At the start of a relationship, everything seems to run smoothly, but after some time you will start to notice that communicating clearly and loving takes some work. Simply because you are two different people, who work differently. Which communication mistakes would you rather avoid in a relationship?
If things are a bit rocky, it is tempting to start thinking in terms like “guilty and innocent”, and “right and wrong”. Try to avoid conflict or making a battle out of your conversation – this will block the way to a solution. Of course, expressing your emotions (hurt/offended/ignored) if valuable, but don’t stick to accusations. Try to see the matter from both sides, and look further than who is right: Which solution makes you both happy?
Some people easily say: “Sure love, you choose”, for others it is very important things go the way they have imagined it. Do you have a strong will? Practice adding some water to the wine. Look for a compromise and sometimes give your partner a free choice. Things will really be easier this way.
Read number 1 again, but also enlarge your accusations. You make them very definitive: By saying someone always does something, you implicate that the other cannot do it differently (and he or she has crossed the line by miles). Don’t keep falling back into old situations, this will get in the way of change and growth. Look for the origin of the hurt. Is it really about this thing your partner did? Or is he or she pushing a button that has been there since you were a child – because one of your parents was also easily distracted or didn’t show much interest? If you can give this a place of its own, you will see you create more space in your relationship.
After a while, a relationship is no longer new and exciting. You know each other through and through, you have your ways together, which you like, but it doesn’t sparkle anymore. You can map out your evenings and weekends. Break through this rut by surprising each other. Don’t watch that series for once, but play some games, have a good conversation, or take a course together. Plan a date and put on something nice. Tell each other what you like about one another.
Even in the most beautiful relationship oxygen is needed. You have to feel like two separate people every now and then, with different characters and experiences. Just then the attraction will still be there, and you will keep your independence. This last one might sound a bit cold, but these two independent people can build something beautiful together – and hold onto it.
Text: Dorien Vrieling