You Gotta Talk, Darling! – Conscious Communication in Relationships
I am a good listener: I don’t judge and I am open-minded. I don’t start talking about myself when someone shares their struggles with me. Genuinely, I like to listen and validate other people’s emotions. But one thing that I sometimes struggle with is to not give advice. I am of the strong opinion that everyone is quite aware of their options and a lot of times, we are just nor read to face the reality of that those are our only options. And that is okay. I want everyone to make their own choices. I want to empower them to think for themselves. But oh boy, sometimes, I can’t hold back because the solution is so very simple. Let me give you an example!
Are They Cheating On Me?
A friend of mine sends me a text asking if I am around. I reply a couple of minutes later and ask what’s up. They begin telling me how they are worried that something is up with their partner. They have been acting weirdly and they are not as intimate as they used to be. And there have been some observable changes in their behaviour: they come home from work later and later each day. They have stopped caring about date nights and more often than not, they stay up late during the nights, surfing the net.
So my friend asks if I think their partner is cheating on them. As the good listener that I am, I validate that it is understandable that they are wondering that something is up because of the changes in behaviour. Instead of telling them my opinion, I focus on what my friend thinks. I mean, they know their partner best, who am I to suggest anything? An hour later and we haven’t gotten anywhere. My friend is stuck in thinking that their partner is cheating on them.
So I ask the obvious question: how do you think you can find out if what is going on with them? – Obvious question. And they come up with all sort of schemes. They could steal their partner’s phone and go through their texts.Or maybe they could check where their partner have been after work. They could check their internet browser history. I feel myself getting more and more frustrated. I had thought that the answer to my obvious question was similarly obvious. But my friend didn’t want to face the one option that would sort the whole situation: communicate and ask them what is going on. Eventually I give in, and suggest just that. My friend thinks that would be wrong to do, and would maybe only lead to a fight. They don’t want to stir things up.
A couple of weeks later, their partner ends up in the hospital after a suicide attempt. There had been no cheating. They had been stressed out by work and that had triggered a bipolar depression in them. Neither of them had opened a safe channel for communication because they had been afraid of vulnerability and being a nuisance.
Mind-Reading is Impossible
See, it took me a long time to realize that however well I can read people, I can’t know what exactly is on their minds. It doesn’t matter how high your emotional intelligence is, you can’t read someone’s mind. But I also was stuck in the rut most people end up at one point during their lifetime: I was in relationships where communication was filtered and dishonest. I am not talking about lying: instead there are half-truths and euphemisms. How are you doing? – I am fine. Did you enjoy the sex today? – Yes, it was lovely. How was your day? – It was alright. We have all been there.
Why do we end up not talking about what is really going on with us? Why don’t we ask more probing questions? I think the answer is pretty simple: fear. We are scared that vulnerability makes an easy target for hurt. There is the fear to seem weak, weird or rude. We don’t want to make the other person uncomfortable or hurt them with too our honesty. Don’t get me wrong. It is important to pick our words wisely when we give feedback. Sometimes we need to filter things that we express. And it is about picking the right moments too. But when else, than in a relationship, can we actually have conscious and open communication?
Communication In My Relationship
I don’t trust people, generally. I don’t enjoy talking about myself. But! In my current relationship, open, honest and conscious communication is the foundation of our connection. I think it has a lot to do with that it is a Dominant/submissive relationship. For things to continue to be safe, consensual and pleasurable for both of us, we need to talk and be honest with each other.
Our relationship started off a little different. He was my main support and a close friend of mine. We talked every day and I felt safe with him. I turned to him in my darkest hours, and I trusted him unconditionally. This led to a sexual and then later even romantic relationship. I am the submissive, he is the Dominant. I was used to talking with him about my feelings and my problems. But it took a while for him to open up to me similarly.
There was a fear of vulnerability. I was afraid that he would use my vulnerability and my openness against me. But I didn’t let past experiences define me, and instead chose to be myself with him. Whenever there is tension between us, we talk it out. We discuss the sex we have. There is nothing that we don’t talk about. I trust him. He trusts me.
I have realized that suppressed emotions and past hurt are what ruin relationships. People do not communicate their true feelings and thoughts, or assume things about each other. That leads to build up suspicions and unprocessed hurt. No relationship can survive those things, D/s or vanilla.
You Gotta Talk, Darling!
Let’s be honest. Of course, openly and consciously communicating your thoughts and feelings is a risk. But a close relationship that you voluntarily begin with another person, needs a level of trust. If you do not trust the person you are with, should you really be with them?
It can take a while for both partners to feel safe being vulnerable with each other. Trust needs to be built up. And there might still be an area or two that are going to be a no-go. But talking things through in a space of honesty and vulnerability creates a stronger bond between two people. And it will enhance your relationship sexually, romantically and practically.
If you don’t express your needs, they might never be met. If you are too afraid to talk about your feelings, they can’t get validated. And if you too ashamed to take up your sexual fantasies, they might never become a reality. No one can read another person’s mind. But we can be open books to each other and embark on an exciting journey together.
Check out my post on communication and submission!