A large focus of my practice is working with clients who come to see me because of relationship issues. Usually one or both of the partners in the couple relationship end up in my counselling office due to a major blow up or due to weeks/months of a ‘cold war’ atmosphere in the home.
As they describe it, their main issue is ‘communication’ i.e “We just do not communicate” ” My boyfriend just doesn’t understand me” ” My husband never shares his feelings with me” “My girlfriend expects me to read her mind”.
In uncovering the pattern of a couple’s communication style, what is often revealed is that “texting” has become their major mode of communication. Couples are texting each other when in the same house / condo. In other words in the room next door.
Recently I had a lawyer in my office describe the angry text he engaged in with his wife just before he entered the courtroom to defend a client. I have had a doctor tell me something similar before she prepared for surgery. Really! Can you imagine the spike in stress levels for this lawyer and this doctor. This is a total misuse of texting.
Trouble happens when one partner decides to bring up an important issue face-to-face, usually just before bed or just as someone is leaving for work. What ensues is conflict, unpleasentness and angry texting in the days ahead. Texting becomes for many a safe avenue to vent while it poisons the relationship even more.
In communication the words themselves account for only 10% of the communication. It is our attentiveness to the other, our willigness to listen, to understand not only the words but more importantly the feelings expressed that are the key elements to good communication. Therefore, it is our tone and pace of voice, our facial expression, our eyes and our body language that accounts for the other 90% of communication. Think about it: How many romantic dinners have fizzled out because one or both partners had been more intimate with their iphone than with their dinner date.
Texting is very useful for quick message bites: ” I am running late, stuck in traffic” ” Could you please pick up some milk” ” I am going to yoga, are you?” ” Let’s cool down and plan to talk after work. We’ll focus on working things out”
Learn how to communicate effectively without the gadgets and I will bet that all of your relationships will improve including your lovelife.
It could be a good idea to seek help to learn how to communicate effectively.
Photo Courtesy: Matthew G