It’s not a good feeling when you know you and your partner are out of touch, but it’s even worse when you can’t even recognise it. Communication, in all its forms, is the fundamental bedrock of any healthy relationship, and we have prepared 15 signs that let you know your relationship needs more of it.
1. You’re Talking A Lot Less To Each Other Than Before
This is obvious. You’ve gone from staying up late and talking on the phone or continually texting, to going almost a whole day (possibly more) without talking. But just talking isn’t the full part of communication – If you’re just jabbering away at each other, you may not even be heard. It’s effortless to tune each other out and just make listening noises. Set times where you both know this is when we let each other into our daily lives and thoughts. Asking questions like ‘is this a good time to talk’ rather than just unleashing on your partner can go a long way.
2. You Assume Your S.O Doesn’t Listen, So You Don’t Bother Talking Anymore
Sure, trying to tell someone about your long day who doesn’t seem engaged or care can be frustrating…but if your instinct is to close off rather than call out your partner for not listening, that’s just as bad. Communication is a two-way street and if you feel you’re not getting through, you need to make it known. Sometimes your partner’s day was just as bad, or maybe they actually need to work on their listening skills. Don’t assume they don’t care, find out for yourself.
3. You Assume You Know How The Other Person Feels
Ever had that friend that asked “how do I make my partner happy?” or says something like “I just wish they would open up to me.” These are clear signs that there is communication lacking in the relationship. These are the type of questions that should be going directly to your partner.
4. You’re Scared Of Bringing Up A Topic That Could Lead To Fighting
This is a dangerous place to be in. There is a time and place for all conversations, and there’s no point in rubbing salt in wounds by bringing up a touchy subject on an already bad day. But if you fear retaliation from your partner regarding anything, then that’s even more indication that you must address that situation. Find a comfortable environment, open the option of having a mediator or counsellor and definitely do not avoid the topic.
5. One Or Both Of You Are Passive Aggressive
If you’re both passive aggressive (sincerest condolences) then this is a behaviour you’ll need to work through together. Saying what you mean is just as important as actually saying something at all. If your partner asks you what’s wrong, tell them. If your partner deflects from your questions, then call them out. There is a way around passive aggressive partners, and it requires a whole lot of communication.
6. You Often Feel Alone
Even when you’re with your partner, it can feel like you’re alone if there isn’t good communication within the relationship. If you haven’t noticed by now – the easiest fix to any relationship issue will and should start with dialogue. Your partner may not even see that you’ve been feeling this way. They could also feel the same way.
7. You Confide In Others More Than Your S.O
This is almost make or break territory. Yep, we’ve all been there and done it, whether we just need someone to listen (again) or are avoiding going straight to the source (or significant other) or both. Still, while it may be easier to talk to your close friend, they are YOUR friend. They can be biased and they’re not your partner. They don’t understand where the other person is coming from and you may not be helping the situation with your partner. This is a ring-dinger sign you need to communicate MORE with your partner.
8. Sex Disappears
This is one of the first things to go when communication is lacking in a relationship. If you’re having trouble with sex, either you’re dissatisfied and don’t get enough, you feel your partner wants too much, or the sex is fading out of your relationship, it’s a sign that your communication has problems. Sex is just a physical form of communication.
9. Not Asking Unique Questions
Sometimes just a simple ‘how was your day,’ can mean so much. But if that’s all you’re asking, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s not enough to just ask the question when communicating. There’s a need to be intrigued and interest also. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with the above question. But, if repeated frequently, it lacks sincerity and shows a lack of effort. Many couples go through the motions of social platitudes because they don’t know what else to say, but this kind of filler talk can be surprisingly devastating.
10. Not Listening
When you hear the word “communication,” do you imagine someone speaking or silently listening? Most of us would imagine speaking, but the key to communication is in understanding the other person. When both people seek to understand the other person, communication just works better. When both people are focused on communicating their own thoughts, who is there to listen?
11. Not Empathising
Empathising is another critical component of relational communication. Empathy is understanding and joining in your partner’s emotional state. And think about how important that is: if you don’t show compassion, they will feel alone in their hardships. Many people, myself included, often jump into advice mode too quickly. But when people share their problems, they usually don’t need advice; they need emotional support.
12. Not Sharing Your Goals, Ambitions, Fears And Regrets
These are all critical factors of your life, and you should feel comfortable with communicating your life with your partner. Sometimes partners can hold back on sharing in fear of being judged or looked at differently. You need to tell that to your partner, they’ll more than likely surprise you with how compassionate and caring they are. But you need to open up first.
13. Being Able To Admit Mistakes And To Talk About Them
Everyone messes up from time to time. Learning to understand and let go of mistakes that you or your partner make will turn your life around. Learning to talk about it with your partner will help you to grow and give you more time for joy.
14. You’re Not Telling Your S.O When You’re Upset
Your partner can’t read your mind, so it’s possible that you didn’t communicate the fact that you were upset. As far as bringing it up, you should never feel silenced in your own relationship. Not being able to talk about a particular thing is a huge red flag that the relationship is heading nowhere. Your emotions matter and the problem will never be fixed if you refuse to speak up about it.
15. Your S.O Can’t Remember Important Details About Your Life
If you’ve been dating for longer than six months, your partner should know what you do for a living — even if they don’t totally grasp what it entails. Sometimes we all have slip-ups and brain fogs, but if these things keep happening, just realise that your significant other is tuning you out. Figure out why, and how to communicate more effectively, since this will definitely lead to a fight somewhere down the line.