Communication is necessary part of human function. However, various forms of language, words (and how they mean to an individual), are common predicaments in having good communication. In polyamory, that is needed the most. When two people are struggling for equal communicatory ground, how can one other person be invited in that with their own voice and needs? It ends up with a dangerously uneven balance of power and relationship.
Is communication really necessary? To put it bluntly, yes, it is needed. You can say you trust a person, but if they are disrespecting things you communicated previously (i.e: boundaries, certain fears, needs, etc), then in a small way that is chipping away at your trust. Especially if you are finding yourself growing resentful of it.
Recognize your own communication style. Are you a talker? Do you just like to get things on the table and leave it at that? Do you need feedback? Also, ask your partner to recognize their communication style. Do they need time to observe and evaluate their own feelings? If so, can they get back to you later? If you and your partner have vastly different communication styles, here’s what you can do:
First, you have to meet eachother in the middle. If your partner is a Quiet introspective processor, and you’re a Talker, agree to some of the following: The Quiet one will tell their Talker partner to give them time. The Talker will respect that and give them time. The Quiet one will then notify the Talker when zi is done introspecting, and able to let the Talker do their talking. During which if the Quiet would like to share their introspects with the Talker, that would be appreciated. If the Talker needs feedback, the Quiet one should either explain and/or reassure [in case of miscommunication] of what the intention was. Here’s some basic do’s and don’ts in relationships. I’ll be giving you homework at the end!
DO: Use I statements.
Example: “I feel hurt when you talk about how cute some other girl is.”
DON’T: Use negative, accusatory language.
Example: “You always talk about how hot other girls are.”
DO: Seperate your evaluations from your observations.
Example: “I see that you wait to study the night before an exam. This worries me,
because you end up stressed.”
DON’T: Use your evaluations instead of observations.
Example: “You are such a procrastinator, no wonder you’re stressed.”
DO: Use specific incidents, and explain your feelings.
Example: “I was feeling insecure, because I think those girls are prettier than me.
When you talked about them at the restaurant, it furthered my insecurity.”
DON’T: Be vague, and not know your own feelings.
Example: “All you do is say how pretty other girls are, you’re such a pig.”
DO: Let yourself feel your feelings. Be honest.
DON’T: Act differently than how you feel because you’re worried
about hurting your partner(s).
DO: Explain your feelings. Explain your needs.
Example: “I feel insecure, like I am ugly. I really would appreciate it
if you maybe gave me a compliment.”
DON’T: Assume your partner(s) know what you’re feeling,
and how they are supposed to react.
Example: “Why am I upset? Well, you know what you did. You
should be sorry!”
DO: Be clear about what you are saying.
Example: “These are my boundaries.”
DON’T: Let things become “no biggie”.
Example: “Well, my partner might have forgotten that this
act is going against my boundaries, or pushing my boundaries.
It’s okay if I don’t speak up.”
Two great books for you and your partner(s) to get are: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall B. Rosenberg Ph.D. and Barton Goldsmith‘s “Emotional Fitness for Couples” and/or “Emotional Fitness for Intimacy”. Please let yourself have a good, happy, and communicative relationship. Not a relationshit.