The most common myth about relationships is that good communication is the key to better relationships. Now don’t get me wrong, good communication is important, but good communication is actually a sign of more fundamental things being right whereas poor communication is actually a symptom of more fundamental things going wrong.

In a relationship that is working, the communication is good because both people feel supported, cared for & loved. When a relationship is working it is easy to communicate well
– as we all know, if we think back to when we first met, when communication seemed so easy! In the early days of a relationship, when both people have positive expectations & experiences of the relationship, most couples can communicate well. That creates a positive spiral effect were people are relaxed & happy talking to each other because they are confident that their partner will listen & engage with them positively about the things that are on their mind & that are important to them. This happens naturally at the beginning of relationships because people usually feel supported & appreciated,at that time, by the other person.

In long-term relationships that work well, that continues to be the pattern & there continues to be a positive spiral of positivity with both people feeling supported and cared for & seeing & appreciating the good in each other. So when there is conflict, as there always is, at some level in relationships, it quickly fizzles out. It is as if, even in the midst of an argument, each partner, in the back of their mind has a little voice saying -hey-let’s not forget-this person is my best friend who loves me & is my biggest supporter- & so any attempt to end the conflict, however inept ( & there are always attempts to end an argument), is heard, understood & grabbed at with both hands & quickly works-bringing the argument to an end.

Conversely, in relationships that are not working well, when there is conflict, that reassuring voice in the back of the mind is missing. At least one partner, and often both, already feels neglected, unsupported, uncared for & resentful. So when an attempt is made to “repair” the damage-it doesn’t work. The partner the “repair attempt” is aimed at, doesn’t hear it or doesn’t accept it-so the conflict escalates: it gets worse & worse.  So more damage & hurt is inflicted on each other & on the all important underlying friendship.