Why do my boyfriend and I have such trouble communicating?

We’ve been together almost three years. We argue and he ends it by telling me he doesn’t love me. It's hurtful because I am all about resolving the problem, and he dwells on the issue even if I drop what he's done and just swallow my pride and say I am sorry. How can this be resolved? We have kids, and I don't want a broken family because we can't communicate.

Dr. Avraham Cohen
Dr. Avraham Cohen
Depth work with individuals and relationships

Under duress the very youngest parts of you and your boyfriend emerge. So, while you still look like grown ups, your actions and words are motivated by very early preverbal parts of both of you. In simple terms it is as if two infants somehow acquire the ability to say words but they are motivated by very basic early wounds that were created due to deficits in what was able to be done for each of you, and likely understandable in terms of caregiver's life experience, and that still fell short of what you needed. You are both still trying to get very early needs met. 

The best advice I can offer is to try and remember this as early as possible when things start to heat up, and then restrain expression that you already know leads nowhere helpful. And seek out a therapist who can help you to work with these early issues and can support you to grow and develop from this stuck point.

Avraham Cohen, Ph.D, R.C.C., C.C.C.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sonya Wilson
Sonya Wilson
Licensed Professional Counselor
Communication involves a listener and a speaker.  Both have to be willing to do their part to make communication work.  This is something that takes both and not just one.  Without both, communication is impossible.   Staying together and the kids observing unhealthy communication is already broken.  Seek help to improve communication.    Couples' counseling would be helpful.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Try having a conversation with your boyfriend about your views and wishes for the relationship, when the two of you are having a calm time.  

A few questions I'd like to ask him is why he says he doesn't love you when the topic at hand is about a specific practical matter.

I'd also like to know what he hopes will happen from dwelling on a matter.

And, why are you swallowing your pride?  Sooner or later this will come up on you in much bigger ways.  Instead, try to know your own wishes that you are either not stating or are being ignored by your boyfriend.

The best way to resolve accumulated tensions is to slowly open the discussion between the two people.

It is possible to stay together forever.  What you each need to realize, is the terms under which this would most likely take place.

Sending lots of luck!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

You can't fix this by yourself, but I applaud you for trying. One person working hard in a relationship can make things better for a while., but in the long haul you need two people giving some effort. I'm reading between your lines here and I wonder if your need to keep the family together is getting you to apologize when you've done nothing wrong and ignore things you've felt hurt by. I sense that you're doing all the work...that it's not balanced. 

I have worked with many couples and I've learned never to underestimate what kind of change is possible; anything is possible. But in order for change in a couple to occur, you need two people who are both willing to own their choices and behaviours, and who have empathy. Your boyfriend doesn't appear to have these components; he pushes you away and blames you when he's done something hurtful.

Can you be honest with yourself about what's happening? I encourage you to sit down with a trusted friend or therapist and look at what you have here and what your options are. I wish you well. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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