7 Signs You’re Not Being Heard and 7 Ways to Fix It
Are the lines of communication in your relationship getting a little choppy? Effectively speak your mind and be heard with these communication tips! By Danielle Anne Suleik
In a relationship, two people have needs that demand to be met. These are usually the things that are required from two people in a relationship, i.e. time, attention and affection. If you’re not willing to shell out on any of those, there’s no point in pursuing a relationship.
Every relationship is different, which means that there will be needs that are specially tailored to your loved one. It could be anything from a Sunday brunch ritual, flowers on every anniversary or even an STD check once a year. Who knows what people ask for these days? The important thing to remember is that you are entitled to a listening ear no matter what you want to ask your partner.
When your relationship reaches a point where you keep on asking for the same thing over and over but never see any results, it might be time to rearrange your priorities and demand a sit-down session with your partner.
What are you saying that’s not getting through?
It’s amazing how people have managed to develop this “white noise” mechanism and perfected it to a point. If they don’t like what you’re saying, they can simply zone out and face the repercussions when your voice increases a decibel or two, after they commit the next offense.
Before you complain that your partner is not listening to you, are you sure that what you’re saying is important enough to them? There is a very thin line between nagging and expressing yourself empathically. And we all know how most of us can become a bit agitated sometimes.
Things you really need to talk about with your partner
You have to be sure that what you’re saying needs to be heard because you both will be better off for it. If what you have to say is designed to demean, attack, manipulate or even annoy your partner, then please just shut up. So, what are the things worth talking about?
#1 A bad habit. If your partner is messy, comes home drunk all the time, keeps spouting off derogatory remarks or just has a host of bad habits, you really need to speak up about it. [Read: 16 silly but detrimental habits that can ruin your relationship]
#2 Spouse/Partner duties. Let’s face it. There is no such thing as complacency in a relationship. There are some things that need to be acknowledged and done in a relationship like remembering anniversaries, meeting your family and friends or just being affectionate when the time calls for it.
#2 Work decisions. Because you are in a relationship, you have to understand that huge decisions need to be discussed because it might affect both of you. It could be a promotion that requires longer hours or being required to relocate to a different area.
#3 The future. Relationships reach a point where you both need to discuss what your plans are. This is very important because it can determine whether you two are on the same page, and if you’re willing to compensate for each other’s plans and goals.
#4 Grave offenses. This includes cheating, physical/emotional/verbal abuse, excessively repeated offenses and any other behavior that harms or aggravates your partner.
These topics are generalized, so it’s up to you to decide whether what you want to talk about is worth fighting for. If it’s simply because you’re annoyed about their nail-biting or don’t like the shirt they plan on wearing to work, don’t bother. That is something that will be acknowledged when it starts to become important.
Signs your partner isn’t hearing you out
Your main problem here is whether your partner considers your essential needs as a priority. If they don’t, then it is definitely time to make them hear what you have to say. But how can you make them listen if you’re not sure whether they are ready to hear you or not?
#1 They have subjective memory loss. When you partner keeps forgetting what you asked, but remembers all of their friends’ birthdays, anniversaries and promotion dinners, they’re not listening to you.
#2 They become busy whenever you start to talk. If you really want to get your partner to do their chores, just tell them that you want to talk. They usually remember something that they forgot to fix or do whenever you attempt to discuss something that they don’t want to be a part of.
#3 They continue to repeat their offenses and are quick to apologize immediately after. This could be a sign that they have no intention of changing their minds on the subject. Apologies are well and good if they are sincere. If they are used to deflect anger and admonishments, then your demands probably mean nothing to them.
#4 They prefer to argue about the issue until you get tired. They know you’re going to stop hounding them eventually. All they have to do is speed the process up. Agitating you to the point of silence usually works. [Read: How to perfect the silent treatment in a way that can help your relationship]
#5 They compare your situation to other people. Just because your friends’ problems have been resolved in a different way does not mean that you have to do the exact same thing. Not all of your problems are similar. Your partner just wants to validate that other people are doing the right thing in order to prove that you’re wrong.
#6 They sleep on it. They will always promise to think about it or handle it the next morning, the next week or the next month. When the deadline keeps getting moved, you’re in trouble. They probably have no desire to handle the situation at all, and are just stalling for time until you get tired of the issue.
#7 They lash out and make you feel bad about it. Some people think the only way to avoid a problem is to face it head on and make sure that you are left not knowing what hit you. Forceful confrontations can take a lot out of a person and can sometimes push you to defeat. A partner like this is not worth staying with, let alone worth talking to. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts to remember when arguing in a relationship]
How can you make your partner listen?
If there is still a chance that you can fix your problems by convincing your partner to listen to you, you might be able to get through to them by using other means such as the following.
#1 Show them what will happen if they don’t listen. It’s easy to say, but pretty hard to put into action, right? Wrong. There are a lot of ways you can emphasize your opinions and requests. Show your partner that you mean business.
If they don’t want to wash the dishes, stop cooking, hide the glasses or place them all on his desk. If it’s about an important decision, give them helpful links, articles or pamphlets about it. You’ll find your own method once you really decide to show your partner that you are serious.
#2 Reverse psychology. The secret is out, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not effective anymore. You just have to amp your game up by never relenting. There’s nothing more annoying than someone who keeps pointing out that you’re not doing something by telling you that you don’t have to do anything.
#3 Schedule an intervention. Nothing makes a person more agreeable than a whole crowd of people urging them to do something positively. If you can’t do it on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people you love.
#4 Give a presentation. Don’t bother with the PowerPoint slides on this one. All you need to do is present your case the way you would in a business-oriented setting. Show your partner how they can benefit from your request or idea instead of forcing it on them. Make sure that you emphasize the point that they will be helping you a lot instead of just doing their job as your partner. [Read: 9 ways to master the art of constructive criticism]
#5 Ask them why they aren’t listening. The best way to solve a problem that involves another person is to put yourself in their shoes. If you can’t put your finger on what’s bothering them, ask them sincerely. They might be going through something that they’re reluctant to share with you because of your unresolved problems. [Read: Could your over-analyzing be sabotaging your relationship?]
#6 Give yourself some space. Sometimes, there’s just no getting through to people – for the time being. Try to put yourself in a different environment so you can get a new perspective on the situation. Who knows? Your partner might constitute your absence or distance as an alarming situation and proceed to do exactly what you asked. You’re not being manipulative. You’re just giving yourselves time to assess the situation and find the best way to deal with it.
#7 Give an ultimatum. If worse comes to worst, your best bet is to give an ultimatum. If you feel so strongly about the issue that you can’t handle it not being resolved, tell your partner that they either need to listen or else. You can go ahead and go through with your plans without their input or tell them that you won’t tolerate any more of their negativity. You don’t necessarily have to leave your partner, but there’s no point in staying with someone who doesn’t care enough about you to pay attention to your needs.
Couples go through a slew of problems in the span of their relationship because it helps them learn about each other and teach them something new in return. You are supposed to be better off after you resolved a problem. You can’t dwell on something for an extended period of time because it limits you and your partner.
Relationships are designed to grow, if both people are willing to make it happen. In order for you to learn new things, you need to listen to each other. When that stops, there’s no telling what can happen when you’re subjected to reading between the lines instead of expressing yourselves directly to each other.
Just make sure that you are being heard and that you are also willing to listen. When your partner realizes that you genuinely want to work things out, they will be more willing to meet you halfway. Use these tips to help you and your partner reach a compromise or find a mutually beneficial solution when it comes to communicating with each other.