Communication is the heart of relationships. Without it, it’s like pizza without pizza dough — baseless.
When something is this fundamental, you’d think it’d be easy but it’s not.
Relationships can be many things. But for a lot of people, they’re actually all about communication.
That’s why you got together in the first place, right? Because when you connected, communication sent you swooning.
So whether it be verbal, physical, or spiritual, the connection between you and what you create in that connection is where the magic happens.
So, if there’s a lack of communication in a relationship, what happens to you, and what happens to the relationship?
When you struggle to communicate, the magic quickly disappears.
Whether it’s with couples with relationship issues or sexual issues, difficulty in communication is the number one issue most couples have in common.
What happens when communication is strained in a relationship? Here are 3 possible answers.
1. You become invisible.
Sometimes, you’re the one who isn’t communicating. Other times, your partner is the one who has checked out. But more often than not, the lack of communication is caused by both parties.
This often has its roots in different communication styles and what you believe communication is.
For example, some people feel it’s important to talk about everything, whereas others have learned to keep things to themselves or communicate through non-verbal gestures.
Over time, these simple differences, if not recognized, can lead to shutting down on both sides.
The person who wants to talk doesn’t feel seen and the person whose hugs once said more than a thousand words says nothing.
Instead of seeing each other and connecting about things as you used to do, you only see yourself and your own point of view.
If this sounds like your relationship, know that you’re not alone and it’s fixable.
2. It affects your health.
A lack of communication can have consequences that affect more than just the relationship — it can affect your personal health, too.
Sometimes, it’s about the connection being lost. The way you made each other laugh, the words of comfort you shared when upset, the hugs at the end of each day — they all vanish.
However, other times, lack of communication is in fact about communicating in the wrong way.
Negative communication patterns replace the ways you used to connect and create intimacy and end up taking a toll on your overall health.
Things like not being listened to, passive-aggressiveness, or a lot of conflicts create situations where you feel unappreciated.
If you constantly need to defend yourself or feel like your partner has checked out, this can cause low-grade stress and anxiety.
3. You stop having sex.
Communication isn’t just about the day-to-day stuff, it’s also about sex.
For some people, it’s important to feel connected in order to feel sexual desire. For others, sex is a means of connecting and creating closeness.
But no matter what sex means to you or what needs to be in place in order to spark sex drive — a lack of communication is seldom an aphrodisiac.
When it comes to the issue of a lack of communication in a relationship, it’s also important to address how your everyday communication affects your sexual communication.
When you sleep with your partner, you’re effectively communicating with your bodies.
But to do this in a way that makes you both feel good, you need to communicate your wants, needs, and desires.
The only way our partner can fulfill you, sexually, is if you let them know what makes you tick — and listen to them when they tell you what they need.
Communication problems are incredibly common — and solvable.
Communication difficulties are common and can lead to non-existent sex life, anxiety, and feeling unseen.
However, they’re solvable. As with most things, it’s better to bite the bullet early and work on things proactively than to let negative patterns set in stone.
In order to do this, you need to switch the question from “What does lack of communication do to a relationship?” to “How can we communicate better so that our relationship makes us happy?”
By turning the conversation around and focusing on what you can solve as opposed to what’s going wrong, the magic is just ’round the corner.
Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer with a Master of Science in Sexology. She’s been featured in Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, Glamour, Women’s Health, and more. For more advice on communication in relationships, visit her website. If you want to learn to communicate better and grow more intimate with your partner, download her free resource: Talking Sex.
This article was originally published at LeighNoren.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.