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вторник, 4 апреля 2017 г.

Should no talking mean start walking?

Is your relationship no talk and no action? If so, it’s time to make some noise...

You know how it goes. You meet, you fall in love and people are hard-pressed to pull you apart at the pub as you've got so much to talk about. And you'd think that sharing your life with someone would give you even more to talk about, right? The truth is, a new study* has found that when it comes to conversation, couples are copping out. Newlyweds ignore each other for 20 minutes out of every hour they're together. And despite being able to communicate 24/7 thanks to phones, texts and emails, less time spent chatting is a new phenomenon.
But why? "Lack of communication is an increasingly common issue for those in their 20s, 30s and 40s who lead time-poor, stressful lives. Talking is often the first thing to go,'' says psychologist Dr Lucy Atcheson. "When life gets too busy, couples forget to catch up with each other. They stop asking: 'How was your day?' or 'How are you feeling?' and instead converse on a functional level about housework or, if they have them, the kids. When this happens, you lose the emotional connection that's essential in long-term relationships."
The peak time for marital unrest is after just two years of marriage, according to a new study published in the Journal of Human Resources, which showed that one in 12 marriages is heading for the divorce court after 24 months. The seven-year itch is well documented, but it seems the two-year itch is now much more likely. So while we make an effort to talk in the first flush of love, that soon skids to a halt.

Michelle suffered the silent treatment
This was the case for Michelle Jones 38, from Kettering, Northamptonshire. "I met Tom when I was 22. We both had jobs in sales and were at the same level career-wise, so we could chat about ongoing projects and our hopes and ambitions. But after getting married in 1996, Tom was offered a better job and we relocated from Berkshire to Northamptonshire, where I knew nobody and couldn't find work. We were trying for a baby, so while I was consumed with that, Tom was immersed in work. Two years into the marriage, I realised it had only been work that bonded us. Now there was a huge void - we literally had nothing to talk about. Tom started working longer hours and having to travel. I even joked that he was married to his job and I was the mistress."
It seems this is a lonely pattern many of us slip into. A third of married couples admit to spending at least two hours of every evening in separate rooms - surfing the net, doing chores or talking to friends on the phone**. And don't kid yourself that vegging next to your man in front of Corrie counts as together time - while 42 per cent of us watch TV with our partners every evening, this actually stands in the way of intimacy, because although you may be sharing a sofa, you're not bonding in any way. No wonder couples who've spent half a century living together spend only three minutes chatting while they eat dinner.
"As the years passed by, our relationship deteriorated further. Tom was always exhausted after work and all he wanted to do was watch TV," say Michelle. "At mealtimes, we were like the dining dead, sitting in silence. There was little to talk about other than a blocked drain or leaky sink."
Sharing a sofa is not bonding
Desperate to save their marriage, Michelle and Tom had relationship counselling, during which the counsellor suggested they take turns to talk about why communication had broken down. "It became clear that work, bills and chores came first - our relationship and communicating was way down on our list of priorities. Finally, after 14 years of marriage, we called it a day andn the divorce has just come through. When you meet someone and have so much in common, you never think it will end like that," Michelle confesses.
So it's good to talk. But is there such a thing as talking too much? Never, according to relationship therapist Francine Kaye. "We don't share ourselves enough. If you're thinking: 'I need to paint that wall,' say it aloud, no matter how inane the subject may be. It's about getting the dialogue flowing again. The only time you should keep your thoughts to yourself is when they'll impact on your partner in a negative way."
Wall-painting aside, shared interests are essential in providing talking fodder. "If you're not doing enough together, you'll find it hard to chat," says Francine. "Go to the cinema, hit the pub together, get the Sunday papers and have a gossip. But doing your own thing is equally important - you'll have even more to bring to the table."
To spot communication trouble, ask yourself certain questions, suggests Dr Atcheson. "When was the last time you shared a thought with your partner? Or had an animated conversation about how you felt? Or had a really good laugh, just the two of you? Or talked about something other than work, the house or the children? If the answer to any of these is more than six months ago, you need to prioritise your relationship and relearn how to chat. When you started dating, you prioritised each other above all else - do that again."
Get the dialogue flowing again
Another important question to ask yourself is whether you might be causing the lack of conversation. "You may not be aware of it, but everyone has certain 'communication blocks' that they use to stop chat when they're not in the mood for a natter," says psychotherapist Paula Hall. "An example is advising - rather than listening to the full story, you skip straight to the solution so you can get on with your evening. Ask your partner to point out when you're using these blocks to help you break the habit."
And if you're sure the silences are his fault rather than yours, cut him some slack. Men aren't built for lots of chat. Research shows on average a woman says 20,000 words a day, compared to a man's 13,000***.
"Bear in mind discussions with your partner are going to be different from those with your girlfriends - there will be a few pauses," says Francine. "Therefore be prepared to be the one putting in more effort to get the conversation up and running." Perhaps avoid the subjects of shopping, shoes and Sex And The City though...

Keep it together celeb-style

Heidi Klum and Seal have been head over heels since 2003. How do they keep things hot? "Heidi is number one at all times, then the kids, then health and career," says Seal. "When we met, it was just her and me. And when the children are old and have boyfriends and girlfriends, it will still be her and me." Brings a tear to the eye!
Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman may have only been together for four years, but they spice things up with 'Naked Sundays'. "We don't go out, we're with each other. We cook naked," says Christina. Chipolata anyone?
Yasmin and Simon Le Bon have been happily married for 25 years. Their model daughter Amber explains: "Daddy's away a lot touring, so they have a chance to miss each other and they don't get on each other's nerves." So it seems absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Hollywood couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell hooked up in 1983. Their secret? Never getting married. "I wake up every day knowing I could walk out at any moment. That knowledge keeps things fresh," says Goldie.

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