The hardest thing about relationships is creating proper channels of communication. If we can’t talk to each other, we’re doomed from the start. I want things to go well, but I can only control my own actions. It’s up to him to do his part as well. Here’s what I expect him to do:
- Tell me how he feels. I’m only human and while I can estimate and predict how he may feel, I’ll probably fall short of the mark at times. It’s much easier if we are both open about our feelings with each other, even if it’s scary or we’re worried the other person won’t like what we say. Honesty is always the best policy.
- Listen to me when I talk. It doesn’t seem like it’s tough to listen, but most people don’t do it well. I know this and I strive to be the best listener I can. I want the same in return. We can’t communicate if one of us is always talking while the other’s always listening. That’s not dialogue, it’s speechmaking. It won’t work.
- Tell me what he wants. I can’t figure it out on my own. I need him to make it easy on me and put it out on the table. Then I’ll tell him what I want and we’ll decide if we can work something out or if we can’t reach common ground. If he never tells me, he can’t be angry with me for not knowing. I’ll just continue on in oblivion never knowing if he’s happy or not because he isn’t communicating about his desires.
- Take me seriously. I don’t just want him to listen to me, I want him to hear me. They’re two very different things. I wouldn’t talk if I didn’t want to be heard. Listen, absorb, and believe what I’m saying. It’s not always easy to tell the truth, but I do it because I believe that it’s important. He shouldn’t brush it off or blow me off. It’s the easiest way to lose my attention and my desire to talk to him about anything that matters.
- Tell me what he needs. Needs are even more important than desires because if one of us truly needs something the other can’t give, we might not be compatible. He should tell me what his needs are as soon as possible so we both know what we’re dealing with. If his needs change, he should tell me that also. Relationships require constant communication — it’s important always, not just in the beginning.
- Let me know how what I say makes him feel. There’s no sense in him letting me say things that hurt him, no matter how unintentional it is. The only way for me to know for sure is to get feedback. I can’t control his reactions, but if I can word something differently in a way that makes more sense or gives him more clarity, I’d like to do so. I’d hope that he’s okay with me doing the same.
- Tell me what he wants from a relationship. I’d like to be able to tell entirely based on his actions, but sometimes they’re misleading, just like words. We’re all guilty of thinking that we are clear about what we want and actually being quite confusing instead. I think we’ll fare much better if we know how we both define relationships.
- Be willing to talk through issues with me. If we don’t, we’ll never survive. It’s that simple. If there’s anything I’ve learned from years of failed relationships, it’s that communication problems are the number one issue. If we can’t talk through whatever is bothering us, then we’ll have a tough time. Usually, if we talk it out, we’ll see it’s not that bad after all.
- Tell me what he sees for his future. It’s important that we have a similar worldview and idea of what our futures hold. It’s okay if we have different goals, but if our paths look too different, that could be an irreparable conflict. We don’t want to push something that simply doesn’t work. We won’t know if it works or not unless we talk about it.
- Let himself be vulnerable with me. Communication involves emotional openness. To really get to a connected level, we have to embrace each other. We have to share our hopes, dreams, fears and flaws. We have to accept each other’s ugly in order to really care for one another. It’s frightening but there’s no other way to go.
- Accept, support and value my own vulnerability. I know how tough it is to be vulnerable because the most difficult thing for me is becoming emotionally open. It means I could be hurt, and I don’t deal well with being hurt. If I give him that part of myself, I need him to know what he’s getting and treat it with care. It’s rare that I show it to anyone.
- Let me know when I upset him. I don’t want to unintentionally cause a fight. If something I do or say makes him feel bad, I want him to tell me right away. When grudges and hurts seethe and stew below the surface it only means future issues. I don’t want either of us blindsided by pent-up anger from the other. It’s easily avoided.
- Don’t let communication issues tear us apart. I am going to do my damnedest not to let that happen, but I’m only one side of a two-way street. If he cares about me, then he should make an effort to keep the dialogue flowing smoothly. I’ve had my relationships fall apart too many times because the other person simply stopped trying.
- Don’t speak for both of us — I have a voice. The greatest disservice he can do me is assuming how I feel and making decisions on something that affects both of us without consulting me. It’s not fair and it’s not productive. I wouldn’t do that to him so he shouldn’t do it to me! Everything will be easier when we talk about it and come to a mutual decision.