We’ve all been there. The door slams on your partner as you Beyonce your way out of the bedroom after a heated argument. Your voice echoes the same words you’ve said a million times before. “Why don’t you listen to me!” You yell out, “And why don’t you understand?!” Hopefully, you think, this will be the last time you revisit this downward spiral, but an emotional barrier in communication will only get worse if not confronted.
Communication issues flare up in relationships the way acne invades your face as a teenager, and nearly everyone has an issue expressing their feelings or goals with their partner from time to time. So, of course, your emotions scatter themselves to the verbal wind — and you go adolescent on each other. After all, we know in our minds what we want. The problem is crafting the right words to let your significant other know just what you’re thinking and feeling, too.
An emotional barrier in communication impedes your ability to move forward together successfully, but getting your point across and actively listening to your partner isn’t as easy as you’d think. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can make bridging your communication gap a bit easier.
If you’re struggling to let your guard down or feel invalidated whenever expressing your feelings, here’s a look at a few simple ways you can turn transform conversing with your partner from a stormy and emotional mess into a breeze.
Don’t Just Talk — Listen
Feel like you’re talking to a wall when trying to communicate your viewpoint with your partner? Other times, maybe you represent the metaphorical barrier instead. Regardless of who points their finger at the other person for creating the emotional barrier in communication, one act remains crucial to overcoming these obstacles — active listening.
Listening is so vital, in fact, that a study on one nurse found that losing her voice helped bring her even closer to her patients and permitted her to develop a greater sense of empathy for those around her. Must be something to taking a vow of silence, huh? Just don’t confuse that with giving them the silent treatment — that’s emotional abuse. If you’re dating a narcissist, red flags like this usually abound.
Listening to another without interruption speaks louder than any words you could possibly utter. Use your facial expressions, gestures and physical presence to show your support and reception of their story in place of words to increase your partner’s feelings of trust and ease.
Respect Your Partner — Even When You Don’t Agree
Can you imagine pouring your heart out to someone only to have them respond with a snicker or scold? In those moments, the bottom of your heart drops out, and you wonder where the love between you went. Regardless of the topic at hand, it’s crucial always to respect your partner’s opinions and viewpoints, even when you don’t necessarily agree with what they say. This doesn’t mean you’re enabling bad behavior — you’re taking the time to consider and value the opinions of a person you claim to love.
Studies show that when you accommodate to understand your partner’s feelings, you enjoy a greater sense of well-being in your relationship. So, remain positive and supportive of your partner’s expressions, even when you don’t necessarily see things eye-to-eye.
So the next time your partner argues that you should transform your basement into a mini arcade room, don’t belittle their feelings or respond with anger or annoyance. Why not consider letting your inner child out to play? The best ways to beat stress are chocolate, sex and… monkey bowling! Everybody knows that. The beauty of respect is that it allows you to acknowledge another’s emotions, abilities and actions without necessitating that you agree.
Get in Touch with Your Own Emotions First
Sometimes, you feel upset before you even begin to talk with your partner — anxiety and frustration teleport you to the worst-case scenario. Your emotions scatter all over the place without an apparent cause. While it’s okay to feel a mixture of feelings, it’s vital to understand what’s causing your renegade emotions.
Our emotions constitute an intricate part of our everyday life, so it comes as no surprise that they’re not straightforward in interpretation. But if you’re not too sure how you feel or why you feel the way you do, how can you expect your significant other to work through these difficulties for you?
Pick up a pen and start putting your words on paper to try to find the answer to your underlying emotions. Healthcare professionals suggest journaling and writing your feelings out to gain the insight and self-reflection necessary to improve your relationship. While communication often occurs between two or more people, it’s important to interact with and understand your own feelings, too — so, having a one-on-one with yourself in your journal is the way to go!
Release Anger (And Other Negative Emotions)
Everybody gets angry every now and again, so it’s perfectly reasonable to feel a sense of boiling anger when your partner says something hurtful, annoys you or disagrees with your points. But while it’s common to feel irritable and mad at times, what matters is how you react to these emotions — your emotions inform your inner compass, so think it through and use them wisely. Don’t make north into south. Don’t make heads of tails. You know the rest.
Did you know that there’s some truth to the expression “blind with rage?” When you feel anger, your decision-making skills are greatly impaired and you respond differently to circumstances and situations. Anger toddler-izes your brain. Relationships can stress you out, which is why talking to your partner while upset is not the best decision. Take a step back from the conversation and healthily diffuse your anger instead.
Before you decide to sit down and get into a heavy discussion with your partner, consider going for a long run beforehand — especially if you’re angry. Work it out before you work it out, and channel those heightened emotions into your fitness goals. Not only will sprinting or running reduce your anger — hello, endorphins — but it’ll help bring you a greater sense of clarity, too.
Bridge an Emotional Barrier in Communication Early
You love your partner, but sometimes, you can’t get over that emotional barrier in communication patterns that elicit a sense of disconnect. Fortunately, if you have a healthy relationship already, there are few things that can’t be fixed with a bit of TLC and smooches.
Take a step back and relax the next time you feel emotionally disconnected from your partner. With these conversation tips in mind, tear down that bridge creating an emotional barrier in communication with your loved one and build a place of mutual peace, respect and happiness instead.