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How to Improve Communication in Your Relationship: Couples Therapist Shares Five Biggest Communication Mistakes Couples Make

As a couples therapist, I spend most of my work day helping people improve communication in their relationships. People often have the best intentions, but they can end up making the same mistakes over and over. The good news? These mistakes are just as easy to fix as they are to make. This article will cover the five biggest communication mistakes I see couples make and provide practical advice on how to avoid them.

paper cutouts of two head silhouettes with hearts moving out of one and into the other

1. Ignoring the Problem 🫣

One of the most common mistakes I see is couples ignoring the problem. Clients can often list everything wrong in their relationship, but when asked how much they have communicated to their partner, the answer is usually "almost none of it" or that they've only hinted at it.

You need to clearly identify what's going on in your mind and communicate it to your partner. You can't assume your partner knows what you're thinking unless you tell them. This means being direct and honest about your feelings. For example, instead of hinting or hoping your partner picks up on subtle clues, try saying, "I feel hurt when you don't respond to my texts because it makes me feel unimportant."

2. Making Accusations or Assumptions 📣

Another significant mistake is making accusations or assumptions. Telling your partner why they did something or what you think they meant by their actions can lead to defensiveness and conflict. Instead, focus on how their actions impacted you.

For instance, if you feel ignored during a conversation, avoid saying, "You're ignoring me, and it's rude." Instead, try, "I feel hurt when it seems like you're not listening to me. Are you thinking about something else?" This approach opens up a dialogue and invites your partner to share their perspective without feeling attacked.

3. Interrupting 🙅🏼‍♀️

Interrupting is another common issue. Sometimes, we are so anxious to get our point across that we tune out our partners and talk over them. Interrupting can also happen internally when we are so focused on what we want to say next that we stop listening.

It's crucial to listen actively and validate what your partner is saying. By doing so, you empower yourself to understand your partner's perspective better. For example, if your partner is expressing frustration about a stressful day, resist the urge to interrupt with your own story. Instead, listen and respond with empathy, like, "That sounds really tough. I'm sorry you had such a hard day."

4. Fixating on Unnecessary Details 📍

Couples often get caught up arguing about the timeline or irrelevant details of an event instead of addressing the underlying feelings. This fixation can derail productive conversations. Instead of focusing on specifics like the exact time or place of an argument, concentrate on the emotions involved. By doing so, you can experience a significant relief in your relationship. Ask questions like, "How did that situation make you feel?" or "What can we do differently next time to avoid this conflict?" This shifts the focus from blame to understanding and resolution.

5. Not Asking Enough Questions 🧐

Lastly, many couples fail to ask enough questions and show curiosity about their partner's perspective. If you're not curious about your partner's thoughts and feelings, it can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities for connection.

Approach every conflict as a chance to learn more about your partner. Ask open-ended questions like, "What was going through your mind when that happened?" or "How can I support you better in this situation?" This shows that you value their perspective and are willing to work together to find solutions.

Interested in learning more? Book a Free Consultation with a Couples Therapist Today!

During this consultation, you'll have the opportunity to discuss your relationship concerns and learn more about how we can help. It's a no-pressure, confidential conversation to help you decide if couples therapy is right for you.

Philosophie Therapy is based out of Jacksonville, FL and is able to provide couples counseling to anyone who resides in the state of Florida. Feel free to review more information about our couples counseling services, pricing, and frequently asked questions, or click the link below to schedule a free phone consultation with a couples therapist. We are here to answer any and all questions you may have about therapy for yourself or your partner!


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