Open relationships have a much higher success rate than traditional relationships, not due to the “free sex” but more-so because of the open communication. Now, I am not making an argument for open relationships here but what I am suggesting is that there is an inherent lack of open and honest communication within traditional, presumably monogamous relationships that could use an overhaul. The key ingredient to maintaining healthy relationships is keeping the lines of communication open.
While communication will take a never-ending effort to keep relevant issues that are integral to the relationship alive and pinned up frustrations at bay, here are a few tips to keep the lines of communication flowing openly:
- Shut up and listen! One of the most important things that you can do for your relationship is to listen to your partner for the sake of validating his/her voice. When listening to your partner try to refrain from interrupting, using body language to negate what is being shared by your partner, and thinking of what you want to say next. Be present. Listen attentively. Reaffirm what you heard him/her say. Respect that your partner has an opinion, valid emotions and a voice within the relationship.
- Agree to disagree. The beauty of the garden is the difference of the flowers. Fortunately, you won’t always agree on every issue and herein lays an opportunity to respectfully disagree. Make every effort to understand your partners’ point-of-view and if there is no mutual agreement, then by all means – agree to disagree. The key is to be able to talk out those differences free of negative and condescending judgments with intentions of meeting in the middle.
- Dismiss your ego from the conversation. Sadly, most people would rather be right (or worse, prove the other person wrong) than to be happy. Often it is your ego that fuels arguments, is unwilling to compromise and ultimately destroys the relationship. There must be a relinquishing of “me”, in the sense of ego involvement, to communicate for the sake of the relationships sustainability.
- Be honest with yourself, first. If you know vital components of your personality to be true that will be pivotal and possibly detrimental to your relationship then it is your duty to accept “who you really are” and share that information with your partner. If you have anger management issues, you are/have been violent in relationships, you like to have multiple partners, you don’t like to keep a steady job, you torture animals…you get the picture. When you lie to yourself about your authentic-self, then you are setting your relationships up for fail – because who you are will eventually present itself once you have relaxed into your comfort zone.
- Practice healthy detachment. When couples communicate bringing heartfelt concerns, intimate personal details and ideals to the conversation it is important to be detached from your projected outcome. While it is important to stay positive and optimistically anticipate a “happy ending” to the communication, it is equally as important to not be rigidly attached to the final outcome. There has to be flexible room for reaching a common ground that sometimes includes compromise to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
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Mastering good communication skills is necessary for all areas of life; personal and professional. The skills presented here can benefit every area of your life if applied. While there is no absolute that your relationship will last forever, having good communication will assuredly make you a better person and likely attract people to you who are willing to be better communicators. Good luck!
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