When you first meet a man it can feel like you can talk about anything – it seems that finding ways to communicate flow easily.
You feel heard, you feel that he wants to know how you’re feeling and that he wants to understand you and support you. There is a sense of loving and warm adoration… but over time it can feel as though the communication changes…
You may no longer feel as though you’re meeting at the heart. Instead, your relationship more closely resembles a duel… there’s a stand off, there’s a battle of the heart, mind and ego….
It probably comes as no surprise that finding good ways to communicate can make or break a relationship. We all know this, yet too few actually learn ways to communicate better. And even though women are considered better communicators, I’m a woman and there are plenty of women who find expressing themselves a great challenge. Both sexes struggle with healthy, loving and effective communication.
So… yes… it’s important for you and your partner to freely express what you want and how you’re feeling, nevertheless you may wonder why are there times when your man can’t comprehend what you’re saying or he can’t come up with a single response.
Before you accuse him of being completely thoughtless, you must remember that men can take in information differently from women. They’re also far less versed in expressing their emotions so when they feel put on the stop they can clam up.
If you still feel like you’re speaking in a completely different language, here are a few tips to keep you from being lost in translation:
1. Timing matters! There are always times when you’d like to get something off your chest, but your man seems too engrossed in watching the telly. If you start talking and he fails to pay attention, you’ll definitely feel ignored and irritated. In these cases, pick another time to talk to him such as when he’s just lounging. But if this conversation can’t wait, sit beside him and gently say that there’s something you want him to hear. With a soft voice, he’ll strain to hear what you have to say, and would give you his full attention.
2. When it comes to “the talk,” place yourself beside him. “The talk” can refer to any conversation about issues that are important to your relationship such as getting married, finances or moving. Talking face-to-face may seem more effective, but it can make him feel threatened and more defensive. He’ll feel more at ease when he’s beside you as this can make the conversation feel less confrontational. The next time you feel the need to initiate “the talk,” walk beside him, or sit next to him in bed or on the sofa. Another tip is – do not say to a man that “we need to talk”… this puts a man on the back foot and will shut him down before you’ve even started. Try to bring up the topic in a gentle way.
3. Keep it short and concise. Men prefer communication that’s straight to the point, think headlines instead of anecdotes. Taking the long winding road to your conclusion often fails to drive the point home. So using direct statements helps them pay more attention to what you’re saying. For instance, you can start off by saying “I’m feeling upset because…” or “I would really like to tell you something”, or “ There’s something on my mind that I’d love to share with you, it would feel really good to talk about it…”, before you elaborate on the details. A direct opening statement gives them an anchor on what the conversation is about.
4. Use your hands when you ask him to do something. Although men want to be helpful and reliable, sometimes they genuinely forget what you’ve just asked them to do. To help him remember, gently place your hand on his arm as you say please. Instead of seeing it as a command, he’ll see it more as a loving request that he’d be glad to do for you. Men love to be helpful and feel needed, they also love touch, so let him help his damsel in distress.
5. Empathize. Of course it’s natural for you to try and empathize with your man, but it’s also equally important to let him know that you understand where he’s coming from. If you want him to open up to you, try using empathic phrases like “You must be stressed out from working overtime,” or “I can’t imagine how hard it must be to…” When he realizes that you have an understanding of what he’s going through, he’ll feel more comfortable in sharing with you.
6. Lower Your Voice. When someone speaks loudly it can be overpowering and we can switch off. When someone speaks a little softly it makes us pay attention as we need to do so to understand them. I am not saying that you whisper, that would be a little weird, just tone it down a notch or two.
Sometimes our biggest challenge is getting clear about what we really want and value and then finding a way to communicate this clearly and gracefully. Try out these communication tips and see if it gets your man to respond better.
Do you have any tips or stories about better ways to communicate with your man? Please share them with us in the comment section below.
Nadine Piat x