Q. I have been in a relationship for years. We started as friends. We saw each other on an almost daily basis in social settings and the chemistry was real. We started a relationship that was very physical and it has been great, although it has hurt me a lot because we lack deep communication. There is a certain level of comfort and familiarity yet it has never gotten deeper. It is hard to reframe at this point as neither of us is good at communicating on this level. What are some steps we can take at improving our communication?
A. Your question actually cut off here, so I’m going to leap to the assumption that you want to know how you and your new partner can get better about communicating on a deeper level.
First, take some time to educate yourself on communication styles and the different ways in which you may be able to get a little bit deeper with him. If that doesn’t work, then you need to sit down and have an uncomfortable conversation about needs.
We all need to communicate in order to build better relationships. Let your partner know that you enjoy your relationship and your time with them, but you need a little more. Be clear, and concise. Encourage them by letting them know you can set a slow pace and dip your toes into this new experience together.
Keep in mind that your partner is not beholden to any of this. You may be dealing with someone who doesn’t want to communicate, or someone who doesn’t have the tools to communicate the way you need. If that’s the case, you have to prioritize this need and figure out if foregoing it altogether is worth the pain you’re feeling right now. Short of asking someone to do something for you once or twice, you can’t force them to change their behavior.
You deserve to have a partner that is willing to grow with you, and that includes learning how to be open and deep with you — even if neither of you know how to do that in the beginning.
Hope this was some help! Remember: self-respect and self-esteem will lead you to the right answer if you get stuck.