Your relationship...
questions but not getting any answers?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I'm often asked about how on earth you can really get through to your partner! 

  • Why doesn't he or she do or say something?
  • Why doesn't he or she understand?  
  • Why doesn't he or she do what I asked so politely (or not!), so often?
  • Why can't he or she see how much this or that hurts me?  

I totally understand you'd want - and need - direct answers to these kind of relationship questions!

However, only you can get closer to the answer by honing your own communication skills and your own attitude towards your partner.

The more comfortable he or she feels (i.e. the less threatened) the more they are likely to reveal of themselves.

So, let's get you set up with some excellent listening skills...

woman talking to man - 'talking to the wall'

Don't interrogate...

Rather than asking all kinds of relationship questions, you're likely to get much more interaction and information by listening.

When you're ready to have that important or difficult conversation:

10 Ways to fine-tune your listening skills

  1. Face your partner from a slight angle
  2. Make eye contact without staring, and break every now and then
  3. Match your body position a little -– the angle of your spine, arms and legs
  4. Avoid fidgeting as it's distracting - settle yourself in a comfortable, familiar position
  5. Match your tone of voice and pitch subtly to your partner
  6. Match your speed of talking just a little Be open and inviting, relaxed and positive
  7. Suspend any judgements - remember everything you see, hear or feel is feedback (provided you are safe of course!)
  8. Blend anything that you now learn with your own natural style - you're already as unique as the stars. Why be any different?
  9. LISTEN - most of all - stay quiet, bite your tongue, your time will come

No mean feat sticking to all that, I know. However, all these points help to build rapport. Your partner will start to really feel that you're making a connection with him or her and that you're genuinely interested.

Building rapport is a skill most people are born with - to a degree. It's part of our genetic heritage. It means really connecting with someone.

Just by building rapport and listening, you'll be taking the wind out of someone sails (if needs be)!

Couple - close togetherYou could, of course, be whispering 'sweet nothings'! ;-)

What if you've 'messed up' before?

It's very likely that you've made mistakes - haven't we all!  If you've let the side down with shouts, manipulation, put-downs and stone-walling, then it's going to take some determination and persistence with your new-found skills. It will probably take a little while before your partner 'gets' it, and for him or her to remain calm and communicate well.

In this case - start the conversation with something like: "I know I've handled this very poorly on previous occasions, but I'll do all I can to do better this time."

Of course, when you've set that expectation, you need to work extra hard to fulfil it. Otherwise you're back to square one and you still won't get your relationship questions answered.

How to become an advanced listener

Here are some really important tips on listening skills that will help you to get your relationship questions answered, when your partner just isn't talking...

8 Advanced listening skills

  1. Concentrate on what he or she is saying - don't allow yourself to become distracted. Stay relaxed though!
  2. Ask questions gently, don'’t interrogate or ‘interview’. Start your questions with how, what, when, where.
  3. Be very careful with 'why' though - it may reveal a criticism
  4. Ask him or her to expand a little: "Can you say a little more about that?" Highlight any feelings you pick up: "You sound angry/hurt".
  5. Leave space for the other person to gather their thoughts
  6. Avoid filling in silences too quickly
  7. Don'’t form counter-arguments in your head whilst listening
  8. Listen out for any clues to underlying problems (without jumping to conclusions - always check your suspicions first)

Remember - you can spoil all your great attempts by:

  • judging
  • jumping to conclusion
  • making assumptions
  • making critical comments

When you have burning relationship questions, these conversation killers will prevent you getting any decent answers. Instead you're likely to end up with an argument. Not what you wanted at all!

So, now you've learned to listen, but are you having trouble truly understanding your partner's answers to your relationship questions?

What to do and say when you don't Understand Your Partner in Part 3...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Elly Prior

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