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Couple’s Communication 101

Dr Andre, Why can’t I communicate with my partner?

 

“We just can’t seem to communicate!” I hear this often in sessions with couples. Here are a few pointers that I always offer my clients who struggle with communication.

First of all, we need to understand the differences in the way men and women communicate. Men are generally far more concrete and linear in their thoughts and statements, whereas women are more abstract and detailed. For men, YES and NO are perfectly acceptable answers. Women, however, are more likely to respond with more information. For example, when a lady asks a man if she looks OK in a particular dress, a man believes he has answered her question when he responds with “yes” or “no”. Another female is more likely to respond to the same question with, “Well, I like the color of the dress, but…”

A gifted communicator knows how to listen.

Another communication challenge happens when a man asks a woman what is wrong and she answers “nothing”. He usually believes her! This does not mean he doesn’t care about her. Men are just not good mind readers. Ladies, they depend on you to tell them what you want or need. But, remember, we all get the best results when we speak in the “I” rather than “you”. Starting a statement with “you” tends to put the other person on the defensive because it has an accusatory tone. And, let’s not forget tone and timing are very important.

A gifted communicator knows how to listen. Men, by nature, are problem solvers. Women vent their feelings and problems to men who in turn have the urge to fix the problem. Great news, guys!  You don’t have to fix it – just listen. Listen without judgment. She just needs to get it off her chest.

Great news, guys!  You don’t have to fix it – just listen.

Finally, have you ever heard of QTIPS? It’s the acronym for Quit Taking It Personally, Silly. We all need to remember that not all problems are about us; so, let’s not assume he or she is angry at or disappointed with us. Your partner’s attitude or expression may be the result of something that happened at work or with someone else. Just ask, “You look upset. Is this about me?” When you respond with openness, your partner will feel safer to share with you. However, if the problem is about you, remember tone and timing. We can say almost anything when we say it with kindness and respect.

…remember tone and timing.

For more in-depth help with relationship and communication challenges, our therapists at Northshore Counseling and Wellness and always happy to help you be your best self. Please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

-Dr. Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Contributed by Janis Caserta, LPC, LAC

 

 

Why do my great relationships sour over time?

“Hey Doctor, why are my relationships so great and happy in the beginning and then it goes bad once there is a level of comfort and security in the relationship? This seems to be a common problem in my life, could you give me some general advice?”

Depending on your particular situation, I would advise one or both of the following:

  1. The endorphins released and the chemical reactions that takes place in your brain at the begining of a relationship are similar to the “high” you would get from other types of drugs such as cocaine.  Because you are in an “altered state” you tend to overlook qualities that might send you away otherwise.  After this has worn off and your brain is no longer supplying the influx of chemicals, you are able to see the person for who they really are.  Some people who suffer from addiction will chase this “high” when it wears off in search of a new relationship or extra-marital affairs.
  2. Once comfortable in a relationship we tend to replay the dysfunction of our parent’s marriage due to what we witnessed in our parent’s relationship growing up.  We subconsciously pick the same type of relationship as our parents had in an effort to repair the past.

I hope this gives you some understanding of why this happens even in a general sense. If you would like more specific information regarding your happiness and healthy relationships, please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

-Response from Therapist Dana Duet-Champagne