can rewrite the wiring and give it new instructions by changing the way I communicate.

The first step in this reprogramming is to stop assuming I know things and ask questions.

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I Focused On What My Partner Was Trying To Say

This is nothing that I am proud of, but I use to focus on what I wanted to say for the longest of times.

I was always planning my next counter-attack to win the "argument."

The only thing I won was the right to be alone and isolated because no partner would put up with my shit.

Looking back, I don't blame them.

I would never be with a person who is only waiting to start a war.

I have learned that neither our brains nor our emotions are universal.

If I want to be in a relationship I have to come to terms with this and start focusing on what my partner is saying.

Most importantly, assuming creates (much like lying), which leads to disappointment and emotional blockage.

I remind myself that emotions stem from predictions based on my personal and cultural experience— it is not the truth, it is just my assumptions, and I am full of them.

This helps me stay open-minded and see that things are not as they are, and they are how I see them.

Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels

Summary

If you want to have a healthy relationship, it starts with communication.

Communicating effectively doesn't just mean addressing the issue at hand but also considering your partner's side of the story, feelings, and emotions.

One of the best ways to communicate is to leave your ego outside the communication.

Active listening helps if done with Empathy.

Almost every human being feels the difference if I repeat what they said with no empathy, not trying to show that I understand and care.

It can be challenging to listen actively when my partner is angry or hurt, but it is here that it is most important.

Because it helps me understand where my partner is coming from and what they need, which will make it easier for me to meet.

Communication, at its core, is about sending and receiving needs and boundaries correctly.

You need to empathize with your partner just as much as you need to listen to them attentively.

When you are in a conversation with your partner, really listen to what they say without judgment.

Try to see things from their perspective and understand why they feel the way they do.

This will help you to be able to better support them during difficult times and work through issues together, and they will love you for it.

A great way to develop Empathy is by learning about your partner's life before you meet them.

How did they grow up? What were their family dynamics like? Where did they go to school?

Try to see things from their perspective and understand why they feel the way they do.

I will leave you with this:

A thing I struggled with a lot initially was not putting myself down for feeling overwhelmed or withdrawing from some situations.

It's ok to ask for a time out to calm down and reboot the conversation later.

You simply identify what you feel, which is an essential first step in taking care of yourself.

The goal here is to help you understand that setting limits is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness.

Do it with kindness and Empathy.

Remember that your partner's feelings are their responsibility.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, If you enjoyed reading the article don’t forget to applaud.

If you like to be the first to receive more articles like this and create the best version of yourself, you can follow me.

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Life advice that will (actually) change your life. Curated stories from The Good Men Project.

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Carlos Vettorazzi

Carlos Vettorazzi

Life Coach And Writer In The Making, Empowering People With A Practical Transformational Guide To Living A More Peaceful and Fulfilling Life.

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