Communication Tips to Reduce Stress in Relationships
Updated: May 24
Stress in a relationship can lead to frustration and resentment. It may leave you feeling sad and alone. You may feel anxious about bring up how you feel when there are frequent arguments and things go unresolved. Often times when problems occur in romantic relationships, or any relationships, there are misunderstandings and problems talking to one another and feeling heard. Open and honest communication, as well as some discussion rules to go by can help people discuss concerns and disagreements in a healthy way and make their relationship closer.
Start by having open and honest conversations about how you feel. Be assertive. Disagreements can lead to anger and yelling -- an aggressive form of communication that puts the other person on defense (which is not what you want). This focuses only on your point of view, in a sense showing your partner that you think your own concerns are the most important. This may lead to the other person yelling back their point of view, putting you both against each other and not hearing each other out. It may also lead to the other person shutting down or being passive, feeling too afraid to bring up their concerns again. They may go along with what their partner says just to keep the peace. After some time of not feeling heard, this leads to resentment. The most effective way to communicate is through being assertive, meaning you respect your partner’s desires as well as your own. An example of this might be “I hear you saying that you want A, and I also want B. Lets see how we can come up with a solution that works for both of us.”
Arguments put each other on defense, attacking the other person and turning it into a situation where one person is right and the other is wrong. This doesn't help the relationship grow. Approach issues as a team, not enemies. Listen to your partner and they will be more likely to listen to you too. This can take some practice. You may want to read between the lines and listen to how the other person is feeling, and let them know you understand that.
Focus on solutions when a problem comes up, not who is right or wrong or who is going to get their way. It’s helpful to compromise when the issue is not a major concern. However, if one partner always sacrifices something or you compromise on something you really value, this will lead to resentment and disconnect. Look for win-win solutions where both partners are happy. It takes practice too, but if you shift your mindset into how can we both be happy and what can we agree on, this leads to overall happiness and relationship growth.
If you or your partner get defensive easily, or you two have a hard time talking about a concern without it turning into a big argument, you may want to come up with some rules to follow for these types of discussions. It is important to do this when both people are calm and before a conflict begins. Make a list of dos and don’ts. Some helpful rules may be that you agree to using I statements, acknowledging each other’s feelings, and discussing one issue at a time. If the conversation starts to get too heated, agree to pause and take a break so each partner can do something to calm down. It is important to return to the conversation, so you may need to add a rule to come back at a certain time or by a certain day. Unresolved conflicts may lead to more resentment and anxiety.
Relationships can be stressful but often times healthy communication can increase understanding and reduce frustration and anxiety. No one is a mind reader, but we can use effective communication skills to help us feel confident sharing how we feel, asking for clarification or for what we need, and communicating in ways that increase security in a relationship. There doesn't have to be guessing games or second guessing yourself when you and your significant other are open, assertive, follow your guidelines, and approach a problem together as partners.
You can find my tips here in this article, as well as several other communication tips from relationship experts if you are looking for more assistance https://deepsoulfullove.com/how-to-handle-conflict-in-relationships/
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