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Communicating with girlfriend
Posted on: 09/26/2004
My girlfriend and I have trouble communicating and we have a kind of a love/hate relationship. What can I do to understand what she is trying to tell me better?
Your girlfriend and you sound as though you're committed to trying to communicate better but sometimes get stuck. It is hard enough for one person to really know what another is feeling and imaging while they're saying words, even though the words are recognizable. It is doubly hard to pull this off when we're upset or in an argument. Empathy is practiced while listening without preconceived notions or reactions, just giving the time and attention fully as the other speaks, and hearing their emotion fully. Often fighting includes blaming statements starting with "you...", you did this, you shouldn't do that, you caused my upset, rather than "I" statements reflecting our own pain, our own needs. So if you and your girlfriend agree you'd like to make things better and want to learn together you could look in the bookstore sometime, there's lots of good communication books out there, and independently or together take a workshop; couples counseling can also be beneficial. Assertiveness, expectations, styles, personal issues, family history of communication patterns, all play a role--so good luck to you. P.S. -- Remember though, if arguments get out of control, if there are explosive feelings or any physical altercations, you need to get help right away; there are anger management workshops around, and lots of community counselors, employee benefits also usually allow at least a few counseling sessions.