Hindsight is a bigger bitch than I am when I’m PMSing and hungry. Looking back on the past and realizing you’ve made major mistakes in previous relationships can be painful (seriously, ouch), but it’s necessary. Especially if you find that ‘problems’ can be simplified to a singular… problem.
Communication is a key component to a healthy, happy long-term relationship, and it’s something I used to be very, very bad at. In fact, I’ve come to accept that one of the reasons my previous relationships failed so miserably is because of my inability to communicate properly, sometimes at all. I’m happy to report that I’m better at knowing when to talk, how to, and when not to. Here are the tips I’ve used to make communication with my boyfriend less disastrous for both of us:
Don’t make big decisions when you’re angry or very happy.
It’s important to separate your feelings about the argument, from the argument itself. You may realize that your feelings are why you’re fighting. But feelings don’t have to direct how you argue. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was to take a deep breath and call a time-out, especially when I’m very, very angry. Saying things in the heat of the moment will only cause more problems, but putting the pause button on, inhaling, and walking out of the room will clear your mind and make you calmer. How’s that saying go? Something about heads, and prevailing.
Don’t talk about YOU and HIM anymore.
Instead, during conflicts, talk about WE. It takes two to tango, after all. Altering your vocabulary is such an easy way to avoid making your partner defensive, and as a result, offensive. Instead of pointing out his flaws, and saying things like “You complain too much,” – instead, say “I feel like you’re not happy.” Then, it’s not about you or me anymore, it’s about us – and what you can both do to make the situation better. Make sure your vocabulary reflects your commitment to that.
Pick your battles.
I’m confrontational. There is absolutely no doubt about that. I love to argue, and playing Devil’s Advocate is one of my favorite past times. That said, having that attitude all the time is poisonous and can kill a healthy relationship quicker than I kill houseplants. There are things worth arguing over, but because he forgot to put his dirty socks in the hamper isn’t one of them. YOLO, seriously though. Let it go.
SERIOUSLY. I’M NOT YELLING. THIS IS JUST HOW I SPEAK WITH I’M EXCITED. Even if that is true, conflict more often than not happens because of how you say something, not what you said. Keep that in mind, and remember that presentation is just as important as content.
Or try to be anyway. Often it’s easy to just say, “Everything is fine,” when so many things feel like they’re wrong. But fessing up to hurt feelings, confusion, or just plain annoyance can help you avoid mass miscommunication. Which, left unchecked, can cause irreparable damage.
Your boyfriend isn’t a mind reader. And you aren’t, either. Realizing that you have to tell someone what you want, instead of just assuming they know what you want, is hard. But, once you do realize that, it will make your relationship with your significant other, your friends, and even yourself so much better.