Feeling unheard in relationships is actually much more common then most people realize. If you don’t feel heard in your current relationship, you may feel unloved, or unappreciated.
People who feel unheard in their relationship are more likely to feel resentment, anger and relationship dissatisfaction. And they are also more likely to divorce.
The single most effective way to feel heard in relationships is effective communication.
If you are finding it hard to express your feelings or share your needs with your partner, then these are some effective strategies you can use. These tips will help you communicate more effectively with each other and create a better understanding between both of you.
Tips on how to feel heard in relationships
1. Be clear about what your needs are
Feeling unheard in your relationship may be because you have difficulty communicating your needs. Maybe you need something from your partner, but you don’t know how to explain exactly what it is you need? Does that sound familiar?
One of the biggest reasons for this is because we ourselves aren’t clear on what we need. We need something from our relationship, but we’re not sure exactly what it is.
In order for your partner to realize what exactly you need, you need to speak up.
First make sure that you know exactly what it is that you want. The more clearly you understand what your needs are, the easier they will be to express it to your partner.
If you’re unsure what exactly what it is you need, try to journal. Journaling will help you understand yourself and your needs much better.
2. Be specific in what you want
Once you are clear on what you want, try communicating it with your partner. In order to feel heard what’s key is that you are as specific as possible. Using the right words is the first step to ensure your partner hears you.
If you need your partner to be more physically affectionate with you, then tell them that. Be as specific as possible. Tell them you would like to cuddle at least 3 times a week at the end of the day.
There may be moments where you struggle to articulate exactly what you need. You may find it difficult to find the right words That’s okay. It’s a learning process.
When you and your partner are arguing, it can be very important to make sure you are considering what the other partner may be feeling.
It is often easy to get caught up in the moment and only focus on what’s upsetting you, but if you think about how they might feel, this will help resolve any misunderstandings. One way to do this is by using I statements.
I statements are sentences where the person prepares what they want to say in a thoughtful manner. Ultimately, the goal of an I statement is to acknowledge that others have feelings too – not just your own!
I statements are sentences that start with “I” which express how you feel without blaming their feelings on them or invalidating them. For example: ‘I feel frustrated when I try to talk about something important and you get distracted’.
In this case, the person is making it clear that they are feeling frustrated without blaming their partner or invalidating their partner’s feelings.
Expressing yourself in a calm and respectful manner can be challenging, especially when you are feeling frustrated. If you are feeling angry or frustrated, take a break from the conversation so that you can calm down before continuing.
3. Remain calm during your conversation
Take a deep breath and try to think about what you want to say before saying it to your partner. This will help you avoid raising your voice or saying anything that sounds disrespectful. Try to speak calmly, as that makes it easier for others to truly hear you.
Pay attention to the tone of your voice, and the direction the conversation is heading in. The more aware you are, the more likely you are to steer the conversation in a healthy direction.
Don’t forget to use kinds words, where you
Communication is a 2 way street. In order for you to feel heard, you need to ensure you are creating a space where your partner doesn’t feel attacked. If you get worked up, your partner is more likely to become defensive. And as a result neither of you will feel heard in the relationship.
4. Practice Active listening
Active listening is the act of hearing what the other person has to say. It’s not just about hearing them, but actively seeking out to understand their point of view.
Healthy communication requires you to really listen, to be fully present and to connect with what they are saying. Even if you don’t agree with it.
Active listening skills are a learned skill. They require you to stay present, make eye contact and remain focused on what your partner is saying. The more effort you put into making your partner feel heard, the more calmly he will respond.
When you actively listen to your partner you’ll find that your overall communication and relationship will improve. When you’re able able to really hear your significant other, you’ll notice that both of you will become less defensive.
Practicing active listening can be challenging at first but with practice, it will become easier over time. There’s no perfect formula when it comes to getting attention of your partner, but
5. Make sure your partner feels heard
When you are speaking to your partner, it is important that you are creating space where both of you are talking, as opposed to only you expressing your opinion.
When the other person has their turn, paying attention is important. This will help ensure that they have a chance to properly express how they are feeling. This will help the conversation flow more naturally and help you connect on a deeper level.
They may say some things which you disagree with, but a good listener gives their full attention to their partner while they are speaking. Think about how they might feel in order to be more understanding of them.
6. Take responsibility for your own actions
Make sure to take responsibility for any problems you might be causing in the relationship too! For example: ‘I know that I didn’t put away the dishes last night…’
This way, you are showing that you have self-awareness and that you are willing to be accountable for your mistakes.
7. Know when to stop and resume the talk
Sometimes people will still get defensive or dismissive because either their feelings are hurt or they are embarrassed about what happened.
This might happen even if they are actually really listening to you. They may just need some more time to process the conversation, and their feelings.
If you get a sense that your significant other is getting defensive, consider taking a break. Ask them when would be a better time to talk so that they are better able to hear you.
Don’t assume that this is the end of it. if you want to feel heard in your relationship it is important that you communicate your feelings at a better time.
Signs that feeling heard in your relationship is a lost cost
- Your partner flips out when you express your needs
- You are consistently given the cold shoulder after expressing yourself
- Your parent refuses to communicate effectively no matter how much you try
- Your conversations turn into a power struggle.
- Your partner resorts to using disparaging words
- No matter how much you repeat yourself your partner ignores you
Plan what you want to say in advance
Another strategy for how to feel heard in a relationship is to plan what you are going to say in advance. This way, you can be confident that you’ve thought through what you want to say and don’t get flustered by the interaction.
Effective communication often requires thinking through and preplanning.
Planning points to help you feel heard
Before talking to your partner, take some time to think through the conversation you are going to have. Here are some questions to get you started.
- What exactly are you not feeling heard about?
- Write down the most important points of what you want to say? Use words that you feel will help your significant other really hear you?
- What exactly do you need to feel heard? Do you need them to acknowledge something specific?
- What negative communication patterns do you and your partner follow. How can you best avoid that?
- What will you do if your conversation gets heated? How do you normally react? Is there a more conducive way for you to react?
- What will be your partner’s response? Will they need some time to process what you have told them?
- What kind of setting will you create for your conversations? Have you put your phone away? Are you both in a room where you feel comfortable?
- Do you need professional support or some form of counselling in order to feel heard?
What to do if you still don’t feel heard in your relationship
If your partner is not willing to listen to you it might be because they do not feel connected to you. The most effective way to connect with your partner is to increase your fondness and admiration, and work on improving your love maps.
Sometimes your partner is not willing to listen to you no matter what you say. If this happens to you, you should insist on seeing a marriage counselor together, or asking for individual counselling.