Miscommunication, simply put is the belief that we know what another person must be thinking or feeling at a given moment. Miscommunication is the leading cause of relationship problems. Miscommunication in relationships comes from a natural tendency we have as humans to fill in the gaps around things we don’t fully understand.
Miscommunication in relationships is more common than you might think. When feelings, needs, or expectations are not communicated fluently either by words or even body language, miscommunication is bound to happen.
When miscommunication happens, an assumption follows. Most times these assumptions are wrong. You find yourself wallowing in assumptions yourself like:
If he isn’t reaching out to me during work hours again, he must think I’m a distraction.
It’s been a while since we’ve been intimate. He must not find me attractive anymore. Or is he seeing someone else?
She doesn’t put in enough effort as she did in the beginning. Is she losing interest in me?
Since nobody has the power to read minds, wallowing in these thoughts all by yourself and will only filth your mind and create misunderstandings.
Fortunately, by making necessary adjustments to how you communicate with your partner, you can prevent and solve misunderstandings more effectively. Here are a few tips for effective communication:
Speak up when in doubt.
If things are unclear to you, make them known to your partner. Make your partner understand things from your point of view. Speaking up will resolve a lot of this and clear your assumptions.
Listen — genuinely.
Listening to your partner’s point of view is key. It helps you make progress on your issues. As hard as it is to hear someone disagree or criticize your behavior, listening to someone’s expression of dissatisfaction can lead to a solution.
Don’t use texting as your primary means of communication.
If you’ll be late for dinner, of course, it’s easier to hint your partner through a text but it’s better to drop a call if you’re in a position to do so. Most times texts may not convey enough information needed to explain or justify your action and this leaves your partner assuming and creating fake scenarios in their head. Sometimes your voice intonation, when you want to pass a message across, could be enough to do the trick.
See your partner as a friend.
As casual as this may sound, you have to remember that your partner isn’t the enemy. You’re on the side. Just this change in perspective can help you understand each other and work toward a solution for your problems.
If things escalate, see a therapist.
Couples therapy attempts to improve romantic relationships and resolve interpersonal conflicts. Here’s help on finding a good couples therapist. In every active relationship, there must be a point where there’s a misunderstanding. If you cannot resolve it on your own, then seek professional help.