Communication Missteps

Miscommunication can be one of the most painful and destructive things in a relationship. Everyone has a language to express their affection and attraction to their partner, but these languages are not always in-synch. If relationships don’t find a common vernacular that feels sincere and authentic for both partners, it’s easy to fall into two traps: Either a person can feel doubt and anxiety because they are missing their partner’s cues, or one can be made to feel insincere – like they’re adhering to a script – if they are just repeating their partner’s prompts.

In my experience, women tend to raise the flag first about how their men communicate: they want to hear the right thing, unprompted. This has bewildered men, who can’t understand why they are getting in trouble for things they haven’t done, for ages. Conversely, if a guy is fed a script of what to say, his own emotional expression is muted, and perhaps the only thing worse than doubting how your partner feels about you is doubting your own feelings to them when you can’t express yourself.

If you feel like your relationship’s communication scale has teetered to one of these unhealthy extremes, here’s how to find a balance.

DO: Bring it up with your partner. Express that you think you’re miscommunicating in regards to your attraction, affection, etc. for one another. Tell them that you want to learn how to better listen and speak to each other so that your feelings are more clear.

DON’T: Rush to conclusions like “You don’t care about me enough!” or “I don’t think my feelings for you are sincere.” These feelings may only be the fault of your lapses in communication.

DO: Ask each other what your emotional languages are. Balance isn’t just saying the right thing – it’s learning to hear the right thing that’s already being said, too.

DON’T: Give your partner lines, phrases or even the right words to say. These will feel too false, too soon.

DO: Stick to categories. Instead of saying, “Why don’t you tell me I’m hot?” say “It really makes me feel good when you tell me about your physical attractions to me, how you fantasize about me.” Instead of saying, “I want you to tell me you miss me so much on the phone,” say “I’d like you to express how you think and feel about me when we’re apart. Knowing I’m on your mind is really special for me to hear.”

DO: After this conversation, make sure to reinforce positive communication when it happens. “You know, that thing you whispered to me at dinner made me feel really special,” will go a long way,

Remember, the key to adjusting miscommunication comes from listening as much as speaking. You need to train yourself to listen to your partner, demonstrate to them how you like to be spoken to, and reinforce positive communications when they happen. Be careful not to be accusatory, and don’t give you partner prompts for what to say – it will feel insincere to both of you. Be patient, because synchronicity won’t happen overnight, but if your relationship is worth the work you’ll be happily speaking clearly before you know it.

25 thoughts on “Communication Missteps

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  13. Chris

    Saying things the right way will not always help, but I agree that you should try. I’m in a relationship now that has lasted for about a year. He’s a wonderful man, and good to my children. We have a communication barrier at times, and it is becomming a real problem. I feel like he needs to make more time for me if he’s really committed to our relationship. He says that I am trying to tie him to my hip 24/7. He says that he would rather be with me than anywhere else and that he’s never been as happy with anyone as he is with me. We’ll make plans together, but then he cancels them because his mother needs him to mow the lawn that day, for example. We have talked of moving in together for the last 6 months. He still hasn’t told his mother anything about our plans, and that is really upsetting to me. But when I told him how I felt, he said that he just doesn’t know how to explain it to her because he’s worried about her reaction. (She’s lived with him for the last 10 years.) I have told him that I feel like its time for him to take action because so far all what he tells me sounds great, but I need him to back his words up. What do you think?

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  15. Tina

    If there is no meaningful communication in a relationship it will not work out…It really is the single most important thing. Women especially need that to feel connected in a relationship. I would have to guess there are other red flags if he is not willing to communicate especially on very important issues.

  16. christie

    Gina Rose

    What do you think about men who never have time to have a conversation with their partners they can’t even discuss important matters?

  17. Brett James Cunningham

    What do you do when it seems like the person you love only wants to make you feel bad for who you are? You’re communicating, but your position only seems like you’re always defending yourself. First I think you should realize that that person ONLY wants the BEST for you, then you should discuss your communication skills or just learn to look past it to the truth and that is that this person LOVES me or they wouldn’t take the time to care in the first place. The opposite of love is not hate, it is a complete disregard for someone. If you have enough emotions wrapped up in something or someone to hate it, you obviously care about it\them enough to want things to be better. I pray that this is also helpful in one’s self discovery and relationship skills.I love to share what I’ve learned and what I think has made a difference in my being and outlook on life. Only the best.

  18. Brett James Cunningham

    Concistantly take your OWN personal inventory, NOT anybody elses, especially the one you love. LISTENING is 1,000 times more important than constantly trying to get your point across. Telling others how wrong they are, well, think how it makes YOU feel. When two people REALLY want to work to be together, you’ll realize and want to put forth the effort to be happy together, and if one of you isn’t happy, you’ll help the other one by LISTENING to them now won’t you. Lot’s of love, may you find the one that melts your heart.

  19. Kelly

    Thank you Gina Rose! I had a feeling that was what I should do, it is just sometimes difficult to be patient.

  20. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Kelly,
    Do not try to pry info out of him….let him express his feelings when the timing fits for him.
    Be patient….do not pry.
    Thank you for the feedback by the way.
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

  21. Kelly

    This is a great article, and coincidently really helped me with an issue that I ran into tonight! I have been dating someone for a couple of months now, and things have been going pretty slow, which is ok. I recently have been getting the urge to try to get more information out of him about how he feels about me, but a part of me also feels that it is still too soon, and I should just let him express how he feels when he feels he is ready. Am I right on this assessment? I spoke to Gina Rose about him over the summer, and everything she has said has come true, but now I feel like I am in a important time in a relationship in regards to communication, and I am having a bit of difficult time figuring out what to do. I don’t know if it is my fear of him not answering my questions the way I would hope that he does, or are my intuitions correct in feeling as if it is still not time to say anything. Any help would be much appreciated!
    Thank you!

  22. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi….this is a great article….and a funny one as well…..because men & women definitely do not think alike.
    I’m adding just one more thing…..TIMING.
    Ladies….know how to pick the right time to have these little talks….
    Do not approach your partner as soon as they walk thru your door.
    Do not bring up a delicate topic via the phone, internet, or texting, or IM’s….this can only add to more misunderstandings sometimes.
    Try to have these little talks in person. IF it must be discussed on the phone, try to chose a time when you think the other person will be in a relaxed mood…..( his lunch break at work is generally not a good time either).
    Do not approach a delicate topic when your guy is busy watching a sports event, or trying to work on something in the garage perhaps.( Men find that just plain annoying). You want his full attention.
    KNOW HOW to approach a topic…. I would lead with a question….
    For example : What do you think makes a good relationship ?
    THEN, gently add your input to his.
    *****Engage him in a playful, even sexy manner….throw a question at him as you are tickling him. ( if he is ticklish). You don’t want these talks regarded as a ” chore” like taking out the garbage, or waxing the car.
    AND ABOVE ALL….keep these talks brief, do not be long-winded…..otherwise men overdose on too much of this and tune you out!
    Sometimes a set time works…..kind of like a weekly meeting.
    You know, my GrandParents & Great Aunt raised me…they survived the Great Depression together….my GrandParents had a pre-set time for these discussions… every friday(payday) night,for about an hour, they would both sit down at the kitchen table after dinner, and discuss issues such as finance, etc.
    Sometimes they would get a bit loud
    in ” discussion “…but when they got up from that table,they were still partners
    and ” had each other’s back”.
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500
    PS….I think any input the guys out there can add would be most helpful.


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