Communication In A Relationship - 9 Tips To Reach Your Man
By: Carlos Cavallo
Any woman who has been in a relationship knows that communication is one of the most important things. In fact, if you don't have communication in a relationship, you don't really have a relationship.
But how do you communicate with guys? Men can seem so difficult to talk to.
The funny thing is, to men, women seem difficult to communicate with. Each gender sees the other as hard to talk to.
How do you communicate and get him to understand you?
How do you get your needs met?
When you know how to communicate with a guy, you will not only be able to make your relationship as strong and loving as you want, you will also find that you can get all your needs met. And then some.
Remember: Miscommunication creates distrust and disconnection.
Which is why it is so important to work on your communication as much as possible with your partner. It's not just a cliché, it's the most important truth of relationships.
Why is communication in a relationship so important?
This may qualify as one of the most obvious questions, but you still might not know the answer to it.
Just a short list of some of the problems you can have if you don't have good communication:
More fights and arguments
Less physical intimacy
More feelings of separation and anxiety
More feelings of emotional disconnection
More heartache and insecurity
More breakups and short relationships
In fact, if your communication is not where it needs to be with your peers, you could also experience a lot of health issues. Communication is so important to your success in life that you should probably be working on it almost every single day of your life.
What is Communication In A Relationship?
Well, my definition of communication is:
COMMUNICATION: The simple skill of expressing your ideas to another person, and having that person understand your message - and you.
Mind you, "simple" does not mean easy. In fact many people find communication one of the most challenging things in a relationship.
Let's talk about a few of the -
Common Communication Problems
As you may have realized, no one ever sat you down and taught you how to be an amazing communicator. You have to want to learn this skill.
But when you do gain the skill of communicating with a guy on his level, there's nothing else like it in the world. Your relationship will run on autopilot. (Well, mostly.)
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 1: Not communicating
This may sound like an obvious observation, but in truth most people tend to avoid communicating as much as they can. Especially around difficult or uncomfortable topics.
Unfortunately, most relationships need to have a lot of conversation about uncomfortable topics. There's no escaping it.
And if you happen to have a relationship with a guy who is already closed off with regard to his emotions, you may find it even more difficult.
One word of warning here: Be careful about expecting your man to be as emotionally communicative as you. It's just not going to happen.
And if it did, you would probably get tired of it really quick.
Just because men don't communicate as frequently about their emotions doesn't mean they are “emotionally shut down.” Or emotionally broken.
Yes, some men don't have any real connection to their emotional intelligence. But these days, many do.
Men and women have different brains. Contrary to what the media would like to have us believe sometimes, men and women are simply different in many respects.
So, compared to a woman, a man is always going to seem emotionally shut down. Even if he's perfectly fine.
Beware using female standards to evaluate men. It will never help you.
And very often, it will mislead you.
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 2: Expecting him to read your mind
This one is very specific to relationships. But it's a well-known joke that women often expect a man to pick up on her emotional state - without her explaining it.
We've all been guilty of this one...
Here's where the conflict gets really juicy.
If you expect a man to read your mind, you know what you're going to get.
He doesn't want to read your mind because he's already afraid of making a mistake when you're in a bad emotional state.
So he will just stay quiet. It's safer for him. And I think you probably know he's right.
You may want him to pick up on your emotions and “get you” - but not only is this unrealistic, it will probably drive most men away.
Many times a woman will resist expressing her emotions to a man because she is also afraid of scaring him off. The key here is to find ways to explain your emotional state to him that make him feel like he is not the one to blame.
Yes, even if he is the one to blame.
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 3: Worrying about going deep
Many people in a relationship worry about talking about the Deep Stuff. The heavy emotions.
They’re worried that talking about them more will just make those problems worse.
Working through the most challenging topics can strengthen your relationship.
In reality, the reason they are afraid of talking about the Deep Stuff is that they don't ever do it enough to build up some confidence.
And the couples that know how to talk about the Deep Stuff actually do much better. They have fewer arguments and have much more connection than other couples.
And the more you learn how to work through the tough stuff, the more confidence you get. It's a feedback cycle that makes your relationship win.
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 4: Needing to be right
This one often comes up when you feel misunderstood. And you feel misunderstood because you're not communicating that much along the way.
It also comes up when you’re not feeling heard.
Because you try to communicate to him, you don't feel like you get your point across, and then his behavior doesn't change. So you feel stuck and frustrated.
Whatever the reason, we have to let go of the need to be right when we communicate in difficult conversations. As the saying goes, we have to be able to see things from the other person's perspective.
Or as Stephen Covey once said: “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 5: Defensiveness
Why do we get defensive? Because we don't want to be wrong.
Or we over invest ourselves and our feelings in things that don't really matter.
Putting up walls...?
But when we become defensive, we have let that issue of being invulnerable overtake are feelings of love for the other person.
So yes, it becomes an issue of being emotionally available for the other person. Which can be really hard to do when you feel like you're being attacked.
A really good exercise is to journal the communications you have with your man so that you notice the patterns.
Notice when you're becoming defensive.
Notice when you feel attacked.
Notice how your own emotions speak up and sometimes sabotage your communication.
The best way to bring down the defensiveness is To stop needing to win.
In fact, one of the worst things you can do is to try to communicate to get the other person to agree with you. Agreement isn't necessary. You won't always see eye-to-eye. But you should be able to understand the other person at a minimum.
That's THE goal: understanding. Don't let anything else and get in the way of that.
COMMUNICATION PROBLEM 6: Shut Down
This problem can happen with both men and women, but it happens much sooner and noticeably with men.
When a man is forced to communicate about emotions for too long, he will eventually become flooded. This means that he is overwhelmed by the emotional content.
Keep it short - to keep his attention.
If you've ever noticed that your emotional conversations go on for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, it's very likely that you've flooded him.
And he will eventually just shut down.
He will stop talking and just go blank. And this will probably frustrate you even more.
There will come a point in your conversation where he just stops communicating and starts to want to escape.
The secret to avoiding this is very simple - stop the discussion and take a break after 15 minutes. And every 15 minutes thereafter.
If your emotional conversation goes on for longer than an hour, it's very unlikely that you will reach him.
Yes, you want to resolve the situation - but some of the more intense conversations need to be broken up. You may even have to create a smaller goal with your conversation.
Instead of talking about his lack of attention, just focus on one obvious example.
You'll get much more success this way than any other way talking to a man.
Let's dig into the real communication skills you have to develop now.
Communication Tip #1: Focus On Improvement
No one goes from Zero to Hero with their communication overnight. It's unrealistic to expect this.
So what you have to do is focus on getting a little bit better every day. With this as your goal, you will have massive improvement in no time.
Just focusing on 1% improvement per day would mean that your relationship would get 100% better in just three months or so.
Now imagine what kind of love connection you would have after a year or two of improving and you have an understanding of the importance.
Communication Tip #2: Notice Your Communication Landmines
We all have certain areas of communication that trigger us more than others.
If you know what these "landmines" are, why not stop yourself from losing control when they show up?
Nothing destroys communication faster than this...
Instead of blowing yourself up in an argument, be on the lookout for when you start to react from fear or jealousy or insecurity or any other negative emotion. These areas where you're activated and lose emotional control can cause the most harm in a relationship.
Notice whenever you feel the most emotional REACTION instead of rational thinking when you're communicating. This will point you toward your sensitive zones.
And if you know these already, why not share them with your guy so he is aware and can help manage them in your communication.
Communication Tip #3: Understand Him
If I were to tell you one thing that would make the most significant change in the quality of your relationship, it would probably be to focus on understanding HIM first.
When you understand how men think in general - and then how he thinks - you're going to be miles ahead of any other woman at keeping his love.
The more he feels like you get him and understand him, the more he's going to devote himself to you.
And when he feels understood, watch out! That's when he will surprise you by making a long-term commitment to you.
It doesn't take much to understand him, but you do have to be willing to do ONE very important thing. If you don't do this thing, you may never get that solid CONNECTION with him that you want.
I'm going to reveal that ONE THING in just a moment…
Communication Tip #4: Just Ask Him
Just start asking him some questions:
"What things cause conflict between us?"
"Do you feel heard by me?"
"What things cause you disappointment and pain in our relationship?"
"What things make you feel happy and connected to me?"
"What things don’t you want to talk about with me? What stops you talking about them?"
"How would you like us to communicate differently?"
These questions will unlock the doors of communication with him.
Give him the space to express himself without judgment. And you'll be amazed at what he reveals to you.
Just take a moment and think about when the last time was you asked him a sincere question about his experience, and spent at least 5 minutes listening to what he had to say.
Don't feel bad, most women don't ever do this. Even when they feel like they're giving him their sincere interest, what they discover is that they were actually waiting to tell him their own experience.
If you knew how rare it is for men to be asked questions and listened to, you would be absolutely amazed. Your girlfriend's may give you this kind of listening, but men almost NEVER experience it.
Communication Tip #5: If you're stuck, get some help
Seek help when communication stalls...
Sometimes your communication patterns get so deep that you can't get out of them. And if you noticed this pattern coming up where you just can't stop getting into arguments, you may need some form of mediation.
Both of you should seek a good relationship counselor or therapist and start to work on your communication issues.
If you can't break free of your dysfunctional patterns, they can eventually destroy your relationship.
Communication Tip #6: Find out what his Code is
In my Connection Code program, I explain all the details of the different communication types men have. There isn't enough space here to explain it all, but suffice to say that men do fall into distinctly different communication types.
If you don't know what those types are, it's very easy to misunderstand him or misread him.
At the very least, you should explore your communication styles.
If you're the kind of person that has a hard time with criticism, for example, then you want your partner to know this. So he will know he has to be careful about expressing criticism.
Simply explaining these differences in communication upfront solves countless problems later on.
As a quick experiment, ask your man what his top three needs are in your relationship the next time you talk to him. Then get your pencil out and start taking notes.
(And yes - you have the right to tell him about your three needs - AFTERWARDS.)
Communication Tip #7: Be PRESENT with him
Look, we live a life of near constant distraction. We're connecting with other people less and less every day.
If there's one thing we have to start working on it's the level of connection we have with each other.
Yeah, you need to put your phone away. And he does, too.
There are many other distractions in a relationship that stop us from being fully present with our partner. But the number one enemy is this constant need to be on your phone.
Trust me that everything you think you're getting from that phone you can get 10 times better from the connection with your partner.
Spend the time to be truly present with him and connect like we did before we had “Netflix and chill.”
Communication Tip #8: Add a little more Shhhhh...
Some of the most connecting moments between two people are when they are not saying anything. In fact a LOT of communication happens without talking at all. Most in fact.
Spending quiet times with your man in your relationship can be very rewarding.
You might notice thoughts that come up out of the blue. You may find yourself worrying about the silence, even.
But ultimately, you have to embrace the quiet to find out what's really going in in your relationship.
Communication Tip #9: Make him SAFE
Be his safe haven... He'll open up to you.
If you read any of my articles or grabbed any of my programs, you may know how important this particular concept is.
But in case you haven't, let me remind you:
There's nothing more important to communicating in a relationship than your man feeling safe with you.
What is "safe?"
Not feeling like you're going to berate him
Not feeling like he's going to be shut out from physical intimacy
Not feeling like you're going to judge him
Not feeling like you're going to stop respecting him
Never ever belittling him as a man - emasculating him
There are more nuances and details to it than this, but this is the bulk of it.
When a man feel safe in a relationship, he will stay with you forever.
Some quick tips for communication with a man:
NEVER use the silent treatment.
This is one of the worst ways to handle communication. When you purposely shut down to manipulate, you can only expect him to pull away from you.
Don’t jump to conclusions.
Find out all the facts. The more you know about his truth, the faster you will get to the solution.
Discuss the event, not the man.
Don’t fall into judgement. Stay as emotionally detached as you can. Because the second you react from your emotions, you run the risk of scaring him off. The more he feels like he's safe with you, the better.
Stay out of the past.
Talk using the future and present tense, not the past tense.discuss only those problems which are most immediate. If you go back on an Evidence Collecting Mission into the past, you will both lose. Talk about everything in terms of fixing the future.
Concentrate on your problem, and don’t get distracted by other minor issues.
Inevitably you're both going to bring up some bitter words on occasion. If you start reacting to them in the middle of discussing the bigger topics, you'll lose focus on the communication.
Use ‘I feel’ statements, not ‘You are’ statements.
I get it. It's a very common trap, but you have to avoid it. If you start labeling him in the middle of a conversation, he's going to start shutting down. And you are likely to as well. Or the both of you will just get more and more emotional.
The only thing you can ever talk about is your feelings. Because both of you feel like you know the Truth.
The Most Important Communication Skill In A Relationship
The most important communication skill in a relationship is also the easiest. In fact it's probably the one that you never really thought about very much.
He just wants to be understood...
In fact, most women never realize how easy communication is once you master this simple trick.
By now, you might be wondering what it is. Well, I won't keep you in suspense any longer.
But when you hear it, you might not realize just how important it really is.
The most important communication skill you can have in your relationship is…
Not just any listening mind you.
This is the kind of listening that a woman gives when she understands a man and his experience.
And I'll tell you right now that 95% of women don't really understand what a man's experience is. (Yes, 95% of men also struggle understanding women. But it's far easier for you to get educated than it is to change all other men.)
In order to listen to him and hear what he has to say, you've also got to know what he is actually talking about.
Let's face it, men don't have a very sophisticated emotional vocabulary. Talking about his feelings is pretty foreign to him.
If you're going to reach him, you're going to have to know how to talk to him.
There are some shortcuts to communication in your relationship. The most important one is knowing the password to a man's heart.
Just like logging into a computer or to your social media account, when you know the “password” for your man, he is no longer a mystery to you.
You'll have all the access to his love that you need!
There are words that men will listen to. There are things you can say to him that will open his heart.
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