Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

The Real Reason Why Your Partner May Not Be Listening To You

Avoiding this communication trap can increase your relationship happiness

I'm amazed at how many people just don't get this: It is hard to open your ears and your heart if your mouth is wide-open and flapping away. As I describe in my relationship book, Why Can't You Read My MInd?, here's an important piece of advice for you: If you put your own agenda aside, talk less, and listen more, you will be more empathetic. In turn, your partner will more likely listen to you.

By you saying less, your partner will be feel that you are more available and open to her. This all may sound ridiculously obvious but is it really that easy? The answer is, "No." It is not so easy because our ego mind takes over when we speak solely from our own agenda. Unfortunately, we tend to lack empathy when we are trying to prove our own point. Ironically our partners then just shut down and stop listening, instead saying to themselves, "This conversation is pointless."

Aside from literally biting your tongue, one way to help you say less is to first ask yourself what your statement is constructively going to accomplish. Being mindful of the true value of what you're going to say will help you be more conscious in choosing how to relate to your partner. In many cases with couples, I have seen that saying less paves the way to be heard more.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over 23 years of experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post-doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS Eyewitness News Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC, and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child (Perseus Books 2007), Why Can't You Read My Mind? , and Liking the Child You Love, Perseus Books 2009).

Image credit: Pixabay