Do you have difficulty discussing your feelings with the people you care about? If so, you might be part of the 10% of the population who suffers from a condition known as “alexithymia,” which means an inability to find words for emotions.
Perhaps it’s the other way around, and your other half is the one who bolts at the slightest hint of a “touchy, feely” conversation.
In either case, the good news is, verbally expressing your feelings isn’t the only way, or even necessarily the best way, to maintain a happy, healthy and meaningful relationship.
Let’s take a look at 4 simple ways you can improve your emotional communication and strengthen your romantic relationships without ever even having to mention the word feelings.
Engage in small talk.
Discussing the weather or recounting the details of the workday may seem insignificant, but many experts believe that these little things can actually improve emotional connections. In fact, recent research suggests that the seemingly “mundane and often fleeting moments” that are a part of a couple’s everyday life actually have a greater impact on the relationship than deep conversations about feelings. Asking about those small, day-to-day details lets your partner know you’re interested and that you care about them.
It doesn’t have to be a lavish vacation or even a formal date. In fact, similar to the power of small talk, sharing the seemingly insignificant experiences in life with your loved one can help you both feel closer. And don’t worry. If you’re not up for small talk, shared experiences don’t even have to necessarily involve words. One report by Psychological Science showed that “words are not necessary for the shared feelings to improve a relationship.” Sometimes just being in each other’s presence can be enough.
In many cases, just feeling heard by your partner can cement the connection between you. A great way to accomplish this is to engage in a practice called “active listening.” That is, acknowledging that you’re not only hearing what your loved one is saying, but that you understand it as well. Active listening often involves stopping the other person to ask for clarification as well as reiterating what’s been said to make sure you’re on the same page. This validates the other person and demonstrates that you genuinely care.
Once you’ve found what works, replicate it.
As you become aware of some of the mundane conversations and day-to-day activities that help you both to feel more connected, make an effort to increase the opportunities to do so. For instance, watching TV, listening to music, cooking dinner or running errands together may seem insignificant on the surface, but if they make you feel closer to one another, they’re worth doing more often. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Need help with learning to communicate better with your partner or loved one? We can help! Feel free contact The Dell Center for Therapy office at (801) 447-2666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today!