How to Clear Up Misunderstandings in a Relationship

by Kristen Moutria

    If you and your significant other struggle with misunderstandings that cause distance in your relationship, you may feel frustrated and at a loss as to how to go about resolving them. Perhaps you inadvertently hurt your partner due to a misunderstanding, or your partner hurt you and you're trying to deal with the pain. By learning how to communicate with the one you love and becoming more in-tune with the meaning behind each other's words, you can enjoy a more fulfilling relationship.

    Listening more carefully to your partner is key to clearing up misunderstandings that are controlling your relationship. Instead of just waiting for him to stop talking so that you can contribute to the conversation, make it a point to focus on what he's saying. Listening is an important skill in developing and maintaining a relationship, notes the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cooperative Extension website. You should listen to try to understand, rather than focusing on how you want to respond to oppose what your partner is saying.

    Create mutual expectations in your relationship to clear up and avoid misunderstandings in the future. For example, you might agree on the type of environment you enjoy at home, or boundaries when it comes to communicating about past relationships. Furthermore, knowing how to best approach your loved one when it comes to challenging issues is beneficial to prevent misunderstandings, notes to Mim Abbey, an international consultant and coach, in a Huffington Post article, who also explains that most couples do not make verbalizing their expectations a priority.

    While text messaging and emails are popular ways of communicating, they can lead to misunderstandings in a relationship. It's hard to empathize and identify as a couple when you can't look into each other's eyes, notes Randi Gunther, clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, in a February 2011 "Psychology Today" article. If your partner misinterprets what you really meant in an email or text message, be sure to explain yourself and explain that you were rushing or didn't complete your thought because it was just a short message. You might want to agree to avoid communicating electronically in the future. If this is not an option, make sure to keep your electronic communication brief -- and do not bring up any major life issues in a text message.

    If your partner does something to confuse you or says something that hurts you, do not jump to conclusions about what her behavior or words mean. Perhaps she was trying to say something else, but failed to communicate properly. Be deliberate about giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Instead of reacting with anger because of something she said, take a step back and ask her what she meant by that particular statement. By not jumping to conclusions, you will clear up misunderstandings in your relationship, as well as learn to better understand each other.

    About the Author

    Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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