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Soliloquies Aren't Sexy: How Listening and Responding to Your Partner can Improve Your Sex Life

 
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How do you respond to your partner's gentle criticism regarding your relationship? Are you able to actively listen, without drowning in hurt feelings, or secretly ruminating about the discussion in your head? Soliloquies, or talking to yourself and not your partner about a relationship problem, can wreak havoc on the sustainability of a relationship, as avoiding simple problem-solving techniques may compound the original issue and create more complex problems.

1. Listen with intention. Listening to the message behind the words is important, and leads to effectively understanding what the person is thinking and/or feeling. Active listening involves "listening without expectations" of what will be said, how it should be said, the motive behind the words and without judgment.

2. Respond to criticism with empathy: When someone criticizes you, it’s easy to feel that they’re wrong, and get defensive. While criticism is hard to hear, and often exaggerated by the other person’s emotions, it’s important to listen for the other person’s pain and respond with empathy for their feelings. Also, look for what’s true in what they’re saying; that can be valuable information for you. (Source: How Stuff Works: Communication Skills)

3. Don't expect perfection. It is a stereotype, but many women are more effective at communicating emotions compared to their male counterpart. Don't get "hung up" on his choice of words, or correct his semantics. It is not all on his shoulders to word everything perfectly; he will never achieve perfection. It is both of your responsibility to listen and respond with love and respect, and understand the meaning behind the (albeit, misguided) words. Ask for clarification if something comes out as hurtful; chances are, it was a poor choice of words, as he is trying to identify his own emotions while verbalizing them to you.

4. Own It!: Effective communication involves admitting when you’re wrong, or at least acknowledging some of the blame.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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