What Does Healthy Communication Look Like?

Cass & Steve Whitaker at their wedding

What is healthy communication?

According to licensed psychotherapist Jude Treder-Wolff, “Communication is the lubricant in the gears of a relationship.” Essentially, if there’s no communication, then the machine that is your relationship starts to grind and inevitably breaks down.

  • A lack of skill
  • A fear of being vulnerable

It’s not just ‘talking more’ — it’s showing vulnerability

In a previous relationship, I remember saying to my boyfriend at the time that we needed to work on our communication. It was a big step for me to say that, and I can remember feeling my heart pound within my chest.

It’s not about ‘winning’ — it’s a judgment-free zone

If you’ve been with your partner for a long time, it can be easy to just assume what your partner is thinking about any given situation. I’ve caught myself doing this with Steve; I’ve even started getting preemptively mad about a scenario I’ve completely imagined.

It’s about better understanding each other’s feelings

Of course, even if you don’t agree on a particular subject, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand each other’s feelings. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like your partner simply doesn’t care about how you feel.

Why is healthy communication so important?

If you’re not communicating with your partner, you’re not sharing a part of yourself. Instead you’re internalising your feelings, which stops your relationship from changing and growing. Change is inevitable; communication helps you and your partner to grow together, instead of growing apart.

Avoiding arguments

Even the best communicators still have misunderstandings and disagreements. But it’s the couples that don’t communicate where they can turn into bigger arguments. Each partner may perceive a situation differently, which can create resentment and lead to hurt feelings. You may not even know why or how it started.

Cass taking a selfie in bathroom, with an ‘I love you’ post-it note stuck to the mirror
Cass taking a selfie in bathroom, with an ‘I love you’ post-it note stuck to the mirror
Steve doing a good job of avoiding an argument :P

Setting boundaries

When you plainly state your expectations, it’s difficult for them to be disregarded. Your partner can’t say, “I didn’t know messaging another girl was such a big deal to you,” as you had already made yourself clear.

Sex and intimacy

A common problem in long-term relationships is one partner wants sex more than the other. This can lead to feelings of resentment and insecurity — and is typically a result of poor communication.

How to strike up healthy communication with your partner

When you’re in the middle of an argument, it can be hard to reign in the desire to say things in the heat of the moment. For couples with poor communication, it can be almost cathartic. Often, a bitter fight is the only release either partner is currently getting.

Recognising when it’s time to move on

While healthy communication is invaluable for a healthy relationship, it’s also a valuable tool to recognise when a relationship is no longer working.

Getting support from a professional

One question I always ask a friend when they’re considering breaking up with their partner is this: Who is the one person you want to share your news with?

Bad at pronouncing words. https://cassovershares.com

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