How often have you had a conversation with your partner only to discover that you’re having two entirely different conversations? It seems that the experience of being understood versus interpreted is so compelling, you could charge admission.
This happens so often that we could charge admission for the experience!
The problem is many people feel disconnected from or misunderstood by their partner.
So what is driving this missed connection and misunderstanding in the conversations we are having in our relationships?
It’s all in the context. Our context determines how we experience the content in our lives. We each hold a unique perspective because we’ve had an entirely different set of experiences than our partner.
And all the wonderful, traumatic, beautiful, messy “behind the scenes” moments that you’ve experienced are what make you, you. Your set of experiences determines how you show up in life, love and especially… relationships.
To have more connected conversations, here are three ways you can connect with your partner:
If you practice these three healthy behaviors, your conversations will begin to feel more connected, and you’ll start to see more positive outcomes with your partner.
At some point, we will all feel misunderstood. A real problem occurs, though, when you are feeling consistently misunderstood in your romantic relationship. Spending time with someone who doesn’t understand you can be irritating to say the least, and possibly even bring you to the finish line of a relationship.
Our relationship can suffer if we don’t take the necessary actions to create conversations that lead to more connection and more understanding.
To start, it’s important to look at the things you can control. In what ways are you leaving room for misinterpretation in conversations with your partner? Are you actually being misunderstood, or can you see it from your partner’s perspective and understand why he or she may be confused?
Assessing the situation to determine why you feel misunderstood and why your partner might have valid reasons to misunderstand you will allow for more empathy and compassion towards your partner and yourself.
When you leave space for your partner to guess what you’re thinking, you’re leaving space for them to guess incorrectly and it’s not fair to you or your relationship and can quickly lead to resentment.
“Misunderstandings are opportunities for the parties involved to learn from each other and discover how others interpret the world. Taking on the goal of clarity also provides a path forward,” says this article by Inside Higher Ed.
The goal is to express your ideas, thoughts, and feelings in a clear and intentional way, rather than to be “right,” forcing your partner to be “wrong.”
If you can strive for clarity over confusion in your conversations with your partner, you’ll open up doors that will bring you closer together.
It takes courage to be honest. But if we can view honesty as an opportunity for growth, then our relationship has a chance to thrive.
When your partner asks, “how are you doing?” or, “are you upset with me?” and you tell a lie (or partial truth) in response, you are hurting the relationship, not furthering it. What happens in this scenario is that your partner will then sense the lie and wonder what you are hiding, or why you don’t feel comfortable enough to share your true feelings.
Tell the truth! There is power in speaking your truth in intimate relationships. When your partner asks why you’re upset, tell him or her. Be gentle and compassionate but tell the truth.
Being dishonest about how you feel leads to broken trust, resentment, and more dishonesty in a relationship.
And where does a dishonest conversation leave you anyway? Nowhere good, I can tell you that much. With a conversation like this, you’ve neither progressed your relationship nor expressed how you really feel so you’re right back where you’ve started, maybe even a step behind.
For many of us, we believe it is too risky to tell the truth. But the reality is, by not telling the truth we are lining ourselves up for many “gradual” moments of confusion that will inevitably lead to a feeling that your relationship is “suddenly” failing.
Fierce conversations and Fierce Love are the antidote to this. If you can come out from behind yourself and be honest about your thoughts and feelings, you’ll begin to enrich your relationship one authentic conversation at a time.
Carl Jung once said, “What we do not make conscious, emerges later as fate.”
The unconscious is all your thoughts, beliefs, and stories about yourself, your partner and the world around you that you are believing, going along with, and claiming as your truth.
Whether we like it or not, outside forces and conditioned stories or thought patterns affect our inner thoughts and relationships. Gender roles, societal acceptance, how our parents raised us, religion, and media all influence how we show up in the world.
The problem occurs when we believe all of them, and some of them may be lies.
Relationships can really suffer if we are unwilling to let go of these myths and unconscious beliefs.
When a popular but flawed belief affects our relationship, it needs to be examined. If we don’t bring our unconscious stories to light, they will continue to create unhealthy cycles in our life and relationships.
You and your partner’s beliefs are neither right nor wrong, what matters is if your beliefs are working for you and your relationship.
Practicing healthier habits will open up doors for you to learn more about yourself and your partner, allowing for a deeper, more intimate connection. You will be able to have peace of mind knowing you are disclosing what you really think and feel, which will give space for your partner to express freely, too.
When we practice harmful behaviors we aren’t furthering our relationship, we are damaging it. Maintaining and nurturing a healthy partnership is a crucial challenge you must accept or decline. It is truly a decision you must make.
Leaving space for misunderstandings, being dishonest about your thoughts and feelings, and believing the conditioned stories you’ve been told can harm your partnership beyond repair.
When you begin applying healthier practices to your relationship, emotional connectivity will intensify, trust will grow where it once wilted, and you will be amazed at how fulfilling your relationship has become.
So what are you waiting for? One fierce conversation is enough to change the course of your relationship!