Communication is key. We’ve all heard that phrase many times for a reason. I have learned the hard way from relationships that failed solely because I failed to communicate. The problem was that I had a skewed outlook on what communication actually is, as others do. I thought it was something I could pick up and put down when I wanted.
The way we communicate in relationships is constantly changing. The internet is a game changer. Apps like Tinder and Bumble are shaping the way many men form their relationships or find dates. As someone who prefers talking person-to-person, this new environment has often left me feeling out of place. It is so easy to start seeing your self-worth by the number of matches you have or how many people have liked our latest Instagram post.
I think it’s fair to say that we all find ourselves guilty of looking at other couple’s social media posts and wishing we had a relationship like theirs. The reality is though, we only see what they want us to and trying to replicate what they have in your own life is probably going to end disastrously. Everything we see on our phone screens is to some extent fake and if we aren’t careful you’ll start seeing your whole life through that tinted lens.
What are the symptoms?
I didn’t even notice until it was too late. My girlfriend had said something pretty funny and in my head, I was too busy trying to squeeze the joke into the right amount of characters for the perfect tweet. I completely zoned out for the next 10 minutes of our conversation and missed what turned out to be some pretty important information.
This wasn’t the only moment. Looking back, I can now see how I completely ruined a number of dates by insisting on taking a number of pictures together, purely for social media. It probably wouldn’t have been that much of an issue apart from the fact that how the date appeared was far more important to me than how it actually went. Some of them we had been arguing just hours before. Talk about fake.
With all the instant gratification available in today’s society we can find it difficult to work hard at things that might bring genuine satisfaction. Relationships and communication are two such things that have been greatly impacted by the demand for speed.
A quick text to say sorry you won’t be home in time for dinner as you’re going out with the guys for a pint is not going to please a spouse who just spent all evening cooking. A face-to-face conversation explaining that Dave just lost his mum and needs some support, so would it be okay if you saw him later, is probably a better plan.
Growing communication in a relationship that has an air of openness and vulnerability takes time. It’s not something we can force. Trust can take years to acquire only to be lost in an instant.
The best way to approach and lead in communication is probably through being vulnerable. When you make the decision to open up you are creating an atmosphere of transparency in your relationship that many partners will value. It also encourages them to open up as well. If everyone is being truthful and honest, it is so much easier to come to agreements, instead of stubbornly holding on to the self-validating opinions.
Trying to rush these things solely for the purpose of boosting your online go is not a good long-term plan. Once you’ve opened up and are communicating better it is easier to take more positive actions. For example, if you live together, chores and tasks that once seemed mundane can become easier if you have the motivation of working as part of a team, instead of as individuals.
Banking Apps and Finances
It’s no surprise that finances are another area that definitely needs transparent communication. This was the deal breaker for me in my first serious relationship. A messy break up could have been prevented if I had used modern technology and some sense.
Due to the expensive housing market, I felt the only way I would be able to get onto the property ladder and join all my other friends as home buyers were to split the costs with my girlfriend.
Despite being together for almost two years and living together we both had separate bank accounts. Neither of us planned finances together we simply split the mortgage. Maybe you can’t imagine how we lived like that, perhaps its your current arrangement but, if I could go back and change anything, I would change how we managed our money. I still believe that might have saved the relationship because when things got tight it was money that became the first communication hurdle.
It was those arguments that helped me to see how much mistrust was going on between us. Insecurities flared as we both panicked and threw insults at each other instead of trying to solve the problem. A wiser man than I would have remained calm and listened before trying to find a solution.
Did you know that 56% of men never check their bank accounts? That’s utter madness. Especially when in modern society we can access our bank account in seconds with an app on our mobiles.
Taking order of finances is probably one of the best places to start when it comes to better communication with a partner. By putting together a financial plan and explaining why it is important can put in place a structure that is mutually beneficial for everyone. Finances have the power to ease stress in a relationship or add to it.
If your other half can see the steps you are taking to cut back and budget, it is more than likely they will be a lot more interested in doing the same. Simply talking about change doesn’t achieve anything and often it has the opposite effect, stirring up resentment and ill feelings towards something meant to be positive.
The digital tools given to us by modern society have the power to help make communication easier but can be destructive if not implemented correctly. As men, I think we should remember what we should be prioritising in a relationship. It’s a journey we are all on and one I might eventually master, after all, I’ve made enough mistakes that I should really be learning from them at this point.
This content is sponsored by Chillibyte.
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Photo credit: Pixabay
(via The Good Men Project)