There are few worse things than trying to have a conversation with someone who isn’t paying attention. This is annoying when you’re at a party or meeting, but you can usually blow it off and not take it personally.
It does feel personal, offensive and maybe even like a rejection, when your partner is the one who doesn’t seem to be listening.
When your love is nodding his head blankly while watching tv or is checking his phone as you pour your heart out, it hurts. It feels like he doesn’t care or can’t handle listening to what you have to say.
Either way, you don’t feel heard and this breeds resentment, anger and distance in your relationship.
The belief that your partner will NEVER listen to you or that communication between the two of you will ALWAYS be miserable like this gets stuck in your mind. You then approach future conversations with him with the expectation that he’s not going to listen or that he isn’t interested in what you have to say.
This is also unhealthy for you and your relationship.
Get out of this trap by taking a look at how you communicate with your partner. Sure, his habit of answering texts in the middle of a conversation or zoning out when you speak don’t help, but there are probably some habits you have that prevent connecting communication.
If talking to your guy usually feels like talking to a brick wall, do these things...
1. Check in with yourself first.
Don’t just launch into a litany of what you want him to change or a gripe session about your day. First, get clear with yourself about what you want to say. What is the main point? What do you want to come away from the conversation having expressed or decided? Sort through your raw emotions and get to the heart of what you want to say. This will make it easier for him to understand you and it’s more likely that he’ll actually do so.
2. Check in with him.
Another way to doom a conversation is to barge into the room and immediately start talking. Be considerate! He may have just sat down after a busy day to check sports scores, read the news, or just have a moment of quiet. Simply ask, "Is this a good time for you to talk?" Even if you don’t have something serious or big to say, find out if he is available before launching in. If he’s busy, ask when he’ll be free to focus on you.
3. Use requests, not demands.
We know you feel strongly about what you’ve got to say; we all do! Make sure you’re not putting him on the defensive with demands, criticism and blame. Phrase your words as a request and use "please" and "thank you" too. This establishes a sense of respect and cooperation. Keep Reading...
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