New Survey: Sex, Infidelity, and Communication

Nicole Johnson recaps an interesting survey regarding the keys to relationships.

A new survey from my colleagues at YourTango.com has debunked some long-standing myths about relationships, chiefly that couples are always fighting about sex and money.

The survey results also revealed the primary reason couples (both heterosexual and homosexual) breakup is because of communication problems, followed by loss of intimacy and infidelity.

As a Dating / Relationship Coach and member of the YourTango.com expert staff, I regularly write and speak about the importance of communication. Effective communication is the cornerstone for successful relationships.

Aside from communication, couples should assess their relationship in the following categories: attraction, accountability, lifestyles, laughter, passion, security, support, unconditional love, and lastly, life goals and relationship goals.

After 10 blissful years of marriage, I can say this with certitude: my husband and I have a successful relationship because of our mutual adoration and because we are a compatible match, especially in the aforementioned categories. Consequently, it takes more than unconditional love to keep a marriage together. Relationships require constant communication, action, acceptance, and attention.

I would like to turn the discussion over to you. What do you need from a romantic partner? What makes your relationship successful?

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About Nicole Johnson

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Comments

  1. Can somebody please explain what is this “communication problem” in relationship which is often mentioned in the media????

  2. @ Rapses – We are referring to a lack of effective communication in romantic relationships, as well as a breakdown of communication.

    The most common plight in relationships (both personal and professional) is ineffective communication. When people are not accurately communicating their needs or their feelings the relationship begins to fail.

    Men and women have different communication styles and communication preferences. This causes a greater challenge to the communication process. Additionally, when someone is hurt and feels wronged or misunderstood, it becomes difficult to communicate in a non-confrontational, non-accusatory tone. Improper tone and word choice can kill a conversation. Aside from verbal communication, people need to be aware of their non-verbal communication. Body language can also kill a conversation.

    Time magazine recently covered communication. Check out their article: http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/08/what-women-really-want-in-a-relationship/

    • Nick, mostly says:

      I have a friend going through a particularly troubling time in his relationship. They too would say they don’t “communicate” well. Small frustrations have grown into large resentments that are more difficult to resolve. Talking becomes more strained; instead of addressing any particular issue there is a cloud of issues past and present that swirl around them, making it harder for them to make a connection. They end up growing more frustrated at their inability to find resolution, to see each other, and to see in each other something other than a reflection of the pain that still seeks recognition after so many years.
      Thinking of all this I can’t help but hear Feist’s song So Sorry in my head.

  3. “Being of service to each other…”

    Yes, I agree, being together with my husband for over 20 years, I still (wrongly) assume that he will just be able to understand my shorthand answers and read my mind…and then I get furious at him and seethe silently…it’s funny because my female friends and relatives just take one look at me and will immediately ask what is wrong…I guess it’s “The Female Brain” phenomenon…

    Recently, I have had some health issues (sudden shocking news to me!) and my sister-in-law and my best friends could tell something was up with me (and we were just talking on the phone!), while my husband who sees me day in and day out was completely oblivious….I understand that he is extremely busy and stressed out juggling 20 different important things every day, so I get it that when he comes home he doesn’t want to be burdened with juggling one more thing….so I couldn’t tell him what was going on with me….his sister had to break it to him…

    Sometimes I feel like I need a translator to speak to a man…I have to wait for the right moment….I have to see where his head is first…I have to pick the right words…and then I realize that maybe he doesn’t even want to hear what I have to say….sometimes he is too distracted, too worried, too tired, too angry to even hear me….Between me and the women close to me, it just all comes out so easily…sometimes we don’t even need words to convey the message….

    • “Sometimes I feel like I need a translator to speak to a man…”

      I feel the same way but with women. I’ve been trying to tell myself to just get over it and say what you want to say as best you can to get the discussion going. Hopefully the other person will understand your intentions and make a point to listen to you. This just occured to me, but maybe we both need to utilize touch to get the point across. It can grab attention and direct it to you instead of whatever is going on in their head.

      • Touch is incredibly important. I do my best communicating when I’m cuddling with my boyfriend. It allows you to still be able to discuss things, but you’re both in a comforting place. You’re less likely to lash out at each other and you’re more willing to listen. It’s a win all around. I’m an incredibly touchy feely person as well, so it is incredibly helpful to talk about things when we’re touching each other.

  4. MichelleG says:

    I find that most men have a problem with admitting they are wrong and dislike saying sorry or apologize, when clearly the situation calls for one. To me, this type of person is stubborn, shows closed-communication and to a degree emotionally manipulative. I see this in my brothers, father, boyfriends, male co-workers and bosses. Is this part of male privilege, never showing others you’re wrong? Is it a weakness; why the big deal?…two words only, goes a long way to smooth things over — I’m sorry!

    • Right Michelle…let me just let you know that plenty of women have the exact same problem. A lot of people have a difficult time admitting their wrong, for all sorts of reasons. However, If we concede that men have this problem more often, I’d argue it’s not because of male privilege but rather because of the problematic way our society still defines masculinity. We still have some throw-back to the days when being a masculine man was about being conventionally strong, stoic, and in control of a situation. And we still tend to view admitting that you’re wrong as a sign of weakness. So yeah…I guess men might feel more pressure to prove their right.

      But it’s definitely not about male privilege…unless you view more pressure as a privilege.

  5. MichelleG says:

    Of course there are women who have the same problem; not admitting to being wrong — never saying sorry — never acknowledging they’ve wronged you — never taking accountability for their errors. However in comparison to men, I find the women in my lives are more open to admitting when they’re wrong or disappointed you, or failed to keep their promise for instance, and following up with an apology; whether for small or large issue — they have a much easier time than men. Men drive me more nuts… like you catch them in a lie, and instead of apologizing or admitting to it, they’ll turn around and blame you or find fault in you. Or maybe they offend you (like my one uncle) and you dish it back at them…but no apology forthcoming.

    Some men are entirely oblivious to their offensiveness or they are total narcissistic jerks. My women friends and women I know have higher EQ it seems. It’s a red flag for me, if someone doesn’t have the ability to apologize…not only does this tell me they don’t take accountability for their actions, it’s a sign of disrespect and a power-trip.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Have you apologized for your egregious comments on polyamory and beastiality? Or is that accountability and respect thing just for others? For some reason Matthew 7:3 comes to mind.

      • MichelleG says:

        Polyamory and bestiality are offensive activities and relationships to me, that said, I’m not God; I don’t hold power over what anybody does. I don’t have to agree with your ideologies — I am entitled to my opinion and the values which I hold; especially on a website/thread that encourages discussion, and the sharing of different ideas and opinions.

        Matthew what? I’m atheist. I don’t believe in religious dogma. I can be self-disciplined/governed and self-critical, without the the need for guidance and ideologies of a bible letting me know how I should live my life. I like independent thinking.

    • It sounds to me like you just happen to know a lot of jerks that are guys. It doesn’t mean all guys are jerks…just that you have managed to meet quite a few who are.

      Plus when you’re talking about a guy’s EQ, again I think you need to look at the cultural pressures put onto guys not to show emotions. It’s not privilege…it’s the exact opposite of privilege.

      • MichelleG says:

        I know nice guys too…but the alpha male type seems to be dominant in our society; and the unapologetic trait seems to reside with them more so. Some of these men are strangers, people who you come across in the course of your day or beginning to know.

        “It’s not privilege…it’s the exact opposite of privilege.” Yeah, and I think it’s part of patriarchy and men’s competitive nature; not admitting to being wrong nor apologizing — this must give them a false sense of control over their situation, keep their ego in tact and hold power over the other person, and giving the IMAGE that everything is still normal and fine; they go on with their day (disregarding your feelings and the impact of their words/actions on you).

        There are plenty of alpha females too, especially in the corporate world.

  6. Relationships are two way streets. Do women do anything wrong in relationships? Both sides have needs that only the other should provide. I’m sure all the gripes are legitimate, but they are clouded with a bunch of ‘me, me, mees’ if you don’t want a relationship with a man, leave or do what it takes to make it work.

    • Don’t know why you are gendering this, not being selfish in a relationship is necessary for anyone in order for the relationship to succeed.

    • Agreeing with Artemis, this isn’t a gendered thing. It’s “people don’t know how to communicate”. Not who’s more wrong, not who’s right (there’s no winning in conflict! Fighting is NOT a competition!) , or which gender does the most or the least work. It’s just that people don’t know how to communicate with each other.

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