Written by Giselle Bella
Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the fourth in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.
Your Communication Blueprint
In part 1 of our Never Fight With Your Partner Again: A Black Lesbian Blueprint, I talked about how you can transform the way you think about conflict with your partner. In this article, I’ll share some practical examples, which you may find supportive if you and your partner are in the midst of communicating and it leads to an argument:
1. Time out: When you notice things heating up, one of you [if not both of you] calls a time out. Create a signal that works for you when you get in that situation. Then from there, you will continue to discuss how you feel.
2. Grab pen and paper. When your partner says something and you feel the urge to immediately address it, instead of interrupting, write it down. This is to stop you from rudely interjecting with, “Wait a minute…”
3. Set a timer: If you want to set a time for each to make a point then do so for when you first begin to speak. So, you may want to each start with five (5) minutes. Once you’ve each had your equal time, you will find it easier to take turns speaking.
4. Question: When the situation seems more than you can handle, arrange for a time out signal and immediately say: “question.” As soon as one of you does that, the other person must instantly stop and be ready to answer yes/no questions. The idea is to ask questions that will support you in knowing whether you or she was misheard and misunderstood.
5. Refrain from bringing up past disputes. Treat this disagreement as its own entity.
6. Be wise and sensitive with your choice of words and phrases.
7. When your partner speaks, look her in the face, in the eyes. Refrain from looking away in disinterest and making surly faces.
8. Leave your condemnation outside and listen with an open mind and heart.
9. Leave the scene. If you need to stop talking or need to be left alone for a moment, DO NOT announce that you’re leaving and walk away. Look your partner in the eyes, tell her, you are upset, and need to take some time in order to gather your thoughts. Respect her time if she is the one who says that to you. You display that respect by stating you understand and you do want to finish expressing your discontent or your emotions. It may go something as such, “I understand, but when you are complete with your time, I do want to communicate through our disagreement.”
10. If you do not agree with something she says that is ok. You don’t have to, but be remember that that is how she feels. Therefore, be respectful. If you disagree with a comment or statement, simply say “I disagree…” Refrain from saying things such as, “Uh-uh, no, that’s not what happened, if that’s how you feel, you don’t understand…” The truth is your partner may understand but simply not know how to convey it.
11. Be patient. Do not rush and certainly do not rush her. Allow yourself time to gather your thoughts and allow the same for her. In gathering your thoughts, you will find that you convey what you feel in a more sensible manner and with less aggression.
12. Breathe. Remember to breathe. Next time you are get frustrated, monitor your breaths. You may be surprised to learn that at certain levels and vibrations, we tend to hold our breaths. So take some deep breaths. If your partner makes note of this, tell her that breathing allows you to be in touch with your emotions and not block them. That’s right, when we hold our breaths, we block emotions and become clouded. A lucid mind makes for a healthy processing mind.
13. Love her, love you and love your growth through your rough time. No matter what the situation or the quarrel, show love to each other. After you’ve talked out or settled your row, express your love to each other.
14. Do not go to bed with a heavy or angry heart. Even if you can’t resolve your issues on the spot, agree to continue working toward a resolution at a later date.
15. Be compassionate to your partner and her feelings. Remember, she is not the enemy. This is someone you love and she is learning and growing everyday, just like you!
16. Most importantly, express your gratitude to each to each other for listening and working through it together.
Things happen. Things happen that are out of our control and out of normalcy and these things matter. However, what matters more is how we handle these things. Communicate with love and communicate with truth. Communicate with each other. Then you will notice, not only do you not fight but your disagreements are understood more and you build a fondness, respect and admiration for each other.
To fairness in love.
My Love to you,
Giselle “Gia” Bella is a 30-something woman living in Baltimore. As The Love Goddess for Black Lesbian Love Lab, she happily shares her ideas for finding and keeping your lady love. She wrote the Autumn Falls web series for Topp Bottom and published several books, including Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Love Stories and Gietic II: Love and Loss.