“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
#1. It’s ok to be direct
Communication is something that needs to be addressed regularly in a relationship, whether or not it’s going well. Texting, calling, and even emailing are certainly some topics to include in this conversation.
Being direct and honest without being aggressive/passive-aggressive or hurtful is the goal with this check-in.
- I really like our texts during the day. I would really like it if you initiated them sometimes.
- Hearing from you always makes my day a little less overwhelming.
#2. Give a minimum
Simple and easy directions is your goal here. The less he has to think or worry about, the more he’ll accomplish. Give your partner a goal of texting you once a day. It can be as simple as Hey, Good morning, or Hope you have a good day, or even a silly GIF.
Remember, the goal is to initiate contact. Don’t have the goal of this leading to an in-depth text exchange.
Each time he initiates, make sure to express appreciation when he’s relaxed and present. You can then give him a goal of two times in the day and so on. You may end up realizing you only need him to initiate a few times a week to feel connected to him and that he cares.
#3. What was he taught about initiating contact?
This is where curiosity is your most helpful tool. Consider your partner’s upbringing and what they learned about relationships. Not all men are taught they have to initiate contact after the relationship has been established for years. We are all guilty of getting comfortable in relationships.
- Questions to consider: Do you like texting or prefer face-to-face contact? and Have others always initiated contact with you in your life?
#4. Get to know his schedule
If you know he is in meetings from 8am to 2pm, this may not be a good time to hope or expect a text from him. If you know he takes off lunch every day at 12pm, then this might be a way in. When expressing your needs, meet in the middle and make sure they’re realistic in his life as well.
Sarah Vendegna, MS, LPC – www.vendegnacounseling.com
Poor communication shows up in a variety of ways in a relationship.
It can look like not effectively communicating your needs, not letting your partner know when you are hurt, and not being an active or engaged listener. Poor communication can also consist of not initiating contact, but responding when you reach out.
He may not initiate contact for a few different reasons.
Perhaps this is the tone that was set for him in other relationships. Maybe it’s related to anxiety or being perceived as “needy”. Whatever the reason behind it, it can feel frustrating when you feel as though you are the only one putting in the effort to communicate and engage with him.
Here are some other questions to ask yourself if you are in a relationship with someone who does this:
- How does his behavior make you feel? Unseen? Invalidated? Unloved?
- Does he communicate better in other ways – face to face? On the phone?
- Are you comfortable with this dynamic? How would you like it to change?
Context is always important.
If the lack of initiating contact is a new behavior in the relationship, then reflect on what may have changed in either your relationship or in his life outside the relationship. If this has been a consistent behavior since the beginning of your relationship, then what’s changed for you that this has become an issue?
How to approach this issue
- Have a candid, face-to-face conversation and let him know how you feel using “I” statements versus “you” statements which may feel accusatory
- Ask him questions about his preferred method of communication and attempt to compromise how you will reach out to each other
- Ask yourself a hard but necessary question: is this relationship meeting my needs?
- Explore individual or couples therapy to learn important communication tools or to address the above question about the relationship meeting your needs
Anusha Zechella, Ph.D., HSP-P – www.breytapsych.com
Text messaging can include its challenges, but it can also be a great way to keep in contact with your partner throughout the day.
Sending a daily message to let you guy know you are thinking of him keeps the connection fun. Try being flirty in your texts, letting you man know you find him attractive, appreciate him, look forward to seeing him, and other sweet sentiments. Your man might even respond back to you with the same tone, further keeping that wooing going on between the two of you. This is great for the relationship!
So often texting is a method of venting frustrations, complaining, arguing, and conveying negative communications. Avoid using texting for these types of exchanges.
It is just not a good idea, and rarely if ever, solves the problem. These bigger types of issues are best discussed in person where tone is heard, not assumed, and you can read body language.
If you find that you are the one who typically does the reaching out to your partner and he rarely initiates the contact, notice if he responds to the messages you send him. As long as he responds to you, great!
Perhaps he is just not a texting type of guy, or is busy, or does not think about reaching out.
If it is important to you that he initiates a text to you more often, share this with him, but do this in person, not over texting!
Express to him how it makes you feel when he reaches out first.
Make sure that when he does reach out you are using that time to enjoy each other, rather than demand or complain. He could be avoiding your nagging if that is all you do through texts, so keep it fun and enjoyable for both of you.
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
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