Communicating is fundamental to a good relationship
Communicating is fundamental to a good relationship

How you should and shouldn't speak to your partner, according to an expert

We spoke to a relationships expert about the best way to communicate in a relationship 

Mollie Goodfellow
Friday 04 December 2015 19:05
Comments

Many people say things in relationships they later regret - whether it’s placing blame on a partner for something that isn’t their fault or calling them a malicious name in the heat of the moment.

While it’s generally important to speak your mind and be honest, there are also times when biting your tongue and taking stock before you say something you don’t mean are the best option.

Sam Owen, a relationship coach and psychologist, has some top tips on the type of language you shouldn't use around your partner.

  1. Don't repeatedly affirm anything you don’t want to come true. Words are instructions to the brain, they focus our thoughts, decisions and actions accordingly. So, for example, you don’t want to repeatedly affirm that they are still in love with their ex-partner because you’re then instructing their brain to think in this way and to make it a reality. Instead, use your words to focus their mind in the direction of your relationship goals.

  2. Don't use unnecessary ultimatums that come from a place of insecurity or from uncalled-for lack of trust, e.g. “Your friends or me!” If the insecurity or unprovoked lack of trust come from you rather than your current partner or the relationship then the solution isn’t the ultimatum, it’s addressing your insecurities and anxieties.

  3. Don't say “your family isn’t important to me”; if your partner’s family is important to them, it ought to be important to you.  If you have difficulties around your relationships with your in-laws then address them for the sake of all concerned

  4. Avoid universal statements such as “You always...” or “You only...”, because such statements are rarely true and just inflame a situation. Aim to be more realistic by using phrases like “often” or “more often than not” or “about 80% of the time”. This will result in fewer arguments about the wording used than the actual point you’re trying to make.

  5. Statements can be deemed as though you’ve made your mind up so it’s better to ask clarifying questions, or to say how you’re experiencing something, to highlight what you want to convey in a positive way.  For example, “You’re distracted when you come home from work so I don’t know when’s a good time to talk to you about this stuff,” could be better worded as “I feel like you’re distracted when you come home from work so...” or “I worry that you’re distracted when you come home from work so when do you think is a good time for me to talk to you about this stuff?”

Sam Owen is a relationships coach and psychologist who helps coaching clients globally. Get more free tips on Twitter and her website.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in