Communication can be challenging for all couples at times. However, if you or your partner are neurodivergent, communicating effectively can be especially difficult. You might have trouble interpreting your partner’s nonverbal cues. Maybe your partner finds it hard to express exactly what is on their mind. Or perhaps you sometimes find it difficult to use your words to explain yourself, and you would feel more comfortable writing about writing out your thoughts. But your partner does not understand why you feel this way.
For neurodivergent couples, communication can be exceptionally fraught. But this does not mean that your relationship is inevitably going to fail. Instead, you will simply need to find a communication strategy that accounts for your unique needs. These tips will help you and your partner move forward and have better conversations.
1. Choose the Right Timing
Does it ever feel like your partner isn’t in the mood to talk about the challenges you’re facing together when you try to have an open conversation with them? Or maybe you find that your partner tries to spring difficult conversations on you at inopportune times.
For neurodivergent couples, timing conversations properly can be particularly important. You may find it overwhelming to have an emotional conversation when you’ve just wrapped up a long workday. Alternatively, you may feel like you’re not ready for these types of conversations when your day begins. Instead, you would rather wait until you’re home from the office and have had some time to decompress.
If poor conversational timing is a recurring issue in your relationship, talk to your partner about when you would feel most comfortable discussing important issues. Find out when they would prefer to have these kinds of conversations as well. You may be able to come to an agreement that works for both of you. In the future, you can schedule difficult conversations so that neither of you feels like you have been caught off guard.
2. Don’t Expect Mind Reading
Many neurodivergent people have trouble interpreting body language, tone of voice, and other clues that we often rely on to interpret peoples’ emotions when we are talking to them. Whether your partner is neurodivergent, you are, or both of you are, there is a good chance that nonverbal cues are tripping you up during conversations.
It is very important that you do not expect your partner to be a mind reader, and that they do not expect this of you. Be very explicit when you speak to them, and clearly state what is on your mind. Ask your partner to do the same for you. Give your partner the opportunity to ask you plenty of clarifying questions if they seem confused about something you have brought up. Feel free to ask your partner plenty of questions too. This is the best way to make sure that you are both fully understood.
3. Processing Conversations
For neurodivergent people, processing conversations can also involve obstacles. Either you or your partner might need lots of time to process what you have just heard. Give your partner the space and time they need. Let them know that you are always open to having another conversation about the same topic if they would like to discuss it further. You could also benefit from working with a therapist who specializes in couples counseling. They can help you develop effective communication strategies that help you both express yourselves.
Do you suspect that you and your partner are struggling to communicate because one or both of you are neurodivergent? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.
For more information, click here: Therapy For Neurodivergent/Neurodiverse Individuals or Couples or Mixed Neurotype Couples