Written by Zamara Perri
Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the second in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.
I once broke up with a woman who was smart, attractive, hardworking and a homeowner. Why? She told me my reason for doing something was “stupid.” It may sound drastic, but I recommend that you break up with anyone who talks to you in a demeaning way, because it’s only going to get worse.
With this particular ex, this wasn’t the first time that she spoke to me this way. She had plenty of practice because I let her and because I didn’t know any better. I say I didn’t know any better because whenever she said something nasty, I fired right back with my own nasty comments. One day I just got real tired of feeling shitty about our relationship and I was done.
Looking back, I realize that people do what they know and say what they know. And if you never call them out on their bad behavior, how can you expect them to change? Good and bad habits are learned. That also means they can be unlearned.
If you think that the way you talk to your sweetheart needs some work, then you may be right. Pay attention to the things that you think may not be a big deal because every word has consequences. You don’t have to be angry and shouting at each other for you to have an obvious communication problem. All it takes is honest self-evaluation and conversation.
If you want to make your relationship stronger, keep an eye out for the following toxic conversation habits and get rid of them, pronto:
- Not apologizing. It can be really hard to admit that you’re wrong, but do it anyway. Practice doing it and you’ll get better at it. When you apologize, you are acknowledging your role in whatever breakdown you both had. It means that you are listening to her and want to improve your relationship. When you don’t apologize, you are telling her that you don’t care that your words or actions caused her harm.
- Criticism. How often do you tell her that she didn’t do a good job cooking a meal or dressing to your specifications? Sometimes we don’t even realize the things that you think of as helpful are actually hurtful. It’s not that you can’t give her suggestions for improvement, but think twice about the message that you’re sending. When you criticize her, you’re telling her that she’s not good enough.
If she asks for your opinion on something that’s one thing, but volunteering information that is hurtful, not helpful is another. Instead of criticizing her, think of all the things you sincerely love and appreciate about her and share one of those thoughts. Also, if you consistently practice speaking to her with kindness, it won’t hurt so much when you have something less than pleasant to share with her.