If only relationships were as easy as they seem to be in the movies. Thanks to Hollywood, you think that your problems end when you finally admit your feelings to that cute new guy in your life. You share a longing look, a great goodnight kiss, and there you go. Things are perfect.
Unfortunately, life isn’t exactly like that. Actually, it’s pretty much the furthest thing, and tons of couples struggle to communicate with each other.
You know this is true if you’ve ever struggled to talk to your boyfriend about anything important, no matter how much you two care about each other. But since communication is the most important part of any relationship, you know it’s the key to long-term success.
If you want to learn how to communicate in a relationship and improve your bond, then read on.
1) Don’t accuse
If you want your boyfriend to respond to you in a normal way (aka you don’t want him to get super mad and give you the silent treatment if that’s his usual deal), then you can’t ever accuse him of anything.
Explain what you’re concerned about and what the issue is. Use plain language and say things like “I feel” instead of “You did this” or “You’re being unfair.”
After all, if the situation was reversed and he talked to you about what you were doing wrong, you wouldn’t want to hear it, right? It’s all about the delivery.
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2) Take responsibility
The truth is that it takes two to tango, to make a relationship work or fall apart, and to have a love story that lasts beyond your wildest dreams.
It’s best to take responsibility for your own failings in the relationship. Since literally, no one is perfect, that means you’re not either, so you definitely have at least one thing to own up to.
Talk to your boyfriend and say that you know you’re too quick to get mad at him, whether it’s about dividing up the chores and who’s going to cook dinner if you two live together.
Or maybe it’s about spending more time together if you’re not at the cohabitation stage yet. Own your mistakes and say that you get that you didn’t respond in the best way and you understand that he gets frustrated with you sometimes.
If you can be honest about this, your boyfriend will be much more willing to listen to your concerns and complaints. And he might just own up to his own stuff, too, and you’ll get the apology that you’re looking for.
3) Make change happen
On that note, make sure that you’re not just talking to your boyfriend about any relationship problems so you can kiss and make up and sweep everything back under the rug. That’s not going to be the best idea.
If you actually want to make it work with this guy (and you probably do), then you need to make change happen. You need to tell him that unless the two of you make a real effort to fix what’s wrong, things are going to fall apart and fast.
He might not have any idea that anything is less than perfect because maybe you’ve been stewing about this on your own for way too long. Or maybe he gets it but he’s been too scared to change things.
Remember that the happiest long-term couples didn’t get that way by being 100 perfect and never struggling with anything. They worked through their issues and cared enough about each other to fix them. If you can change your habits and he can too, you’ll see success.
4) Be patient with yourself and him
The truth is that talking about negative emotions and relationship problems isn’t fun. In fact, it’s probably the exact opposite of that. And no matter how much you love your boyfriend, you might be harboring a ton of resentment and other bad feelings. It’s going to take a while to get over that, especially if you’ve had problems for a while.
And you know what? That’s totally and completely fine.
Don’t expect change to happen overnight. Be patient with yourself… and be patient with your lovely boyfriend, too. Tell him that you’re going to commit to this relationship and you are willing to go the distance, even if things don’t get better ASAP.
5) Don’t be afraid to fight
A lot of couples are under the impression that they’re never going to fight. They think that arguing means something is wrong and that they can’t fix anything – they would have to break up if they admitted that something was wrong.
That is so untrue. Don’t be like those people.
Don’t be afraid to fight. It just might be the best thing for your relationship. There’s one condition, though: fight fair and fight smart.
Always explain in super clear words what’s bothering you and bring a solution along with that explanation. You can’t exactly complain about something that your boyfriend is doing if you don’t give him an alternative way of behaving.
For example, if you live together and you’re tired of cleaning and cooking every single night of the week, ask him if there’s a task he doesn’t mind doing (like laundry). And the two of you can create a date night out of cooking dinner on a regular basis.
See? Problem solved.
6) Always get his side
Sometimes it’s pretty easy to create entire problems in your head without even realizing what’s truly going on. Maybe you’re jumping to conclusions or getting upset about something that doesn’t even matter.
When you’re upset, ask your boyfriend how he feels. Always get his side and figure out if there’s even a reason to feel this way. You never know – he could say that you’re being a bit crazy and that it’s just a tiny misunderstanding.
If it’s not and something really is wrong between the two of you, then at least getting his perspective will help you both fix things and get back on track.
7) Don’t apologize for your feelings
If you’re upset with your boyfriend because you see echoes of your exes or guys that you’ve dated in the past, or you’re a bit insecure about falling in love, you might be tempted to apologize for your feelings. This is pretty normal, especially if your BF tells you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
But if you truly want to communicate well, never apologize for your feelings. That’s not going to get you anywhere or move you in a positive direction. Even if you’re just letting your emotions just the best of you, you do have a right to those emotions, and you shouldn’t let him tell you otherwise.
After all, he wants you to validate his own thoughts and feelings, right?
8) Build a better future
You’re bringing your fighting and communicate styles with you to every new relationship that you enter. Your boyfriend is doing the same thing. Remember that and build a better future for the two of you by changing the way that you have always done things.
For example, if you and your most recent ex would always give each other the silent treatment before finally forgive each other and moving on, you might be tempted to bring that behavior into your current relationship. But don’t do it. It didn’t work back then and it definitely won’t work now.
You owe it to yourself and your new guy to make your communication as awesome as possible. And that means starting fresh and actually talking to each other about the things that matter to the two of you and not just fighting the way you always have.
If this guy is your romantic future, then you’re going to have to figure out how to handle adversity and the ups and downs of life sooner rather than later.
After all, you’re both going to struggle a whole lot more as time goes on. So be kind to each other and understand where the other person is coming from. Build a better future for the two of you by learning how to communicate better right now.
And once you have that down, you can get through anything. And best of all, you’ll be together.
It’s funny how much we struggle with communication in our relationships considering what an important skill it is. But if you can always be honest about what you’re feeling, stop hiding, and talk to your boyfriend with a game plan in mind, you’re sure to come away from your problems stronger than ever before.
Have you struggled to communicate with your boyfriend? What are your own tips on communication in a relationship? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!