If You Notice These 5 Habits In Your Relationship, Your Communication Skills Need Serious Work

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Are you having issues with your partner not understanding you? Well, there might be several ways in which you are unclear. And you probably don't realize that your communication skills are the reasons for these misunderstandings.

Healthy relationships involve going through the journey of clear and open interpersonal communication, but you can't do this if you or your partner have very specific habits that are damaging your communication.

Here are 5 relationships habits that mean your communication skills need work:

1. You assume your partner understands you or knows what you want.

Assumptions are the killer of honest communication that lead to unhealthy relationships. Why? Because they are usually in your head and not spoken out loud. How often do you assume your partner understands what you’re talking about? Probably a lot.



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You don’t openly say or ask the question, "I’m assuming you understand what I’m talking about," and yet that’s what’s going on in your mind. Or perhaps you think they know what you’re going to say. How often do you do that?

And then there’s assuming they know what you want, without you openly expressing it. This is the perfect scenario for you to be the victimized one when they don’t deliver what you want.

Assumptions and not speaking them out aloud are some of the top barriers to communication, creating confusion in your relationship and potentially leading to a large disconnect between you and your partner. You feel unloved and not understood. Your partner feels confused; they don't understand what it was they didn't do or say.

Assuming your partner can read your mind and knows what you want without speaking it causes feelings of rejection or being unloved, and yet it’s you who are creating this, by not communicating what you want. You can't expect your partner to know what you want at all times — that's a standard not even the best partner can achieve.

How to change this habit: The first thing you need to do is to notice that you have an assumption. The second thing is to speak it out loud. If you put your assumption out there, your partner can deny or concur with you.

If you have a want, be clear about it. For example, "I want you to buy me chocolate on your way home." Simple, clear, and no beating around the bush. It’s better than assuming he would.

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2. You have many unspoken expectations.

The other big killer in communication skills is expectations.

We expect him to take out the garbage every Thursday night. We expect him to clean up after himself in the kitchen when he makes himself a drink. We expect her to take the laundry to the dry cleaners. And yet, how often are we clear and say that this is what we want? Not as often as we could.

Again, these conversations usually go on in our heads and not out loud to our partners. We think them, assuming that our partner will just know our expectations based on the relationship and our unique personalities. But that's not the case.



We also have more emotional expectations. We expect him to hug us when we’re down. We expect her to be understanding when we come home from work after a busy day.

Unspoken expectations leave us feeling unloved, uncared for, and, sometimes, very alone, which is why communication is relationships is vital. You may also find that when you have an expectation that isn’t met, you turn inward and are less communicative than usual.

How to change this habit: Try to learn how to communicate better and realize that you have an expectation that you aren’t speaking out loud. Then, speak it out loud. Be aware that your partner might tell you they aren’t able to meet your expectations and notice your reaction to that.

The best response is to be totally okay when they tell you they can’t meet your expectations. You might not be able to go there and that’s okay.

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3. You don't honestly speak what you want out loud.

You probably don't — not always, anyway. So, what’s stopping you? Do you have some story running that you can’t have what you want? Or perhaps it comes down to the fact that you aren’t clear on what you want.

Believing you can’t have what you want is common among women and, possibly, men, too. It stems from your childhood where you didn’t get what you wanted so you then believed that you could never have what you wanted.

And if you believed this for long enough, that turns into you shutting down your wanting. If I ask you now what you want, you can’t tell me.

Not speaking what you want, out loud in an open and honest way, impacts your relationship by having you feel undeserving, and that your partner gets and does more of what they want. You may be jealous of them because they are clear about their wants and go after them; meanwhile, you are stuck inside your head, seething over how they didn't give you what you need.



Maybe there are times when you do ask for what you want and your partner wants something different, so you always lose out. Not speaking what you want out loud can cause a lot of tension and conflict within your relationship. And that can eventually lead to a breakup down the line.

How to change this habit: Take the time to be clear about what you want. This may not be easy at first if you have the ingrained idea that you can’t have what you want. Say to yourself, "What if I could have what I want? What would that be?"

Be open to speaking what you want out loud. And then consider what it might mean for you and your partner to go your separate ways, so you do what you want and he does what he wants. That’s okay and healthy for your relationship.

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4. You aren't able to say, 'No, that doesn't work for me'.

Saying "no" isn’t an easy thing for a few different reasons. You might think that if you say no, you are going to hurt your partner's feelings, so you say "yes" instead but then you regret it.

You may have been told that it's not okay to say "no" that stemmed from your childhood and upbringing. It's not a bad thing but it's something you need to notice. Or, maybe you're needy, which is why you can't or won't say "no."

You need to be with your partner. You need them to do what you want, so you do what they want, believing that if you reciprocate, it means they’ll do anything with you and for you. And yet, deep down you might feel slighted, unhappy, walked over, and unable to have what you want. You might think that you never get what you want because you can’t say "no".



How to change this habit: Notice when you're saying "yes" when you actually want to say "no." Question yourself as to why you think you can’t say "no." Dig deep here, focusing on past events that may have contributed to your inability to say "no."

Then, practice saying, "No, that doesn’t work for me" and see what happens. It’s not easy to use these words initially, because you most likely want to justify why it doesn’t work for you. And it’s a start.

This is about learning to be clearer in your communication in baby steps. While it may take some time to get to this step, the good news is that you are actively trying and are putting effort into improving your relationship.

5. You don't notice how unclear you are.

Yes, this is an obvious sort of thing. Yet, it's not always easy to do.

We are used to not listening to ourselves — we don't listen to what we say or what we don't say. There's a voice inside our head that may be telling us we don't need or want a certain thing, and we convince ourselves that our desires don't matter.



If you communicate and don’t get the response you are expecting, this might be the perfect trigger to notice what you just said.

How to change this habit: Notice if you had an expectation that you didn’t voice or an assumption you’d made and didn’t put out there. Notice if you were saying "yes" when, inside, you were screaming, "no!"

The clearer you are in your communication, the stronger your relationship will be and the closer you and your partner will feel to one another — emotionally and physically. What you must do, though, is undo patterned behavior that may be subconscious from your childhood. And that all starts with taking the proper steps.

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Karen Cherrett is a relationship coach, life coach, and holistic counselor who works with individuals to be clearer in their communication.