I’ve heard it easily a thousand times from couples I’ve treated in marriage counseling. “We have a hard time communicating,” “We don’t communicate well,” “We get in an argument when we talk,” and a hundred other variations of that theme. The question is why. What happens to couples that once communicated well with each other, […]
How to Stop Interrupting People
Do you interrupt people a lot? Do loved ones complain that you chime in by cutting them off in conversation? All of us cut into a conversation sometimes, and some interruptions can be helpful or clarifying. You may have an important correction to make, you may have information to add that the other person doesn’t […]
Valentine’s Special: We’ve Grown Apart. What Should We Do?
Note: This is the first of a two-part series. Click here for part two Your relationship will not stay close and intimate without good communication. Most people think they communicate well, but good communication involves more than telling someone your thoughts, feelings and judgements. Good communication requires: Being an extremely good listener Hearing without arguing […]
What To Do If You’ve Grown Apart?
Dear Neil: Over the past two years my husband has been growing away from me. He says it’s me just being emotional, but he doesn’t touch/cuddle me anymore, and he is no longer interested in how I feel. I don’t think that we will last much longer. Do you have any advice? No Longer Close […]
How Do I Stop My Boyfriend From Shutting Down?
Dear Neil: My boyfriend of 4 years is famous for shutting down, and I am a yeller. (I communicate that way. That is how I express myself.) I yell because I am trying to get him to communicate with me without shutting down, because then we build up unresolved issues. How do I convince my […]
Quiz: Are You a Good Listener?
By far the most common complaint marriage counselors hear is the statement: “We can’t communicate.” There are many reasons why communication stops or becomes superficial and brittle, including poor conflict resolution, problem solving, compromising and negotiating skills; withholding information; keeping secrets from each other and becoming defensive—to name a few. But one of the most […]
An Alternative to the Cold Silent Treatment
Dear Neil: After my husband and I have a disagreement, especially if voices have been raised, I get the silent treatment. It can last as long as two weeks. I used to cry and attempt to cajole him into communicating during those spells, but that only seemed to strengthen his resolve. So now I go […]
Periodic Repair Work is Required In A Relationship
Oftentimes, people fight about essentially nothing. Take, for instance, the following example of a couple trying to decide which restaurant to go to. She says: “Let’s eat Chinese food tonight.” He says: “I’d prefer pizza.” She says: “We always eat pizza, let’s try something else.” He says: “Pizza is what I like. I don’t want […]
Couple’s Exercise in Feeling Closer and More Connected
Can you hear feelings and opinions about yourself without becoming defensive? Can you hear honest feedback from someone you love or care about, or do you force loved ones to walk on eggshells around you so as not to offend you? This column is going to challenge you to talk—and listen—openly and honestly with your […]
When Partner is Hostile, say “Talk to Me Like Someone You Love”
The problem is familiar to most of us. Whether it originates from tension, stress, problems at work, problems with a child, disagreements, arguments, money worries, health concerns or any number of other reasons, sometimes you and your intimate partner get angry with each other, and tempers between the two of you flare. It can be […]