You’ve probably heard before that strong communication is key to a healthy relationship.
There’s a lot of truth to that. So, it’s no surprise that negative communication patterns can quickly tear a relationship down.
If you feel like you’re struggling to connect with your partner, it could be in the way you communicate with each other.
Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize the signs of negative communication patterns. Yet, identifying these signs early on can make it easier to change the way you communicate with your partner.
Here are some tips to spot these patterns and improve communication within your relationship.
- Recognize Escalation
Every couple disagrees from time to time. In fact, conflict and arguments can be a beneficial part of a healthy relationship. Of course, it’s how you handle those disagreements that makes a difference.
One major negative communication pattern is escalation within your arguments.
For example, when you disagree with your partner, do you continuously try to “up the ante”? Do your voices get louder as you throw insults around or bring up past issues?
This pattern creates nothing less than a hostile environment. It will make arguments more aggressive and far less productive.
- Check Your Perspective
Negative communication patterns can be hard to spot because they’re often subtle.
Many times, it’s your perception that may cause poor communication. In other words, you believe an issue to be something more or less than it really is.
Don’t let your perception of a situation or something your partner says become anything but reality. Doing so will make a productive conversation nearly impossible to achieve, disrupting your relationship in the meantime.
- Be Mindful of Silence
Sometimes, negative communication patterns don’t involve communication at all. Unfortunately, one of the worst patterns to fall into is remaining silent.
As you may know, when couples disagree or are upset with each other, it’s often easier not to talk than to talk things out.
If you feel angry or hostile toward your partner, taking a few minutes to calm down isn’t a bad thing. But, avoiding the conversation entirely or brushing it under the rug will lead to problems later on.
Letting silence win allows all the unspoken issues to build up, exploding at some point. You might even bring them up during a different argument, which isn’t fair to you or your partner.
- Understand Your Focus
It’s important to understand that in a relationship, you’re on the same team.
We live in a culture where “I” statements tend to take precedence. When you don’t view yourself as teammates in a relationship, it’s easy to feel as though your partner is the enemy.
Focus less on yourself, and more on your relationship as a whole unit. When you’re too wrapped up in the “you versus me” mindset, effective communication is more difficult than it as to be.
How to Support Better Communication
Even though communication is crucial in a relationship, doing it the right way isn’t always easy. One of the best things you can do is to uncover your emotions and start to rebuild the bond of your relationship.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help you and your partner communicate better, improving the overall relationship.
EFT for couples is designed to focus on the present. In fact, the first phase works to identify any negative patterns in your relationship—including negative communication patterns.
Then, you’ll learn ways to move forward productively and effectively by replacing those old patterns with new ones.
Communication in a relationship takes dedication and effort. Whether you’ve never had strong communication with your partner, or you feel as though you’ve fallen into negative patterns, it’s okay to seek out the help of a professional.