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I'm starting this as a broad question, to see what comes up, because I'm honestly clueless here. My troubles with DP seem to be based 90% on just REALLY crappy communication skills. If I need to narrow down the question later, I will.<br><br>
So I'm wondering- in what way(s) do you make sure that you and your partner have clear, concise, honest communication?<br><br>
Please- I need SOLUTIONS, not horror stories. We're in pretty rough shape right now and need as much help as we can get.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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When I am having a hard time expressing myself, I like to write, so I send DH an email (sometimes I leave a note, but email seems to help because I can reread what I wrote and then edit it if needed) . He remembered that a few months ago when were having problems, so he wrote me an email, because he knows that I need to read something to be able to respond to it. This has really helped us during time when there was miscommunication or a lack of communication. Part of it is just the knowlege that I don't communicate as well orally, and so DH understands that there are times when I hurt too much to even talk).
 

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I don't have any advice cause I'm in the same boat. When I'm having any sort of issue between us and I try to talk to dh, it's more like I'm talking <i>at</i> him. Even if I'm non-confrontational and ask his opinions or for feedback, I get nothing. Usually he won't even look at me and I can tell he's annoyed. The most he'll say is "I don't feel like talking about it". It doesn't matter what the issue is... big or small. When it's something really important I end up going on and on because he just won't <i>say</i> anything, and then he ends up getting mad and saying I'm nagging or something like that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> And I know there has to be issues he has with me, but he just "deals" with it and doesn't discuss anything with me. I have tried so many approaches. I have come to realize communication is a two way street, and if your partner is non-communicative, there isn't much you can do. I have also tried written letters. Occasionally I do feel like maybe I got through a little and I can tell because I can see him making more of an effort regarding whatever, but still there is no communication involved. It's really frustrating for me, especially because I am a big communicator. Sigh.
 

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One thing that helps is to "own" your own feelings and needs, rather than project that your feelings and needs are the other person's responsibility.<br><br>
Making "I" statements rather than "You" statements ("I feel less stressed when the house is tidy" rather than "You need to help clean up the house").<br><br>
I really like the non-violent communication model.<br><br><a href="http://www.cnvc.org/nvc.htm" target="_blank">http://www.cnvc.org/nvc.htm</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BellinghamCrunchie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7329432"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One thing that helps is to "own" your own feelings and needs, rather than project that your feelings and needs are the other person's responsibility.<br><br>
Making "I" statements rather than "You" statements ("I feel less stressed when the house is tidy" rather than "You need to help clean up the house").<br><br>
I really like the non-violent communication model.<br><br><a href="http://www.cnvc.org/nvc.htm" target="_blank">http://www.cnvc.org/nvc.htm</a></div>
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tried this with no results.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>deuxceleste</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7328518"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Please- I need SOLUTIONS, not horror stories. We're in pretty rough shape right now and need as much help as we can get.<br></div>
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oops! i guess i didn't really catch that until the second time around. sorry for my horror story... i was just about to post a thread about communication problems when i saw this thread so i posted here. i didn't mean any disrespect.
 

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We never, ever call each other names. That's a big one.<br><br>
We do a lot of "I feel" statements rather than "You should/can't/don't. . . ."<br><br>
We check in with each other pretty frequently on several levels: What we're doing and what needs to get done, how we're feeling emotionally, our health, etc.<br><br>
We compliment each other, especially when one of us does something the other one didn't want to do, like take out the garbage in the rain -- positive reinforcement! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
We try not to simmer. If something little is bugging me, I often make light of it but do make a point of mentioning it within a day or two. "Sweetie, you know I love ya, but if you leave the wet, stinky insert in the diaper again instead of shaking it out, you might find it in your lunchbox." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:<br><br>
We're not always great at this one, but we're working on it: Don't keep score. I have to trust dh that he is a man who understands and respects his responsibility to our family and will pull his own weight. He has to trust me in the same way. So when one of us has a slacker week, it's ok to accept it and let it go, knowing the scales will balance in the long run and we don't need to keep tabs on who's "doing more," be it childcare, housework, etc.<br><br>
And this one took us a while, but we finally figured out that we speak two different languages. Really. So a lot of the time we'll argue about little details but realize half an hour in that we're actually agreeing. We've gotten to the point where this is humorous and not incredibly frustrating like it used to be.
 

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I think this is going to be a little different for everyone, since we all have our unique faults.<br><br>
I think it's most useful to think more about what you may be contributing to the problem, than finding things s/he should be doing.<br><br>
For ME, that means the following:<br><br>
*If I am feeling very out of control angry about something, I do a quick check of the calendar. If it's during a certain part of my cycle, I make and effort to bite my tongue and remind myself that I am probably having an overreaction.<br><br>
*Being mindful of carpetbagging (allowing an incident to release a flood of tons of other hurts and things from the past and past experience, so that not only am I pissed or hurt by the current action, but relieve all the old crap too). Controlling my tongue so that I don't beat him over the head with everything from the past plus all the other things that I've not said anything about.<br><br>
*Before ASSuming that I know what he meant by a certain remark, if it's something hurtful or rage-inducing, I ask him to clarify, or if he meant what I think he meant.<br><br>
*Learning to accept apologies<br><br>
*Learning to apologize (this is very hard for me, truly).<br><br>
*Not bringing up certain subjects in the heat of passion/depression/spur of the moment, but waiting until I am in a space where I can actually listen to what he has to say with respect even if it's not what I expect/want to hear.<br><br>
*If I just need to vent, I tell him that BEFORE I get going. And then respect his wishes if HE says he can't hear that now, as long as we agree on a future time for me to get it out. And vice versa. If he says he needs to vent and I"m not in a space to hear it, then I tell him that and we make another time/date for it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerchild</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7330713"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br><b>*If I am feeling very out of control angry about something, I do a quick check of the calendar. If it's during a certain part of my cycle, I make and effort to bite my tongue and remind myself that I am probably having an overreaction.</b><br><br>
*Being mindful of carpetbagging (allowing an incident to release a flood of tons of other hurts and things from the past and past experience, so that not only am I pissed or hurt by the current action, but relieve all the old crap too). Controlling my tongue so that I don't beat him over the head with everything from the past plus all the other things that I've not said anything about.<br><br><b>*Before ASSuming that I know what he meant by a certain remark, if it's something hurtful or rage-inducing, I ask him to clarify, or if he meant what I think he meant.</b><br><br>
*Learning to accept apologies<br><br>
*Learning to apologize (this is very hard for me, truly).<br><br>
*Not bringing up certain subjects in the heat of passion/depression/spur of the moment, but waiting until I am in a space where I can actually listen to what he has to say with respect even if it's not what I expect/want to hear.<br><br><b>*If I just need to vent, I tell him that BEFORE I get going.</b></div>
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This is very true for me too, especially the bolded parts. The PMS is my hardest, but DP tracks my cycle, sometimes better than I do myself, so he is armed and ready. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
In addition, I tell DP exactly what I need from him and I expect the same exact thing from him. Neither one of us can read each other minds, it is our responsibility to help each other get our needs met.
 

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To tell you the truth, lately the thing that has made a world of difference is taking 15 minutes a night to give DH a massage ( just shoulder w/ oil<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">), even when I don't feel like it. It opens up a whole new level of communication. I think men need more physical connection, and DH just opens right up and we can talk on a deeper level. I know as women we say we're too busy, theres no time, but I'm pretty busy too with three real little ones, and it can be done. I know if I start just talking and and complaining right off the bat DH tends to shut down. Anways this really does work wonders for us.
 

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I think the biggest thing for DH and I is we don't play games, if we want something we tell the other person. Don't expect them to read your mind. If I need help with the kids I don't expect him to "know" I tell him or ask ( if I'm in a good mood) please give Dd a bath or read the kids a bedtime story. If the garbage needs to go out I ask him, please take out the garbage. The other thing that comes to mind is pick your battles, really think about how important the thing he just did that made you mad is. Is it really worth starting a fight? Are your really that upset over what he did or are you tired, had a bad day, etc... and this was just the last straw?
 

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we're having communication problems but one thing I found helps enormously is when we have an argument I always ALWAYS think back over it afterwards when I cool down..and if I was out of order I generally call dh to apologize.<br><br>
trying to use more i statements although that is having limited success.<br><br>
also if I think i'm talking *at* him and he's not listening I just stop and then later on I try to bring it up again "hey remember earlier I wanted to discuss such and such?" and almost always he needed the time to digest it.<br><br>
the hardest part is trying to get him to understand i'm not attacking him or accusing him of anything! he almost always flies off the handle when we start discussing something because he feels like he has to defend himself. it makes communicating harder because he stops listening at that point. *sigh*
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>AngieB</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7331361"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The other thing that comes to mind is pick your battles, really think about how important the thing he just did that made you mad is. Is it really worth starting a fight? Are your really that upset over what he did or are you tired, had a bad day, etc... and this was just the last straw?</div>
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this is a big one. dh and I were separated for 11m so I learned the pick your battles lesson very well!
 

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this thread is very useful. maybe i should print out the page and hang it on the refrigerator.<br><br>
one thing in particular that i've recently started doing is leaving (whether by room or car) if my buttons are pushed to a certain point during an argument. in the past, dh has not made this easy, but i assured him the other day, if he wants to make progress in a fight instead of going round and round, then he needs to let me be until i've had a chance to think and calm down. in the past, i felt my power to deal with the problem was taken away from me because when i needed time to clear my head, he wouldn't leave me alone. i had to decide for myself that the only way to deal with his less-than-fair argumentative style was to fight fairer than fair. if he feels the need to follow me from room to room during an argument AFTER i say i need some time to cool off, i refuse to take his bait. i calmly say that i will be happy to further discuss the disagreement after i've had some time to think. then, i stand by my word. so far, he backs down until i'm ready to talk.
 

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One thing that has really helped me communicate better with dh is to stop and think before talking to him. For instance ~ if he does or says something I see as being hurtful, inconsiderate, etc. I give myself a few minutes, hours, however long I need to think. I read somewhere that a huge mistake many of us do in relationships with *anyone* is that we feel that first emotion and then ride it like a rollercoaster and never get off. When, usually our first emotion is completely reactive. Even if I feel the same way a few hours later, I've figured out a less reactive way to talk to him and can approach it much more calm and then we won't get into this vicious defensive cycle.<br><br>
Some may disagree with this, but I think it's okay to go to bed without settling a disagreement. Granted, the issue has to be discussed at some point, but I'm okay with waiting until the next day when we're both calm.<br><br>
When we're talking about something that may be heated or that we disagree about, we are touching each other in some way while we're talking. We're always connected to each other in a peaceful way ~ holding hands, my legs across his, etc.<br><br>
Like a pp said, I tell dh exactly what I need from him. "What I need from you is x,y,z." And then, I'll ask him what he needs from me ~ and I really try to give him what he needs.<br><br>
Using 'I' statements and absolutely no name-calling or character attacks (you're lazy, you're inconsiderate, etc). You know, focus on the behavior, not the person.<br><br>
Not bringing stuff up from the past. Handle the here and now.
 

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DH and I used to get into some crazy fights! Once we got going, we would try to make each other feel lower than low. Then one day we realized that this just made us both feel horrible... both for ebing attached and being an attacher. Now when we fight, we stay on topic. If we are arguing about where we should put something in the house, etc. that's all we talk about. Also, a mama on here gave advice that really helped once. Stop arguing about the stuff you always argue about for a month. Everyone knows the issue, etc. so why keep talking about it. Let those things go. Then if you went a month, go another. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jeannie81</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7329051"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't have any advice cause I'm in the same boat. When I'm having any sort of issue between us and I try to talk to dh, it's more like I'm talking <i>at</i> him. Even if I'm non-confrontational and ask his opinions or for feedback, I get nothing. Usually he won't even look at me and I can tell he's annoyed. The most he'll say is "I don't feel like talking about it". It doesn't matter what the issue is... big or small. When it's something really important I end up going on and on because he just won't <i>say</i> anything, and then he ends up getting mad and saying I'm nagging or something like that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> And I know there has to be issues he has with me, but he just "deals" with it and doesn't discuss anything with me. I have tried so many approaches. I have come to realize communication is a two way street, and if your partner is non-communicative, there isn't much you can do. I have also tried written letters. Occasionally I do feel like maybe I got through a little and I can tell because I can see him making more of an effort regarding whatever, but still there is no communication involved. It's really frustrating for me, especially because I am a big communicator. Sigh.</div>
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This describes my DH exactly. We also really struggle on the communication front and are still seeking solutions. His solution is to never talk! Seriously though, I do try to concider that for him talking isn't helpful or possitive (IMO because he doesn't have the skills he needs to commuicate properly!) and so I try really hard to limit how much communication I ask for. We have fallen into some pretty bad habbits with negative communication and I am trying hard to recognize those habbits and unlearn them. In good moments we will talk together about needing better communication skills, but DH "hates talking about talking more than he hates talking!".<br><br>
I do feel like the majority of the issues in our relationship stem from misunderstanding due to poor communication skills and I find it really frustrating because I am a very verbal person. One thing I am trying really hard to do is initiate possitve communication in the hope of demonstrating and maybe teaching good skills. So I'll talk about something I'm really thankful for (rather than somethign that pisses me off) about DH, to be sure we have some possitive enjoyable communication.<br><br>
I also make sure to own my own behavior. If we argue and I say something negative about or to my partner that is out of line I will be sure to appologize later. Also if my husband complains about something I've done, I try to humble myself enough to hear the critizm and take it well, and will admit my errors...he's yet to catch onto this concept though...<br><br>
Interesting thread, thanks for sharing your ideas, I will try some of them!!<br><br>
Sarahfina
 

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Well the one thing my divorce was good for was the therpy that I went to and what I learned.<br><br>
The best way to communicate is to rephrase things back to the talker. For instance:<br>
I say" I get frustrated when I have to repeat myself multiple times."<br>
He should say "So it bothers you to have to answer the same question repeatedly?"<br>
If this is what I ment I say yes if not I clarify.<br><br>
You don't want to say I get frustrated when you don't listen to me. This would put him on the defensive.<br><br>
I'm still trying to teach my new man this. Things would be alot easier if he would say something besides Yeah or uhuh.<br><br>
Good luck
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jeannie81</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7329051"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't have any advice cause I'm in the same boat. When I'm having any sort of issue between us and I try to talk to dh, it's more like I'm talking <i>at</i> him. Even if I'm non-confrontational and ask his opinions or for feedback, I get nothing. Usually he won't even look at me and I can tell he's annoyed. The most he'll say is "I don't feel like talking about it". It doesn't matter what the issue is... big or small. When it's something really important I end up going on and on because he just won't <i>say</i> anything, and then he ends up getting mad and saying I'm nagging or something like that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> And I know there has to be issues he has with me, but he just "deals" with it and doesn't discuss anything with me. I have tried so many approaches. I have come to realize communication is a two way street, and if your partner is non-communicative, there isn't much you can do. I have also tried written letters. Occasionally I do feel like maybe I got through a little and I can tell because I can see him making more of an effort regarding whatever, but still there is no communication involved. It's really frustrating for me, especially because I am a big communicator. Sigh.</div>
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I don't mean to hijack this thread either, but I just had to say that DH and I have the EXACT same problem. He is NOT a communicator. Makes me sad (and it DOES cause problems) but I still love him. I still haven't figured out a great way to deal with this issue other than I am in therapy myself (because DH will NOT go). Good luck to everyone!
 
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