Are you struggling to communicate your feelings or differences of opinion to your partner? Instead of feeling valued, acknowledged and understood, do you find yourself feeling frustrated or even angry?
Sense the triggers
It’s quite common in a relationship to not feel listened to. You might be the one talking on a regular basis about a recurring problem or issue, while your partner seems to go quiet and appear disinterested. This can trigger a wealth of feelings resulting in you flying off the handle and behaving like a child having a tantrum and provoking your other half to respond accordingly as you enter a heated power battle.
And whilst you might believe that this is because you are not good enough, the reality is very different.
What’s your thinking style?
The reason for the different responses is simple. It’s all about the way people process information. And there are two different types – internal and external information processors.
Internal processors listen, ponder reflect and sort out the issues in their mind, and deliver the solution when they’re ready. External processors will talk about their issues as a way of sorting through the problem and reaching a solution. It will probably not surprise you to learn that men are more likely to be internal processors, whilst women tend to be external processors.
Accept your differences
Neither way is wrong, It’s just two different ways that we digest information and sort through the many challenges that life presents us with. But understanding how you and your partner operate and accepting your differences will help you to communicate better in the future.
You might want to try some of the following ideas, so you can reap the rewards of a more successful relationship in the future, based on better communication.
If you are an external processor who likes to talk to think – let you partner know when you need to talk about a specific issue and agree a time when you can chat. Remind them that you are just thinking and are not ready for solutions. This gives your partner context for what you’re saying, enabling them to just listen and quietly process the information without feeling the pressure of having to respond just yet.
For internal processors, who like to think to talk – let your partner know that you need to process almost everything inside your own head before you are ready to say something to them. And when you do discuss an issue or problem with your partner, remember to include their thoughts and views, without indicating that you have already made a decision and that any input from them is not required.
Understanding is essential
I see the internal and external processors at work in 99% of the couples I work with. It’s one of the primary issues that once solved, can make an enormous difference in their relationship.
In fact, I experience it daily in my own relationship with my husband. I’m a typical external processing woman and he’s very much an internal guy. There are times when I get excited and will prattle on before I realise that I lost him after the first sentence. We laugh about it afterwards, but we realise that if the topic is important enough, we need to make time to discuss it. I can happily confirm that taking the time to understand and appreciate our differences has allowed us to communicate more effectively.
If you want to find out more about this, I can recommend a great book which covers this topic – ‘Words that Change Minds’ by Shelley Rose Charvet. Check out the short book review about it on my website (hyperlink).
Think for a moment about the way you process information, ideas, and issues and remember that to get the response you want from your partner, you might need to think and behave differently.
If you want some help so you can realise the benefits sooner rather than later, give me a call on 0121 745 9044 to book an appointment.