In even the most solid relationships, communication is a struggle at one point or another. Sometimes expressing oneself honestly is difficult — or it can hurt one’s partner. Here are several reasons why couples forget to communicate.
This is perhaps the number one reason couples stop communicating. While a relationship itself can cause stress, other stressors may be external. On any given day, there are countless stressful things on our minds. Those stressors can include obligations related to appointments, work responsibilities, children’s schedules, and to-do lists — and can range to more serious issues like illnesses or health problems, family troubles, financial difficulties. With so many things on our mind that require a significant amount of our attention, it’s easy for couples to get caught up in the stress of everyday life and forget to communicate with each other.
In a healthy relationship, each partner should have the ability to bring personal problems to their partner so they can shoulder the burden as a couple. However, some troubling situations may cause a partner to clam up and ball the stress inside rather than asking for support.
Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for one’s spouse to understand certain behavior, and it can ultimately be seen as a sign of apathy or unhappiness with the relationship as a whole. On the flip side, communicating frustrations and stress to a partner — when they occur — can be therapeutic for both sides. While it may be easy to get caught up in our own thoughts, it is imperative to our relationships that we let our partners in on the problems we are facing. Doing so puts everyone on the same page, and often leads to instantaneous mental and emotional relief.
Communication is a Skill that Requires Practice
Another reason couples forget to communicate is they simply haven’t yet developed the skill.
Communication is typically a constant in our everyday lives, and we may take this skill for granted. Additionally, we often speak to our partners differently than we speak to our friends and family, and respectful, intimate communication doesn’t always come naturally to couples.
Although this can lead to problems in the relationship, it can also be a great opportunity for couples to grow together as they work on effective ways to communicate with one another. Even if it doesn’t come easy to some couples, the process of learning to communicate can teach us a lot about our partner and about ourselves.
Relationships require constant work, attention, and mending, but they are worth the effort. Talking openly about issues in a relationship is the first step to addressing and overcoming them.
Lack of Attention
Yet another reason for couples not communicating is a lack of attention. This can happen when one partner is indifferent or distant, which becomes stressful for the attentive partner. This type of miscommunication can seriously damage a relationship — and the indifference often hurts the more-interested partner specifically.
However, it’s not uncommon for partners who may seem disinterested in the relationship to be completely unaware they are giving these types of messages. Therefore, communication about the issue is the most beneficial way a couple can remedy the problem.
After addressing the lack of attention from one partner, there will usually be one of two results: 1) the partner didn’t realize they were sending signals of disinterest, and the couple moves on by working to curb these types of signals in the future, or 2) the disinterested partner is actually uninvested in the relationship and those signals were not misunderstood.
While the second result is not ideal, especially in a marriage, knowing that a partner is uninterested in a relationship is always better than constantly worrying we may be the reason the relationship isn’t working.
Taking the Relationships for Granted
As relationships progress, it is easy to take our partners for granted. This is especially the case for long-term relationships, where both parties may assume their partner will be there at the end of the day. If these behaviors continue, it becomes more likely that one or both partners will become distracted in favor of unshared interests, to the detriment of the relationship.
Most of the time, these distractions come in the form of hobbies or friends the couple doesn’t have in common, but problems can stem from any external interests that cause a couple to drift apart. It is always important for partners to maintain their own unique identities and interests. But problems arise when the identity of one partner completely overshadows the identity of the couple.
Remember, even the longest-lasting relationships still require work from both sides. It should never be assumed that a relationship will continue to exist simply because it has existed up until that point. The best way to overcome feelings of presumption is to maintain open lines of communication so that, when one partner feels the other is taking them for granted, said partner can communicate these feelings to the other without doing so begrudgingly.
Becoming Overly Comfortable Over Time
Along the same lines, partners sometimes stop communicating because of their level of comfort in the relationship. As our relationships mature and progress, we inherently become more and more comfortable with our partners. Generally, this is a good thing, but sometimes these feelings can lead to believing we already know everything there is to know about our partner. The key to avoiding this type of problem is to keep talking in order to continue growing together.
While it may be true that we know our partners inside and out, there is always something new to learn. Keeping this mindset over the long haul is the best way to avoid creating ruts of comfort that could ultimately mean the demise of the relationship.
About the Author: Rachel is a freelance content writer located in San Diego, California currently writing for Crouse Law Group. Over the course of her career, she has written a variety of health, parenting, and fitness articles. In her free time, she enjoys running along the beach with her two puppies and practicing yoga.