Post # 1
I am curious to know how you deal with different communication styles when it comes to your significant other. I do not handle conflict well and can be a bit, um, emotional, so whenever we have a little bit of conflict, I CRY! This, in turn, makes my finace frustrated and the little issue turns into something much bigger than it should. Is anyone else like this? How do you deal with it? We do not have a lot of conflict so whenever we do, it’s always a little traumatic.
Post # 3
My fiance is very “engineery” everything has to be exact and to the point. Vagueness does not work. Slowly we have begun to decifer eachother “language” and how to talk in a way that the other person will understand. It takes time but it works in the end.
Post # 4
I think the first step in achieving open communication in a relationship is to determine how each person communicates and deals with problems or stress. It is a little different for each couple depending on the individual personalities, but one thing I have realized is that you can’t get upset over those differences. You need to understand the other person, but most of all you need to understand yourself. If you can recognize what you as an individual needs to do, it becomes easier to approach the other person and figure out the problem. You have to move past your own defense mechanisms (whether it is to ignore it or get emotional or whatever!) in order to open the lines of communication. But it is a two-way street!
I know we are both stubborn people, but I first don’t talk about it and then I get emotional and upset because I feel like he is ignoring me when really he thinks I am ignoring him. Well that gets us no where! Communication is something you have to continually work on, and all you can do is keep trying.
Post # 5
I cry too! It’s just how I deal with things. If I’m angry, stressed, sad, overwhelmed, really happy – I cry. We’ve been together 5 years and at this point he understands that that’s just how I deal with things. It’s kind of strange to say, but my crying doens’t really effect him anymore. We’re able to continue our conversation even if I’m crying. I don’t know how long you’ve been together, but over time it got easier for us. Maybe he’ll get used to it? If I’m REALLY upset about something, it’s best if I leave the room, let myself cry and get it all out, then return to work through whatever it was that we were discussing.
Post # 6
I agree that over time it will get easier. I’m pretty… dramatic, and emotional. And sometimes I just need to moan and whine and cry and get it out. Early in our relationship, Fiance would try to “fix” things- to him, there was an answer to my problem and it was easy, so why even be upset. However, to me, I didn’t care at that point if there was an answer or not- I just needed to get my feelings out. And in pointing out the answer, I became insulted because I felt my feelings were being dismissed, and that he thought I was stupid for not coming up with the obvious answer.
He doesn’t do that anymore, he waits for my to ask for advice if I need it. It takes time and some explaining. It may be helpful to talk about your communication styles when there’s no arguement going on, so you can know where each other is coming from before there’s any conflict.
Post # 7
i cry too. But i tend to not be dramatic about it, tears just come out! But we are amazing at communicating (we’ve worked HARD at it!)
I think the most important thing is catching things like that before they escalate. Like maybe something will happen, then you’ll cry, then he’ll get frustrated, then you’ll get angry and defensive because he’s frustrated, then all of a sudden it’s world war 3! But if that same thing happens OVER and OVER – the best thing you can do is talk about that pattern when it’s not happening. Like now! Anytime. Say “I see we have this pattern and let’s work on it” – at any step of that process, someone can try and be a bit self-reflective and not react to the other person. So that can mean you not crying (or crying but saying calmly, “I’m sorry I’m crying, let’s talk about this calmly and just ignore my tears!”) or he can try to not get frustrated. Or you can not get defensive and angry when he gets frustrated (because after all, after all this time, you should be able to anticipate it..). Any break in that pattern will cause things to be WAY less traumatic, but again it takes work. I’d say definitely talk to him about it when you’re both calm and not reactive and see if you can work out what’s behind it. Why do you cry? Why does that make him angry? What can you both do to keep the mood a little more even-keel when these things come up, which they always do?
It takes practice, but after a while you WILL get better at it if you work on it.
Post # 8
Sorry you’re going through this!! I’ve had very similar issues with my husband. What we have found works best is to try and take a step back when things get tense, and then do whatever we really don’t want to do. For example, if I really want to get away from him, then I try and stay present and connected. If he wants to yell, he tries to take a deep breath and calm down. It helps to keep from reacting too quickly (often without all the facts), and to make more intentional choices about how we want to react.
Post # 9
Thank you all for your words of wisdom! You are all so thoughtful and smart and give such great advice!
@lilybee: I’m the same way! I cry for all those reasons too. Especially if I’m extra tired or when I have PMS. My fiance and I have been together for 2 years so, hopefully, at 5 years, he’ll have learned not to get so freaked out when I cry over little things.
@MissBoston: Same here. It’s not dramatic crying. It’s just that I get teary-eyed and then he’ll ask why I’m crying and it can then lead to what you described so well! It doesn’t happen often. Most of the time he doesn’t get frustrated when I cry, but it seems to happen when I’ve gone through this whole process of thinking about something and the final result in my head makes me teary eyed and he doesn’t get how what we were talking about led to me to get upset. I’m encouraged by how you have worked hard and are now able to have really good communication in situations like these.
Really, we hardly ever fight so we just need to figure out better communication skills for those times when we do. It really is in how we respond and frame things. The actual issue that led to me posting this, was quite small and we resolved it pretty quickly. If I had addressed the issue rather than over-analyzing things and crying, it would have never become a disagreement. Sometimes it’s just really helpful and encouraging to know how other couples deal with things like this.
Post # 10
I’m glad I found this post.
@MissBoston: This is exactly what happens to me/us. No dramatic crying, just tears. But tears leads to his frustration and then I get defensive and this triggers off his somewhat short temper. It always plays out this way. We don’t even fight about anything when this happens, we both just get our backs up and fight about the fact that we have our backs up! I’m not sure if you can help me, but what my problem is, is the reason I get teary eyed is because I react to his tone of voice. He could be being super passionate about something, but I always take his “passionate” tone as anger… when it’s not!! Or because I talk MUCH more than he does, I often feel as if i’m asking too many questions or something, and mistake his tone of voice for annoyance to my question asking. So then his tone triggers my tears, and well you know the rest from there. So what happens is we are not even fighting about anything, just end up arguing about how I get defensive after him getting frustrated after me crying after listening to his absolutely non-fight related tone of voice. Does that make sense?? I don’t even know how to explain it as I’ve never talked about it to anyone other than him before. We’ve been together for 2 years and for some reason this is not something I can get past. He tells me he never wants me to change (as in even tho my tears frustrate him cause he always thinks he is doing something wrong, he would never change my soft heartedness, nor does he think I ask too many questions). Everything else in our relationship is perfect, there is no possible way he could love me any more than he does, and vice versa. However I am afraid this never ending cycle will lead him to give up on me one day, which also brings me to tears. If I feel like our converstaion is headed that way, I will start crying, because I’m afriad that our cycle will make him exhausted… and with that, there it goes again. And because we both anticipate this to keep happening, we often have our backs up anyways when we talk about something, which sometimes leaves me afraid to talk or ask too many questions out of fear of starting a fight, because if it’s at the wrong time and he replies with an equivalent tone of voice, I will get defensive (ex when he is in work mode [he is a music producer and works from home so I could forget and bombard him about toilet paper being on sale when he is in the middle of mixing a super important track] he may reply in a tone of voice that says that is not necessary right now, totally understandable).
Please tell me you can relate so that I do not feel I am being ridiculous haha. We do try to talk about this when we’re calm, however I think we just end up defending ourselves and we don’t get very far. I don’t know what to do. We love each other so much and will probably be getting married soon, but this is the one thing I want gone before we get married, and eventually have kids. I would never want to bring kids into the world and have them growing up thinking we are always fighting.