Does Your Partner Never Understand?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Ready to give up on a relationship because you aren’t seeing eye to eye? Or you feel misunderstood and undervalued?

Communication mistakes are one of the main reasons relationships go wrong. And you might be more at fault than you realise.

1. You aren’t actually listening.

The most powerful way of communicating doesn’t involve your mouth but your ears.

When your partner talks, are you planning what to say next? Do you sometimes interrupt because you feel what you have to say is more important? Do you ever ask him or her questions, or are you too busy explaining your viewpoint? “Yeah, but…”.

Real listening involves fully focussing on what the person is saying without any agenda of what you’ll say next. Allowing pauses. Reflecting back to the other person what they said to be sure you understood. Slower? Yes. But it can revolutionise your relationship.

2. You are being unclear about your actual needs.

Try to give your partner ‘hints’ about what you hope for in a relationship, and expect him or her to ‘know you enough’ to figure it out? You are setting your partner up to fail. And you are even being manipulative.

Adult communication means expressing our needs clearly and directly. “What I’m looking for in this relationship… “What makes me happy is….”. “How I’d prefer to spend our time is..”.

3. You resort to blame every time.

Blame is the fastest way to shut down a conversation and push the other person away.

Just listen to how you start most of your sentences. If they tend to start with “you” — “you did, you said” — then it’s blame.

Good communication is open to knowing more. Ask good questions instead of jumping to the blame game.

And adult communication involves taking responsibility. Nobody can make you feel or react a certain way, that is up to you. So when you communicate, try using sentences that being with “I”. “I feel upset when you don’t tell me you’ll be late coming home. Is there some kind of solution that would work for both of us?”

4. You think you are always right.

There is no human who is always right. The way we see things is only our perspective, and others are free to see things from their perspective. Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle.

A good communicator never assumes they are right, they ask questions and makes it clear they are open to learning more when sharing their viewpoint. “I might be wrong, but what I thought happened was…”

5. You assume your partner communicates the same way as you.

You communicate with little notes and by explaining your feelings endlessly. When your partner doesn’t want to talk about how he feels, you decide he is a bad communicator, not noticing how he communicates the way he feels through always helping you and giving you hugs when you are upset.

Writer Gary Chapman identified 5 love ‘languages’ in his bestselling book - words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. What ones are you, and what ones your partner?

Ready to fix the communiction problems in your relationship, feel connected again, and fall more deeply in love? Why not try couples counselling, either in-person or online?

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