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7 Essential Communication Remedies
for Romantic Relationship Conflicts
We communicate every day, and yet for some reason, this simple routine can be incredibly challenging when something meaningful is at stake. That is especially true within romantic relationships, but despite good intentions, things can still go awry with poor communication.

Conflict is inevitable, making diffusing these tense moments one of life's most essential survival skills. Unfortunately, many of us stumble through a lot of trial and error while our heart is on the line for lack of formal education in cultivating harmony.

Here's a bit of advice if you've found yourself wondering how some long-term relationships manage to keep the passion alive despite regular disagreements.

1) Really Truly Listen to Your Partner 100%

A common mistake is listening to reply rather than listening to understand. We're quick to interrupt, we become distracted by our own thoughts, and we stop paying attention to body language.

Being patient can be difficult when what you're hearing urges you to jump in, but most of the time, this sends the wrong message entirely — "I'm cutting you off because I'm no longer interested in what you have to say."

Show your investment in their words by giving them space to speak and waiting your turn. A great place to start is with, "Am I understanding you correctly when you say…?" Clarification will help you avoid making any assumptions about their intention.

2) Take a Deep Breath and Avoid Yelling or Insults

The moment you start yelling or calling someone unpleasant names, they're going to shut down fast, often stacking even more against the prospect of reaching an agreement. It also simply doesn't paint you in the best light because being nasty shows a lack of respect, destroys trust, and is hard to undo.

If it feels impossible to speak calmly, you may need to excuse yourself for a moment. This part is vital — let your partner know you aren't dismissing them and that you'll be back soon. Walking out during a bad argument and disappearing is a surefire way to create further discontent. The silent treatment shows an unwillingness to sort out a problem.

3) Be Empathetic Instead of Accusatory or Defensive

You're going to have to put yourself in your partner's shoes for a moment and recognize that how you feel is not the same as how they feel. Showing empathy builds intimacy, strengthening your relationship.

If you find yourself blaming the other person for the problem, getting defensive because you feel called out, insisting you're right and they're not, or otherwise invalidating their feelings, it's time to take a deep breath and stop sabotaging the conversation.

If you want to resolve the problem, trying to understand their point of view will get you a lot further, even if you disagree with their behavior.

4) Be Honest About How You Feel and What You Need

Subtle hints don't cut it. Imagine you need driving directions from your house to your new workplace. You only wrote what to do after getting off the highway because you're familiar with the first half of the route. Well, if you gave those exact directions to someone else who is new in town, would they be able to figure it out too?

People often need all the information to get from point A to B. Your partner needs all the information too. If you dance around a topic of contention instead of spelling it out, chances are that it won't be adequately resolved, and resentment will build up. Give your beloved a chance by not requiring them to fill in any blanks.

5) Avoid Nitpicking and Holding Toxic Grudges

Stick with someone long enough, and you'll find that two things are inevitable: you're going dislike AT LEAST one of their regular habits, and you're going to struggle to move past an old argument. Sometimes these two issues are intrinsically linked. But the constant nag of "you always/never do this" can be hostile and uncooperative.

Think about it. When was the last time this tactic pushed things in the direction you'd like without resentment? How about drudging up old arguments even after your partner adjusted their behaviors? It's ok to admit that you're struggling with an ongoing problem, but avoid bringing it up only to rub salt in the wound during an unrelated fight.

6) Be Prepared to Take Responsibility and Apologize

Sometimes you're going to have to say that you're sorry. And not just sorry that your partner feels terrible but genuinely remorseful that your behaviors may be the root of the problem.

Mistakes happen, even if you didn't intend those consequences. Taking responsibility is paramount in maintaining supportive relationships and showing that you'll be more mindful of your partner's feelings moving forward.

However, be aware that this step can be challenging, and sometimes loved ones will turn the tables, bullying you into being the one to apologize even if you're the one who is hurting. Know the difference between when to be sorry and when to stand your ground.

7) Ultimatums Are A Last Resort, Be Willing to Compromise

"My way or the highway" are words that should never be uttered unless you're fully willing to walk away from a relationship. If you make your partner feel like they're on thin ice, you're betraying the security that romantic relationships require.

Unless there are some true dealbreakers you can't live with, you should be viewing your relationship and any conflict that arises as an "in this together" scenario rather than being on opposing sides. Show your partner that you're there for the long haul and that you're willing to compromise on the issues that are disruptive to your mutual happiness.
Optimally, you'll both be on board with making your shared experience a positive one that continues well into the future. Still not entirely on the same page? You can contact a mediator to coach you through more effective conversations.

If your partner is reluctant to tackle important matters, it may be time to find someone who values the relationship enough to be a team player.