Take it from a sex therapist: Dropping a few choice words can help you avoid arguments and defensive responses when communicating with your partner
Communication is something that no one is perfect at—just take it from this sex therapist on TikTok. As she explains it, she “teaches couples how to communicate for a living” but still messes up herself “all the time.” Relatable, TBH. But in a recent video, she’s sharing one trick that can help you remove a ton of tension from certain interactions with your partner, helping you avoid arguments along the way.
Vanessa, who posts to TikTok as one-half of the due @vanessaandxander, explains in her video that this is a recent mistake that she made.
Take it from us — removing words like “always”, “never”, “constantly”, and “every time” will save you from unnecessary arguments and defensive responses. #GRWM #communication #difficultconversations #relationshiptips #relationshiptension #communication101 #tinyhabit #vmtherapy #vanessaandxander Communication tips Always or never Communication chalenges♬ original sound – Vanessa + Xander Marin
“The mistake is using absolute words like ‘always’ or ‘never,'” she says. “In my marriage, I’m the timekeeper. And recently, I got a little bit irritated about how much mental load comes along with this task. I snapped at my husband Xander that I always have to be the one keeping him on time.”
She continues, “The first problem is that words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ just aren’t true, and in my specific example, my husband is a grown-a** adult. There are plenty of times that he keeps himself on time. The second problem is that it puts your partner straight on the defensive.”
She goes on to explain that Xander went into “lawyer mode,” where he only needed to give a single example of a time when he had kept himself on time to prove her wrong, and that was the end of the argument—without any productive resolution.
“When you start arguing back and forth about the semantics or the logistics, you miss the original emotions that came up for you. The frustration that I was feeling—the loneliness that I was feeling—the responsibility that I was carrying. All of those emotions and thoughts get lost when you just turn into an argument about whether or not something has actually happened before.”
You can avoid this, Vanessa says, by taking words like “always” and “never” right “out of your relationship vocabulary.” Same goes for “constantly” and “every time.” Instead of focusing on the semantics of an argument, you can focus on the root of what it’s about—the feelings that caused the disagreement in the first place. This leads to faster and more effective resolution.