How To Rebound From A Communication Breakdown

How To Rebound From A Communication Breakdown [EXPERT]

Take out a piece of paper and write down the things you did that seem to be the most problematic for your partner. And, if you truly remember with accuracy, also record what he/she said and did. Try to boil it down to one question or disagreement. For example, with Kent and Teresa, although they have argued about pornography and money, the issue of trust seems to be the common denominator.

It's also important for you to get clear about your own position on this issue(s). Dig in and discover what are you willing to be flexible about and what are you unwilling to be flexible about? Consider the following: If something is non-negotiable for you, will you stay in this relationship or leave it depending on how it is resolved?

2. Sincerely apologize for your share of the breakdown. As clear as it is to you that this communication breakdown is all (or mostly) your partner's fault, we encourage you to back up for just a moment. We respectfully want to point out to you that there would be no breakdown if you didn't play some role in the conflict.

Take responsibility for your share — no more, no less — in whatever led to the disconnection. This probably means apologizing sincerely and from the heart. When you say you're sorry, mean it and be clear about what you are apologizing or taking responsibility for. Your partner might not be as clear about his or her role in what happened. You could choose to share that you felt sad, afraid, angry, betrayed, lied to — or however you felt. Use an "I feel ..." statement.

Do not take it upon yourself to tell your partner what he or she should apologize for. As difficult as it is to be patient, it will mean more if it truly comes from your partner and is not just him or her parroting back what you want to hear.

3. Propose a possible solution and really listen to your partner's response. Ultimately, one priority for you might be to reconnect and start to repair the damage of the communication breakdown. Another priority is probably to be authentic and stay true to what is important to you.

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Keeping in mind both of these priorities, propose a possible solution to the issue that seems to be at the heart of whatever seemed to tear you two apart in the first place. Treat your proposal as a starting-off point for a conversation in which your partner also contributes his/her ideas. Together, create a plan that will help you find a resolution and move closer together again in the process.

Get more communication help in Susie and Otto Collins' free report: "10 Communication Secrets for Creating a Lifetime of Love."