Communication Is Not the Key
Yes, you read that correctly! People always say communication is the key to improving your relationship, but clearly, that’s not true. We’re already always communicating. Yelling is communicating, abuse is communicating, the raised eyebrows of countless unsaid criticisms are communicating, unfulfilled sex is communicating, and bickering over who didn’t put the top on the peanut butter jar or why the toothpaste was squeezed the wrong way is communicating. And we can probably agree that little of any of that helps to improve relationships, feel close, or have great sex.
The real key is honest, positive communication that renders your relationship better for both of you, so that you feel more understood, appreciated, connected, bonded, trusting, and/or turned-on. However, honest, positive communication does not always mean being nice. It does mean learning how to be truthful about your own needs without purposely being hurtful, and actively listening to what your partner has to say without getting wounded every time he or she tells you something you would rather not hear.
Truth and authenticity are never easy to achieve--they require a fairly good understanding of yourself and the courage to reveal your inner workings. Everyone wants to feel understood, especially by his or her lover. But since few of us understand ourselves all of the time, how do we learn to help our partners understand us, no less learn how to better understand them? It is a process that requires practice and possibly help. If this were something you could learn in ten easy steps, everyone would be doing it overnight. The truth is that honest, positive communication takes much skill, awareness, effort, and sometimes also the help of a good counselor or therapist; most new learning takes some guidance.