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Poor communication: Mistakes that ruin your relationship

Ask any relationship counselor or psychologist what the biggest detriment to any relationship is, and they’re sure to say: lack of communication.

It’s not a dry spell in the bedroom or even financial problems that cause relationships to break down. 

Ultimately, the issue we have is that we don’t know how to communicate with our partners and overcome common problems. 

Poor communication doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t talk to your partner enough. 

You may spend all day chatting to each other over WhatsApp while you’re at work – but if you don’t know how to get the message across when it counts, your relationship will still suffer. 

The bad news? 

Poor communication in a relationship is a common issue and something that even the most perfect couples will experience from time to time. 

The good news is that if you learn how to pinpoint the most common mistakes you’re making, you can also overcome them. 

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The biggest mistake: Lack of communication

The most obvious example of damaged communication in a relationship is a complete lack of it. 

Do you talk to your partner about the issues you have with them leaving their socks on the bedroom floor, or do you ignore the problem? 

When your other half comes home sighing about work, do you ask them what’s wrong, or brush it off?

When you can’t communicate with your partner about the big things and the small, you’re creating room for misunderstandings. More importantly, you’re also building distance between the two of you

On the other hand, when you and your partner can express yourselves adequately, you’ll find it brings you closer together. We all want to feel understood. 

A relationship is all about communication, because it’s all about two people trying to go through life in unity. When you put two people on the same path, it takes communication for them both to stay on track. 

Here are some other mistakes, besides lack of communication, that could be holding you back. 

Poor communication mistake 1: Shutting down

Sometimes, when you feel like your partner won’t understand you, you’ll shut down and give them the silent treatment instead. 

You either block your lover out of your problem and don’t give them the chance to try and understand you better, or you stop listening to them, which broadens the gap between you. 

Telling your partner that you’re done with a conversation or that you don’t want to talk means that you just don’t solve the problem. Your anger and hurt builds inside you instead, creating more resentment and various negative feelings. 

If you need a minute to calm down and collect your thoughts before talking – that’s fine. It’s better to go into a conversation with a clear head, so you don’t say things you’ll regret. 

But whatever you do, avoid blocking your partner out entirely

Poor communication mistake 2: Taking everything personally

If you already had self-esteem issues before you got into a relationship, then you’re going to be more likely to take non-personal comments in a personal way. 

If your partner tells you that they hate it when you cook a certain meal for dinner, for instance, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t appreciate your effort. 

It might just be a commentary that your partner would rather eat something else. Try not to take it personally. 

If your partner says something to you and you find it offensive or personally upsetting, ask them to elaborate. This might help you to see that the original comment wasn’t directed at you. 

For example, you might say “Why do you hate having cabbage for dinner?” and they could tell you that it reminds them of their mom’s bad cooking. 

Poor communication mistake 3: Making assumptions

This problem with communication in a relationship connects to the last one a little, as it asks you to challenge the way you respond to what your partner says. We often make assumptions about what we think a person means, rather than listening to just what they say. 

If you ask your partner whether they’d mind you going out for a while rather than spending time with them and they say “no”, you might convince yourself that this means they don’t want you around, or that they’re testing you to see whether you like the best. 

However, there’s also a good chance that your other half just wants you to do what makes you happy. 

We often believe that our assumptions are the truth and respond to them emotionally. You can save yourself the heartache of a problematic assumption, however, by quickly clarifying things. 

Most of the time, your partner would rather explain what they meant, instead of seeing you getting upset. 

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Poor communication mistake 4: Yelling and screaming

If you’re in a long-term relationship, you’re bound to find yourself yelling and screaming at some point. Even the best relationships dissolve into shouting at times. 

There’s a childish part of our brain that tells us shouting louder will get our point across better. If you’re angry or frustrated, yelling and screaming is also a way of letting your primal emotions out. 

Unfortunately, channeling your inner caveman, grunting, and banging your chest when you’re unhappy rarely leads to any successful outcomes. 

Screaming and yelling might make you feel better temporarily, and they’re better than complete lack of communication – but only slightly. 

If you want to improve your communication in a relationship, you need to recognize when you’re shouting too much and bring your voice back down again. If you stop yelling, your partner will usually follow suit. 

Poor communication mistake 5: Apologizing too much

Apologizing when you’re in the wrong is crucial to good communication in a relationship. You need to be responsible and mature enough to own up when you’ve made a mistake. Saying sorry to your other half is a chance for you to show them that you respect and understand their position. 

Unfortunately, if you’re constantly apologizing,this might cause more problems. 

Some people have a habit of apologizing after every argument, conflict, or the slightest disagreement from their partner. This can create some serious issues with the power dynamic in your relationship. 

You feel like you can’t be yourself around your partner, and your other half feels that they’re continually making you feel like you’re “in trouble”. 

Saying sorry is fine but take note if you think you’re doing it too often. Has everything that you’ve held your hands up for really needed an apology?

Poor communication mistake 6: Speaking in absolutes

“Do or do not, there is no try.” That might be a good quote from star wars – but it’s not a great way to handle your relationship. When you’re angry, it’s tempting to say things like “You always” or “You never.” 

However, the truth is that few things are absolute. Just because your partner fails to do the washing up most of the time doesn’t mean that they “never help around the house.” 

Speaking in absolutes immediately puts your other half into defensive mode, where they feel they need to prove themselves. If the other person in the conversation feels attacked, it’s hard to have a productive conversation. 

A good way to avoid issues with absolutes is to start the conversation talking about what you feel, rather than what your partner is or isn’t doing. Say “I feel like I’m constantly doing the housework on my own, for example, and I’d appreciate it if you could help more.”

Poor communication mistake 6: Terrible timing

Honesty and transparency are important parts of any great relationship. However, it’s important to know when it’s the right time to talk about your issues. 

Try to avoid bringing up problems at the wrong time. If one of you is angry, upset, or just not in the right headspace, it might be better to put the conversation on hold. 

In the same vein, if a partner comes to you and tries to talk about something when you’re not ready, let them know that you understand why they want to talk, but you need more time. 

A great relationship requires both partners to be patient with each other. 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to moments when your partner tries to repair issues and apologize for their mistakes, however. 

Even if you’re still feeling hurt and frustrated, say thank you for their effort to fix things, and let them know that you’ll be open to fixing things soon.

Poor communication is relationship poison

Communication in a relationship is tricky. 

As two people trying to work your way through life together, you and your partner need to learn how to share your thoughts and feelings productively. However, this isn’t always as easy as it seems. 

There are a lot of mistakes that can trip you up on the path to happiness. 

Poor communication or lack of communication are common issues, but they’re also problems that you can overcome with a little work. Use our tips above as a starting point and find out what works for you and your other half. 

Don’t forget to check out our other relationship articles here at ReWired for more guidance too. 

ReWired: ReThink Your Life.