Communication in a relationship

Source: Brett Sayer via flickr.

By Sarah Harris

When I told my boyfriend I was writing a piece about communication in relationships he laughed to himself. I didn’t need to ask him to understand why – you see, I’m one of those people who won’t tell you when something’s wrong. You may ask me a dozen times but I’ll just sit there in silence, quietly resenting you and thinking of all the ways I can plan female domination over the world (I know, I sound awful to date). Usually this is the cause of most arguments with my boyfriend – I would even say it’s 50-50 because he does some pretty annoying things to but he would argue that it’s more 70-30.

Every stupid article I’ve read since I was 13 years old claims the key to a ‘successful’ relationship is communication but I’ve never been so sure about that. A few weeks ago me and my boyfriend had once of those huge melodramatic fights where we both decided to break up with one another and then 20 minutes later were sat in bed ordering food and having a How I Met Your Mother marathon like nothing had ever happened. As per usual, the cause of the argument was the fact that it took approximately 30 attempts of him having to ask me what was wrong before I broke and told him. “Why couldn’t you just tell me that straight away so we could talk it through?” I knew I was in the wrong but I’m bitter and wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

After an hour or two of shouting and eye rolls I decided to be the bigger man and say sorry and decided to work on it. Here we are 3 weeks later and I personally have seen a big change in how I deal with relationship issues. If I have an issue with my boyfriend or need something from him, I tell him straight away. Despite this, I still don’t totally agree with the whole ‘the key to a happy relationship is communication.’

I can’t tell you what the key to a successful relationship is, I mean I’m only 19 and still make my mum book dentist appointments for me whenever I go home but I can tell you it takes work. Talking it out is good but there are some things that will never change and you need to figure out whether you can let them go and if not, maybe the relationship isn’t for you. Maybe you want to try the whole communication thing but from my experience I’ve learnt that it’s sometimes better to stay silent and just let it go. No once is perfect and if you’re in a long-term relationship then there’ll definitely be more than a handful of things you find annoying about your partner. I can not stand the fact that my boyfriend is late to pretty much everything and never puts the towels on the drying rack back properly but over the course of the year, I’ve learned to just deal with them, I mean it could be worse. He hates that I eat in bed because I get food crumbs everywhere and that I can never decide where I want to eat but I guess he’s learnt to deal with them too.

I’m not saying be completely silent, if your partner has an awful farting problem or never puts the toilet seat back down and it’s driving you crazy then you need to tell them before it gets too late! Communication does make things easier most of the time. I know we’d all love John Cusack to stand in our back garden holding a boombox over his head but the over the top romance usually disappears after a few weeks when you finally fart or burp in one another and along with that, the out of the blue phone calls and surprise visits might too. That doesn’t mean you’re relationship is doomed but just that you might need to start talking about serious things – like I said, communication may not be the key but it does help!

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