Yesterday, I met up with my good friend and colleague, Kate, at a local Santa Fe restaurant. Whenever we get together, we always end up chatting about anything having to do with love relationships. I love to hear a woman’s perspective! Anyway, we ended up talking, in particular, about communication between love partners. Actually, I was all ears as I listened to Kate talk about her recent interaction with her partner of five years:
Kate: “Michael approached me earlier today to discuss something I had said to him weeks ago. But I knew that what he was really doing, was bringing up the past when he was really just looking for a way to connect with me. He seemed lonely the way he sat there appearing sad and lost. Poor baby… Anyway, I knew this was an important conversation, and I was willing to show up for it – to really hear him out. I have to admit that I really didn’t have the time or patience to go into what he wanted to talk about, but I felt it was important to listen to what he had to say anyway. When a man says something to a woman, he usually gets right to the point. But in this case, I felt that Michael was looking for intimacy with me, not really physical, but something more emotional. I had a gut feeling that he was telling me one thing with his words, but noticed that something else was really going on. At one point in our conversation, I did a quick check-in with myself. I realized that I’m not responsible for his emotional well-being or security but did want to be supportive, none-the-less. I gave my full presence to him, but for a limited period of time. I set a boundary and felt good that I was taking care of myself in the conversation. This way, I felt safe and more available to him. I think the conversation ended up drawing us closer and helped to build more intimacy between us.”
From the retelling of her interaction with her partner, we began to come up with some basic ideas and realizations about better communication between people which I’ve listed here :
1) Be present; show up.
If something is going on with your partner, show up and be present to hear what he or she is telling you – even if you’re not feeling up to it. You just might learn something about yourself and your partner that you wouldn’t have know had you not had the patience to listen in the first place. Going the extra mile is worth it.
Kate: “I think it’s really important to show up when our partner needs us, when they have an emotional need.”
2) There might be more to the story than just the words.
Don’t be afraid to read between the lines – to key-in to what’s really going on in the conversation. In her case, Kate had a feeling that Michael was approaching her with a different agenda than what he was saying in words. Look at body language, listen to how the words are being said, attempt to get a feel for the other’s emotional state and possible needs in the moment – trust your gut.
Kate: “I could tell there was more going on than just his words.”
3) Set a boundary.
Set aside time to talk, and limit the amount of time you’re willing to interact.
Kate: “At the time, I needed to take care of myself in the conversation. So I set a 15-minute time limit to interact with Michael. I felt I was present to myself by conserving energy. I was able to focus more and really give him my complete attention.”
4) Establishing a good flow of communication.
You can set a good mood for any conversation by listening, responding when there’s an appropriate opening, not talking over the other, being respectful even when you disagree, being open to new ideas, and never shaming yourself or your partner.
Kate: “When the conversation’s going good, it just flows naturally, and then the intimacy happens. It’s so stimulating! It’s like pumping up the ‘love muscle’!”
Hopefully, you picked up even one thing here that may help you to achieve long-term intimacy. Isn’t it amazing what you can learn just by listening to the wisdom of a friend?
*Good communication is vital to any love relationship, especially at the beginning stage – the Honeymoon Period. If you learned something new from this blog and want to learn more in depth about positive communication, particularly between new lovers, you might want to pick up a copy of my new book, Honeymoon Forever; Secrets to Long-Term Intimacy.