Dear Barb—Non-Verbal Communication

Dear Barb:

I have been dating this great girl for six months. The problem is she is very closed and doesn’t talk about her feelings. She even has difficulty telling me where she wants to go when we go out. I find her very frustrating. I don’t even know where this relationship is going or how she feels about me.

On the other hand, she says I don’t talk about my feelings, but I don’t agree with her.  She has told me about some traumatic events when she was a kid, I was wondering if that may have affected her. I’m not sure whether this will eventually change. Even though she is a great girl, I don’t know if this is something I can live with.  I want to suggest she go for counseling, but I don’t know if that’s my business or not. What would you suggest?  Thanks Brody.

Hi Brody:

Thanks for your letter.  I often receive similar letters to yours, as communication is so important for a healthy relationship. We all have to be able to openly express how we feel to another person, and that person has to be able to accept what we are saying without over reacting, which would just make things worse. The good thing is that we can all learn how to better communicate. We have the ability to get out of our comfort zone and change our ways of relating to others. Many books have been written about effective communication, such as: “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  Many counsellors and psychologists specialize in communication problems for couples, either married or not.  If you are seriously considering continuing in this relationship a good place to start would be to ask your family doctor for a referral to a counselor who specializes in communication difficulties.

From your letter I would surmise that your girlfriend is feeling very much similar to the way you are feelings, which indicates this is a couple problem.  Communication is not just verbal, you also need to have the ability to listen to what the other person is saying verbally and non verbally.  While you are waiting to get into couples counselling there are some things you can do to improve communication right away. Ask questions; questions open the door for the other person to express how they feel.  Some people find it difficult to initiate conversations. Ask your girlfriend about the things she likes to do and share with her what you like to do. This will generate some common threads thus creating a bond between you. I am confident you can resolve this with some mutual cooperation.  As far as traumatic events affecting her ability to communicate, that is possible and should be discussed with the counselor.

Good Luck Brody.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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