Do you feel unhappy in your relationship?
If the answer is yes, chances are the way you’re relaying your unhappiness might be exacerbating the problems. Learning how to communicate unhappiness in a relationship so that you and your partner can hear each other is paramount.
Here are five ways on how to improve communication, for a healthier, happier relationship.
Think about it
It’s important to express how you’re feeling, but before you communicate your unhappiness to your partner, be sure you’ve thought about what you want to say.
Yes—this might be obvious, but as an online sex coach, I’ve noticed that people tend to forget this in the heat of the moment.
You might feel irritated with your partner because they forgot to put away the dishes, and suddenly, you’re having a full-blown argument where you’re, letting your partner know just how unhappy you are and how much it’s their fault.
In the moment, it feels good to get it off your chest, but you might realize later that you hurt your partner, and that the argument didn’t resolve anything. Things didn’t get better, and you didn’t get to the root of your unhappiness.
Putting some thought into it means working out:
a) what’s making you unhappy
b) what you think you want instead
c) how you believe you can both get there.
Communicating these three things will help eliminate the risk of conflict and help you have a more positive and fruitful conversation that leads to a happier, healthier relationship.
Think of the “how”
We often spend so much time thinking about how we want things to be, that there’s little time or energy left to consider how exactly to communicate the changes we desire.
This can backfire—because our partner doesn’t only hear the arguing—they hear the words we choose and how we say them.
In fact, our body language says a lot to our partner, and that’s why it’s important to learn how to improve your nonverbal communication in your relationship, as well.
Your partner may read your physical expression as aggression, so they’re more likely to feel attacked, making them take the defense, and keeping you both from making any real improvement.
In order for your partner to hear you, you need to take how you say things into account, both with your words and your body language.
This involves being willing to accept part of the blame—not because you need to, but because it’s true.
When you feel unhappy in your relationship, it might feel easy to blame your partner. You convince yourself that believe they’re the only reason certain areas of your relationship are less than great.
The reality is that unhappiness in a relationship is often the cause of two people (providing the issue isn’t about abuse, of course. This is never the responsibility of the partner being abused).
Accepting responsibility for your relationship and communicating that to your loved one can happen in many ways. You could try saying:
“I understand I’m difficult to approach when I’m in a bad mood, and that this causes you to withdraw, even if what I truly want is closeness.”
“I feel upset when you don’t want sex and because I was never taught how to deal with sadness, I turn to anger instead and lash out at you. I’m sorry.”
These examples consider both of your reactions and your perception of what happened. This gives your partner a chance to understand your behaviour and to understand how their behaviour affects you.
When you accept part of the blame and take responsibility, you encourage your partner to do the same. This is a great way of how to communicate unhappiness in a relationship, and an opportunity for connection.
Do it face-to-face
When we experience difficulties in our relationship or marriage, we may want to communicate this via text or email. This doesn’t have to be a bad idea, but it’s not usually the best way to go.
We might do this to avoid emotional intensity or connection—the very thing we might be needing to experience with our partner so that we can both feel happy and satisfied.
Texting your partner about your frustration with their lack of effort around the house or their low libido might feel easier in the moment; you can text, put away your phone, and (seemingly) avoid conflict. More often than not, communicating something serious and potentially hurtful through text leads to more conflict down the line.
Remember, our partners hear so much more than just the content alone. It’s the way we say what we say, both with our tone of voice, and with our body language. Both help our partners understand how we’re feeling and what we really want.
When we’re face to face, we can better understand our partner’s reaction and carefully choose what we say so that our words perhaps hurt less or are heard better.
Even if we’re communicating something negative or difficult, doing it in person can make the conversation more unifying.
Do it more than once
When thinking about how to communicate unhappiness in a relationship, you’ll want to make sure this isn’t just one conversation.
This doesn’t mean you ought to tell your partner how unhappy you are every moment of every day (that’s more like a fast track to separation!). It does, however, mean that you’ll need to follow up with each other to see how things are going.
It means connecting about the issue at hand and communicating how you’re both contributing to solving it.
I have rarely seen couples who have solved a problem overnight or after one conversation. It takes time, dedication, and effort. So don’t be surprised if one or both of you fall off the wagon or get lost on the way—that’s part of the process, and it’s okay.
How to communicate unhappiness in a relationship is about five things:
We all experience tough times, no matter how great our relationship or marriage is. How we get through these difficult times is what determines how strong and tenacious a relationship is and will be over time.
If you’re serious about making a change in your relationship and really want your partner to hear you (who doesn’t, right?), you’ll want to think about the following five things:
>> Clearly explain what’s causing the unhappiness, what you want instead, and possible solutions.
>> Think about the words you choose and your body language when telling your partner the above.
>> Accept responsibility and partial blame for the problems that are causing your unhappiness. Not because it’s the right thing to do—but because you actually can see your part in it.
>> Communicate your unhappiness in person.
>> Talk about the problem/s more than once and revisit how your progress is going.
It’s hard talking about problems, but the best way of getting the relationship you want is learning how to communicate unhappiness in a relationship so your partner truly can hear you.