One Key Way to Communicate with Your Partner
Sometimes your relationship may be great, and communication flows.
You feel like things are peaceful, happy, and you can conquer the world.
Other times, your relationship becomes the source of frustration and all.of.your.energy.
It drains you.
You have that same conversation again, and again, and again. But don’t move anywhere on it.
You find yourself in that stuck spot again.
And you don’t know how to talk about it.
When you have one of those tough moments in your relationship, it can feel like everything is moving so fast.
Maybe you can feel the energy coursing through your veins, and there are so many things you want to say, but you know if you do, it’ll only get worse than it already is.
Maybe you don’t have any words. That in the moment you just want to escape before it gets back to that bad place again.
What’s really tough about these moments is that we get swept away into the distress.
If we try to come back to it, or make it better, it often makes it worse.
So maybe you just stop trying to come back from it.
But our minds don’t stop there.
Humans can’t help but try and make sense of it. We often develop a narrative around what is happening in our relationship.
“He just doesn’t care about me.”
“I never can be good enough for her.”
This is why in couples counseling I often ask my clients, ‘And what do you tell yourself there?’
Even if we don’t always realize it, these moments do fuel how we perceive ourselves, our partner, and the relationship:
You might blame yourself. That you are the reason the relationship isn’t where you’d like it to be. If you were more like this, or could do that, then it all would be better.
You might blame your partner. If they would just change, or do XYZ differently, then it would be a much better relationship to be in.
Or you might blame the relationship. Maybe you begin to tell yourself after these moments that the relationship isn’t good.
This is often the headspace that people walk into my office in.
And it makes complete sense, you’re in pain about all of this, and are trying to understand it.
In my work with couples, I have received extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).
Part of EFT involves dealing with emotions (of course), but also some of the most important work is identifying what actually is happening in these moments.
Slowing down the moments of conflict and stuckness to see if there is a pattern (or cycle) to the stuck (9 times out of 10 there is).
This is the One Key part to communicate about.
To communicate about your communication.
Instead of blaming yourself, your partner, or the relationship now you can team up together to blame the cycle you’ve gotten caught in.
When another hard moment begins to happen, instead of trying to find a solution that you haven’t been able to find yet, you can simply call out that the cycle is happening again, and reset the conversation.
Now there is room to try and slow things down, and have a different type of conversation. To feel more understood and heard.
What do I do if I think my relationship might be stuck?
The first step might just be to try and talk about it with your partner.
Talk about talking about it.
“Hey, that moment earlier was pretty rough. I don’t want to try and jump back into that conversation, but could we just look at it together and see what happened?”
“I know that sucked. I wish I hadn’t said some of that, and I’m still pretty upset about it. I feel like we got sucked into this same type of conversation that we keep getting into. Can we slow it down and see what happened together?”
When things are calm, you might try and see if you both can look at these moments ‘from a distance’ and see if you can notice a pattern.
To be honest with you, this is really hard work. It can be really difficult to see the pattern when you are in it.
Not to mention that these moments move so quickly.
You might want to seek support from a therapist who offers couples counseling near you, and utilizes this type of therapeutic approach.
I’d be happy to sit down with you and talk more about what this would look like, and see if we can begin to get your relationship unstuck.
Sitting down, spending intentional time looking ‘under the hood’ of your relationship.
I hope you don’t continue to sit in that stuck place.
You deserve to have peace, happiness, and deep connection in your relationship.
And so does your partner.
Feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more or begin this work!