Relationship Issues: How to Navigate Communication Barriers
You’ve probably heard it said that communication is a major key to a healthy relationship. So, when you’re dealing with communication barriers, it can feel like your relationship is in trouble.
Encountering roadblocks to communication isn’t necessarily an uncommon issue for couples, but left unaddressed, they can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy relationship.
If you’re dealing with relationship issues, it’s important to take a look at how you’re individually communicating with your partner.
Knowing how to navigate communication barriers can make a big difference in your relationship. When you understand how your partner communicates and the role you’re each playing in creating barriers, you can start to work on your issues to make your relationship stronger than ever.
Distance and Distractions
Many people don’t realize that physical issues can cause communication barriers. You can’t actively listen when you’re distracted, for example. And at times, even having too much distance can create issues with listening the “right” way.
To literally knock down these barriers, don’t be afraid to get closer! Give all of your attention and focus to your partner when they’re talking to you, and respectfully request the same from them. Sometimes, simply removing the distractions and feeling closer can make a big difference in feeling heard.
Dealing with Misunderstandings
Misunderstandings are common and can happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe your partner doesn’t pick up on the tone you’re using. Maybe they think you meant something a certain way when that wasn’t your intention at all.
Misunderstandings can also occur because everyone has different life experiences that have shaped certain ways they communicate. Your backgrounds may be different, and you may express things differently.
If you’re unsure about what your partner really means, the easiest thing to do is to ask them to clarify.
Practicing Active Listening
Anyone can assert that they’re listening to someone, but there’s a difference between hearing what someone says and actually listening.
Everyone wants to be heard, especially in a relationship. When you feel like your partner isn’t really hearing or understanding you, it can lead to bigger problems.
To ensure your partner that you’re really listening, you need to give them your full concentration and make sure they know that. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other people, electronics, the television, or anything else. If you want to have a meaningful conversation with your partner, your focus needs to be entirely on them.
Paying Attention to Nonverbal Cues
Sometimes, the things you don’t say can actually speak quite loudly. Nonverbal cues are just as important as verbal ones. For example, if you’re listening to your partner but you’re looking the other way or looking down, they’ll likely feel as though you’re not giving them your full attention.
Nonverbal cues can send mixed messages. It can be very frustrating for the person trying to be heard. If your partner feels as though your actions are contradictory to what you’re saying, they may close off or stop talking altogether. So, pay attention to your own body language and think about how you would want someone to respond to you—even non-verbally—as you speak to them.
Breaking Down Communication Barriers
Communication barriers usually come from both people in a relationship. While you might feel as though the relationship issues are all one-sided, take a look at the role you play. How might you be contributing to those issues or communicating ineffectively?
Knowing what part you play in the communication issues in your relationship can help you fix them.
Individual therapy is a great way to better understand your role in your relationship and how your communication style might be creating problems.
If you’re struggling with communication barriers in your relationship, feel free to contact me to get more information about individual therapy. Together, we can get to the root of your issues and help you to become a better communicator and listener so your relationship can continue to get stronger.