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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Extensive experience fostering family relationships through consultation / counseling.
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My partner and I have been having some serious relationships

Customer Question

My partner and I have been having some serious relationships issues recently. We are in a long distance relationship. When things are good between us, they are great! However, we have very different communication styles, i.e. I speak directly, she likes to be interpreted. Or when we argue, she wants to keep fighting until resolution, but I like to take some space to cool down and then talk. No matter what we do, we both end up extremely frustrated, hurt and wanting to break up because we don't know how to handle this. It's to a point where we fight at least once a week, and they last for a day or two because we keep fighting about the fight! I find myself caring less and less how these arguments turn out, because I'm so drained by them. I'm at my wits end, but I really want to save this if possible. Please help!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

I'd suggest you have an honest discussion about your communication and problem solving styles. Choose a time when neither of you are angry and explain that you think things are going well, but you'd like to make sure the next time there is tension you can resolve it as effectively as possible. Try to place the issue on the table as something the two of you need to figure out how to solve (versus anything either of you are to blame for). "Notice" what you tend to do when you're in these situations and ask what how she thinks she usually responds. See if the two of you can come to a consensus about how your disagreements usually play out. Then explain how it makes you feel (frustrated during, drained after the fact, etc.) Ask how she feels and see if the two of you can brainstorm some possible steps to take to make the problem solving more effective. What does she need?? What do you need? If she needs to be heard, perhaps let her speak for a few minutes uninterrupted. If you need some space to cool down, perhaps you follow that with a "cool down" period with the understanding that you'll come back to address the situation in a 1/2 hour or so (after you've had some time to process what's been said). I wouldn't part for that cool down period, though, without first giving her some words of affection -- that way you're pausing on a positive note.

It's OK to tell her that you need her to be as direct as possible when she's upset. The guessing game doesn't work and you'll be better able to meet her needs if you know exactly what she's thinking and feeling.