3 Common Issues Relationships Face & How To Overcome Them

You’ve likely heard it once or twice before: Healthy communication is nonnegotiable for a successful relationship. In fact, a lack of communication can sneakily ruin relationships over time. 

Of course, “communication issues” can mean different things for different couples: “There are a lot of reasons why we don’t communicate well,” says Perel. “One is that we are often more invested in what we need to say than in what we need to listen to and hear. We often talk without paying enough attention to how the other person is registering what we are saying.” That said, take a minute to check in with your partner before striking up a conversation: What is the other person trying to tell you, perhaps with no words at all (facial expressions, body language, etc.)? 

Another layer to the issue is expectation, says Perel: “If I, in advance, feel that you fundamentally don’t really value what I have to say, that is going to change all my communication,” she notes. “The emotional undercurrent of expectations that we bring to the relationship is going to block communication.” 

Finally, she mentions confirmation bias. “We tend to hear that which reinforces our preexisting beliefs rather than pay attention to change,” Perel explains. So often one partner will say something that triggers the other, and the two go back and forth in a feedback loop of conflicting assumptions rather than actually listening to one another. That said: “Try to actually not look for what you already are used to seeing or hearing,” says Perel. “See if you can hear something else, and then communication [will] open up.” 

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