“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating”
– Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
This is one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite quotes from it. It’s a love story that shows the exhilaration you feel when you first meet someone, the problems that you go through as a couple, the frustrations you may feel with your partner, the words you wish you never said, the hurt that you can feel at the loss of a relationship, and the longing for the person even after the relationship is over.
We all communicate in different ways- the spoken word isn’t the only way to communicate and just because you are talking, doesn’t mean that you are getting your message across.
Just as most people try to express their love for others in the way they would like their partner to show they love, we often try to communicate in the way we would like our partner to communicate with us.
Think of all the ways that your partners communicates with you, a touch of your shoulder to show that they are there for you, a look from across the room to express interest, curiosity, romance, or even saying nothing and turning away from you or leaving the room when they are upset.
You understand what your partner is saying and this gives you clues of how they communicate, how we all communicate in different ways.
Often we get so wrapped up in the conversation that we are having with someone and getting our message across that we forget to listen and hear the message our partner is trying to express, in the method that works best for them. Listen and look for clues of what your partner is trying to tell you, to repeat back what you heard them say. This shows your partner that you are listening and want to understand their message.
If your partner is asking for time or a pause, it may be because they are feeling overwhelmed by the conversation, want to take time to think about it more before coming to the conversation, or don’t have the time and attention to give at that time.
Try to be patient with your partner, if they ask for time before discussing it, it is okay to ask to discuss it at a later time. The only condition is that a time to come back to it needs to be decided, preferably within a 24 hour time frame so that your partner knows you are coming back to finish the discussion.
If you are having trouble communicating with your partner, listening and hearing one another- I can help.
Contact me using the information below or use the contact form to set up your appointment today.
Amanda Samuels is a past therapist of Greenway Therapy.