Why the Silent Treatment Never Works

Every relationship experiences days that can be challenging. In order to overcome the challenging times, a relationship must have a strong foundation built on respect. Respect makes it easier to establish a line of clear communication, making it easier to resolve conflicts.

Here are a few tools to help establish respect and create clear lines of communication. Several of these tools can be used in other relationships including friendships, family and co-workers.

Before we can fix any problems, we have to establish how you and your partner communicate.
  1. How often do you and your partner communicate without outside distractions? Distractions include talking while watching TV, fixing dinner, or driving.
  2. When you talk without distractions do the two of you maintain eye contact?
  3. Do you understand your partner’s needs on a day to day basis?
  4. Can you tell when your partner is struggling with stress?
  5. Does your partner understand your needs?
  6. When was the last time you both shared what, you appreciate most about each other and your relationship?
  7. Do you express what you would like to improve upon in the relationship?
  8. What decisions do you and your partner agree should be made together?
Defining Intimacy
It’s no secret that long-lasting relationships take work. In order to have open communication, a strong sense of intimacy has to exist. I like to define intimacy as familiarity and closeness with your partner.

If you do not feel close to your partner, you cannot communicate. Without intimacy, your partner may not feel comfortable expressing their needs or express setting boundaries.

Building the Basics
Here are a few tips on how to build basic communication skills in your relationship:
  • Lighten up! Communication does not have to be long serious discussions. Communication can include:
    • Walks in the park
    • Date night
    • Take a cooking class together
  • Acknowledge when your partner goes above and beyond. If your partner does decide to help with the dishes or puts the kids to bed, it’s nice to acknowledge their help. We all feel good when we receive praise or receive positive feedback for our actions.
  • When something hurts your feelings… don’t let it fester. Not expressing yourself can lead to resentful feelings towards your partner.
  • It’s okay to tell your partner you are feeling stressed. Your partner may not see the signals or ques that you are feeling stressed. Productive conversations do not have to come in the form of arguments. Letting your partner know how you are feeling on the onset can be productive.
  • If emotions are too high, remember not everything has to be resolved immediately. It’s okay to take a breath and wait for some time to pass before expressing yourself in regards to sensitive issues. Create a safe space for you and your partner to express yourself.
  • Be open and share your strengths, weaknesses, pet peeves, and preferences.
Try to establish open communication early in your relationship. If you and your partner have been together for a while, it’s never too late to get started.

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