By Dan Callan
“Communicate or die”. Those were the wise words of my former basketball coach. Although it was in the context of a team sport, I think the same can be said in the context of a relationship.
While a lack of communication between two people won’t lead to literal death (hopefully!), it can lead to the death of the relationship.
People say that communication is the “lifeline” or “oxygen” of a relationship. If a relationship is a living thing, it needs a constant dose of communication in order to grow and thrive.
So why does communication break down?
We can be afraid of arguments.
We can sometimes believe that when arguments occur within a relationship, the best way to try and prevent them in the future is to avoid sensitive subjects, or to simply keep conversation at a very superficial level.
While this may temporarily prevent awkward and painful situations, it actually stifles the growth and development of a relationship.
We don’t bring things up because we’re worried about offending our partner.
It takes courage to bring up something that could potentially hurt your partner’s feelings.
But if nothing is said, a small problem that could have been solved with a short conversation can potentially grow into a much larger issue that can be a lot more problematic to deal with.
So early communication about things you feel are important in the relationship can build trust and understanding between you, as long as they’re said in a positive and caring way.
We can forget the importance of communication.
It’s easy when we feel comfortable in a relationship to stop doing the things we used to do at the beginning.
Things like taking an interest in their day, telling them they look nice, offering to help them with something.
They’re all things which are easy to do when we first get together with someone. We want to impress them, and we’re crazy in love! You would do anything for them!
Keeping this going as the relationship goes deeper is a bit more difficult… but it’s really worth it.
So what can you do?
Just because there has been a breakdown in a relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should end it.
What matters is if you both recognise it, and how the two of you respond to it. Try and open up those lines of communication again. This may feel awkward and fake at first, but it will pay off and become more natural over time, with patience.
And get help if you want it.
There is nothing shameful in reaching out to family, friends, even couples counselling if you feel you need it. It helps to have a neutral third party around to maybe see a bit more clearly what’s been going on. And there’s always the Status Get Help page, for organisations you can talk to about things.
As with all issues that happen within relationships, it could take a bit of work.
But if you love each other, it’ll definitely be worth it.