Here are some communication tips that will help you achieve a healthier relationship.
Decide which partner will talk first.
Allow this person to say what they think is happening without interruption — maybe set up a timer after you have agreed on the number of minutes he/she can talk for.
Again: Do. Not. Interrupt.
You will each have a turn at speaking without interruption.
When you are speaking, keep away from making critical (“the things you do are wrong”) comments.
There is a way to express yourself without bringing down your partner. Here are the things to watch out for:
Describe what is happening without blaming your partner. This works better if you start statements with “I.”
For example, say, “I felt angry when that happened last week” rather than “When you did that, it was really bad.”
Try to just describe what is happening as if you were someone from another planet who was noticing problematic things for the first time.
Say, “Sometimes I end up doing all the cleaning, and that’s not how I wanted things to be and I feel pressed for time ” rather than “You never help me do the cleaning.”
Use your feelings — they are real for you, and they are what’s important in this whole situation. Say, “When X happens, I feel Y” or “I’m really unhappy/scared about this.”
Ask for what you want, clearly and politely.
Your partner is not a mind reader — he/she may not know exactly what is bothering you.
Be specific with your requests, and use words/phrases such as “please” and “I would like it if…”
What you can do:
- Start softly when you are talking about problems — begin the conversation gently, so your partner does not feel attacked.
- Keep trying — it takes time and practice for people to change their normal reactive responses.
- Notice and acknowledge when things are going better or when there have been some changes.