Communication: Learning your personal “dos” and “don’ts”

I’m no relationship expert. Sometimes my relationships serve better as a, “What not to do,” than what to do. That being said, my boyfriend and I have a really good thing going. Today marks 1.5 years together. In that relatively short time, we’ve learned a lot about each other: likes, dislikes, annoying quirks, silly habits, the list goes on. But most importantly, we’ve begun to learn how to best communicate with each other.

Given the habit-changing nature of some of my recent New Year’s resolutions, I couldn’t help but think back to the last year-and-a-half with him and the conflicting habits we’ve worked through.

Several months into our relationship, my boyfriend and I had a discussion about TV time. He’d noticed (well, I guess I wasn’t subtle about it) that whenever he failed to turn off the TV when I came over or he turned on the TV while we were snuggled up, I’d immediately become annoyed. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t want watching TV to be part of “us” time.

We discovered a lot of important and possibly relationship-saving things during that discussion. You see, I see watching TV as a sign there is nothing else to do. So when he turned the TV and started flipping through channels, I saw it as I wasn’t interesting enough to capture his full attention. He saw TV as one of his go-to relaxation tools and a perfect activity to enjoy with me. Learning how differently we both perceive mindless television watching really opened my eyes to how different two human beings can see things, no matter how much they care for someone else or consider the other person’s feelings. It helped us learn how to communicate more efficiently and in the end, left us with fewer arguments in front of the television.

Now don’t get me wrong. We still argue. We still fire off angry words. But I believe this little argument’s lesson in communication has saved us from blowing up other little arguments.

Oh, and most importantly…We still watch TV together :). Even with my New Year’s Resolution to cut down on screen time, I plan on saving my TV time and spending it with him or friends.

Have you experienced an argument or conversation that helped you learn to better communicate with your partner?


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