Yes, I said it!!! Everyone knows communication is the key to a “Happy, Healthy Relationship”… isn’t it!?!? Well in short yes and no! When you hear of a relationship that has gone sour 9 times out of 10 it’s because of financial reasons, infidelity, or a lack of communication; so why would I write a Blog even suggesting that communication could be a bad thing?
Well I’m not; … not really anyway, not if it’s done at the right time, in the right place, with the right tone and… catch this… if it’s not one sided.
One sided communication can be detrimental to a relationship if one person is always communicating their wants, needs, and desires, or always desiring to talk about how they feel.
As a Relationship Counselor I’ve had case after case over the last few years where too much communication was actually the issue. Yes, I’ve found that communication can be an issue when one person feels there is nothing to communicate but the other person feels there is always something to communicate about to make the relationship better! And here is the kicker the other person doesn’t usually view the communicating as healthy, but as… NAGGING! Yup! There is it is, the nasty Nagging Word!
A few years ago there was a couple I was counseling, let’s call them Jim and Diane, who were having this exact communication problem. Diane always prided herself on the fact that she was a great communicator and definitely not a nagger. Diane grew up with a nagging mother and promised herself to never be a nag to anyone, let alone her husband. Jim always disliked a nag so he tried hard to stay away from women who even appeared to have a nagging bone in their body. Diane being a huge communicator always wanted to talk about everything and lived by the motto, “Never go to bed angry!” especially not with your spouse. This lead Diane to feel like she needed to talk about anything & everything with her husband; if she felt neglected she wanted to talk about it, if she felt sad, she wanted to talk about it, if she felt happy, she wanted to talk about it. Sounds like the “Perfect Marriage” right? Wrong! This much communication to Jim who came from a family that NEVER talked about their feelings let alone about things in general was communication overload for him! Not only did Jim get tired of talking about everything but he also began to feel like Diane was nagging him!!! Yup the Nasty Nagging Word!
Once Diane found out that Jim considered her communication nagging she was horrified; her worst nightmare had come to life! She was her mother! Not only did Jim find Diane’s constant communicating nagging but he also said during our sessions that it made him feel like he was a failure! He felt that he couldn’t do anything right in the eyes of Diane. Diane didn’t know what to say, she never wanted Jim to feel like a failure or that he wasn’t doing an outstanding job of taking care of their family. But Diane’s constant communicating was taking the opposite effect on their lives. It wasn’t bringing them together, it was tarring them apart.
Diane never thought in a million years that talking things over with Jim would be viewed as nagging or over communicating especially seeing that she never blamed him for things, never raised her voice and even thought she was finding the right time and place to communicate. But what she failed to realize was Jim’s personality was that of a provider and fixer and anytime she told him about her needs, wants, desires or feelings if he couldn’t fix it for her then he blamed himself and thought he was a failure.
Communication can be an awesome tool for keeping relationships and marriages thriving but there are warning signs that you can recognize when over communication or communication overload maybe happening or beginning to happen in your relationship.
5 warning signs that communication overload maybe happening in your Marriage/Relationship. The list is not all-inclusive, but it’s a starting point!
1. Only one person is voicing their issues, desires, wants or feelings
2. The issues you are communicating about are not being resolved
3. When one person seems sad, irritable, or angry by even the mentioning of “Let’s talk”.
4. The other person is always trying to fix things even the unfixable
5. The other person voices that they can never do anything right
Thankfully, after months of counseling Jim and Diane are still happily married and communicating to this day. They both realized that communication is still a MAJOR KEY to a “Happy Marriage” but now they just make sure it’s at the right time, the right place, using the right tone and that it is NOT one sided!
Always Remember Relationships Do Matter!
Toinette Neube, Family/Marriage/Couples Counselor