How to Improve Communication in Relationships

Good communication in relationshipscommunication is the key to a successfully getting along with your loved ones. Being able to convey how you feel and what you think is essential in good communication. However, that requires knowing how to effectively communicate with others. By understanding different communication styles, you can better interact with others and have more successful relationships.

How We Develop Communication in Relationships

We learn how to communicate from our surroundings – families, friends, communities, and the media. As we grow, we learn how to communicate from our parents, siblings, and extended family members. This information is supplemented by our friends and members of our communities. This includes teachers, role models, and others who directly impact our lives. Additionally, communication in relationships is influenced by what we see on television, in movies, and on the radio. We gather information from all of these sources and form our own style of communication.

The things we learn from others determines how we interact with others. Some of those skills are negative and others are positive. In the end, our goal should be to develop positive habits when it comes to communication in relationships. However, the things we learn from others are not always positive. It’s important to understand communication styles and how to utilize them positively.

Types of Communication

Everyone has a communication style. Essentially, we can separate communication styles into four categories – passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. Every moment that we interact with others, we are utilizing one of these four types of relationship communication styles. The way we use them is learned and can be positive or negative. By understanding your communication style and that of others, you can have more successful relationships with others.

Passive Communication

Through passive communication, an individual focuses on “maintaining the peace.” This often requires avoidance of one’s own needs, wants, boundaries, and personal rights. Passive communication prioritizes the needs of others and puts an emphasis on avoiding conflict.

Passive communicators often show signs of distress, such as poor eye contact, slumped shoulders or body posture, and ignoring one’s own feelings. People who are communicating passively make jokes at their own expense and fail to positively express feelings. They often dismiss their own opinions in order to be overly considerate of others.

Although passive communication in relationships can be negative in that it does not convey one’s position, it also has some benefits. It makes the speaker less of a target and focuses on the other person, who may need to speak their mind. Passive communication can have a place in positive communication, but you should use it sparingly.

Aggressive Communication

Aggressive communication in relationships is the opposite of passive communication. It is identified by strongly expressing one’s needs, wants, and opinions. Sometimes aggressive communication crosses the boundaries of others. This can involve interrupting others as well as seeming threatening. Physical tells of aggressive communication include crossed arms, sneering, and loud speaking.

Aggressive communicators clearly get their point across and make sure their needs are conveyed. However, they often fail to recognize the needs and rights of others. They often do not listen well and can hurt or alienate others. When seeking to clearly express oneself, aggressive communication can be beneficial; however, it can also fail to consider the other person’s points.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

Passive-aggressive communication is indicated by someone who seems to be listening and acting appropriately or passively, but is actually aggressive under the surface. Often the person communicates hostility in subtle ways and seeks to control the situation in a subtle manner. Passive aggressive communicators may shame, blame, and criticize others. They fail to connect with others and also fail to convey their needs effectively.

The only upside of passive-aggressive communication is limiting one’s emotions for a short period of time. Although they may manipulate a situation in the short term, they rarely have positive outcomes over time.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication involves clearly stating needs, wants, and rights in an honest way. Most assertive communicators respect the needs of others and present their own needs clearly. They often use “I” statements to convey information instead of blaming others with “you” statements.

Assertive communication can benefit both speakers and listeners. It respects the needs of everyone and encourages open communication. People often accuse assertive communicators of being aggressive because they are blunt and clear, but the difference is they are not self-seeking.

Using Effective Communication in Relationships

By understanding your own style of communication in relationships, as well as that of others, you can be more successful interacting with the people in your life. Continuous negative communication styles can result in the need to separate from a relationship. If that relationship is a marriage, you may consider legal separation or divorce. If you’re considering divorce, we can help. Call a Fresno divorce lawyer at Rick Banks Law today at (559) 222-4891.

9 Divorce Resolutions to Make for the New Year

divorce resolutionThe past year may have been one of the worst years of your life, especially if you just signed divorce papers or decided to separate from the one you once believed to be your lifelong partner. As we head into 2018, it is a time for new beginnings.

But starting over can be daunting, intimidating, and a bit lonely. It doesn’t have to be if you make these after divorce resolutions and keep to them:

Divorce Resolution #1: Establish Healthy Boundaries

If you could never say “no” or you kept letting negative conduct or behavior slide “just this once,” you may have been a people-pleaser in your previous relationship. Without healthy boundaries, relationships or marriages are likely to fail. Both partners should treat each other with respect and like equals. Neither partner should take advantage of the other. Over time, it can become easier to be complacent and keep your silence in order to avoid confrontations or arguments. No longer. You need to, within healthy reason, build new walls.

Make a list of behaviors you won’t tolerate as well as your ideal reactions to each. For example, if your friend frequently blows you off, how do you react and what will you do? Start practicing your new voice now so that you can use it in your new relationship.

Divorce Resolution #2: Love Yourself

As trite and cliché as it sounds, loving yourself is crucial when starting anew. This means being positive and turning down your internal negative critical voice that says counterproductive statements like, “I’m ugly,” “I’m stupid,” “I’m a failure,” or, “How could I be so blind?” Don’t focus on the past. Rather, say, “Well, that was interesting,” and move on. Go to the library or purchase a book about loving yourself to research the best approach for you.

Divorce Resolution #3: Diary or Journal

Keeping a daily diary or journal is a great way to keep a positive mindset. This is about reflecting on the positive and new things that occurred, promises you make for yourself to do the next day, and expressing your gratitude. Your diary or journal should be the place where you manifest your hopes and dreams, honoring who you are.

Divorce Resolution #4: Budgeting or Managing Your Finances

At the end of your divorce, you may find yourself with a lump sum of money or in debt. No matter your circumstances, it is crucial to speak to a financial planner about how you can save and invest your money. Not all planners require a minimum balance to invest your money, but it is important to ask. You will gain extraordinary confidence when you budget and manager your money, especially if you relied on your former spouse or partner to handle your finances.

Divorce Resolution #5: Know Your Truths

After spending years with someone, your beliefs may have become the other’s, or vice versa. You may no longer know who you are, which just means you need to find your own truths again. Start by writing down what you believe and create categories for friendship, faith, worldviews, workplace and romance. This empowering exercise can help you realize you only needed to rediscover your truths.

Divorce Resolution #6: Date for Yourself

Many people can’t be by themselves, wanting companionship and to fill a void left from their divorce. But when you are feeling something lacking, you will find another in a similar situation. If you fear being alone, you will only attract another with the same fear. Rebounding because you don’t want to be alone will only set you back and bring you pain and suffering.

Divorce Resolution #7: Socialize and Make New Friends

After a divorce, you may notice that the friends you had while a couple have disappeared or chosen a side that is not yours. Now is the time to make new ones; not to try to win back the old ones — they are not worth it. New friends are everywhere; you only need to look. You can join a group on and meet people with similar interests as you. Speak to neighbors, go to happy hour with your co-workers, or be involved with the community or your religious organization.

Divorce Resolution #8: New Hobby

Where your spouse may have shot down your ideas, now you can freely try a new activity or hobby, such as arts, sky diving, hiking, bouldering or rock climbing, swimming, etc. Not only will you be meeting new people, but also by having more hobbies and keeping active, you are also less aware of being alone.

Divorce Resolution #9: Travel

The best part about being divorced is no one can tell you “no” after you suggest a vacation spot. You can go anywhere, even if alone. Go and explore. Hop in your car and take a drive. Get out there and experience something new, even if it’s only one town over.

Self-Care Can Help You Survive Your Divorce and Come Out Stronger

divorce lawyerAs an accomplished divorce lawyer, I have seen too many clients not provide themselves with what will help them through the emotionally charged and complex process of divorce: self-care. Whether you are going through an amicable or a contentious divorce, you are being pulled in different, stressful directions and experiencing waves of transitions. Thus, it is even more important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. By doing so, you can come out of the divorce stronger and positive. You will be thinking not that it is an end to a marriage, but a new beginning in your life.

In over 15 years as a practicing divorce lawyer, I have seen the clients who spend a couple of hours a week on self-care feel more grounded, healthier, at peace, and ready to find love again. Self-care is necessary no matter who or what you are: male, female, young, or old.

What Does Self-Care Include?

This does not necessarily mean going to a spa, indulging in pampering, or taking long bubble baths. Rather, positive self-care can include:

  • meetings with a life coach or wellness consultant,
  • doing yoga,
  • mediating or breathing exercises,
  • working out,
  • writing down your negative thoughts and then destroying them (symbolic of ridding yourself of negativity), or even
  • spending time socializing with people who make you laugh, inspire you, and/or make you feel better about yourself.

As a seasoned divorce lawyer, I have seen people take on new hobbies like painting, cooking, climbing, playing a sport, or hiking. And as a positive consequence, they are making new friends.

When you are going through a divorce, the proceedings and issues are foremost in your mind, creating more stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts that affect your mental health and bleeds into your physical health. This is why it is crucial to set aside time to care for your well-being. By doing so, you revitalize yourself mentally, physically, and even emotionally.

Buy Out the Time to Take Care of Yourself – You’ll Thank Yourself Later

Having handled many cases as a divorce lawyer, I have seen that the people who survive their divorce and come out stronger are those who perform self-care at least an hour a week. And let’s be real. If you don’t schedule the time, you won’t end up doing it. So make sure to put your self-care in your calendar. And each self-care hour, do something that makes you feel amazing, special, and unique. Not only will you gain the strength to persevere, but also the perspective to know the path you are on is right for you.

Here Are Some 2017 Celebrity Divorce Couples You May Not Have Known About

celebrity divorceLove can be a whirlwind of emotions, causing some to think with only their hearts as they head starry-eyed to the alter. But as time passes, they realize their love was not the lasting kind. 2017 saw heartbreak as quite few celebrities decided to separate or divorce. Check out some 2017 celebrity divorce couples below.

Celebrity Divorce: Chris Pratt and Anna Faris

After eight years of marriage, Hollywood’s “realest” couple decided to legally separate on July 13, 2017. The couple met in 2007 on the set of Take Me Home Tonight. However, at the end of 2017, Pratt officially filed for dissolution of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, PEOPLE confirms. The Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park star requested for joint custody of five-year-old son, Jack, according to the filing PEOPLE obtained.

According to TMZ, shortly thereafter, Faris filed her response, also requesting joint custody as well as child support. The two also have a prenuptial agreement and are near finalizing a property settlement.

Celebrity Separation: Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor

After seventeen years of marriage and the birth of two children, this couple announced their separation on May 26, 2017. The couple first met on set of the 1999 short film Heat Vision and Jack. They later co-starred in ZoolanderDodgeball and Tropic Thunder. They announced their split in a joint statement: “With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate. Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends.”

Celebrity Divorce: Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana

This couple were married in 2012. Their first child was born on January 3, 2017, and a week later, the couple separated, which they announced months later. Divorce proceedings began in London on June 15, where singer-songwriter Janet Jackson sought full custody of son Eissa. In an interview with PEOPLE, Jackson’s brother, Randy, stated that CEO billionaire Wissam Al Mana verbally abused the singer later in the relationship and “…[made her feel like] a prisoner in her own home.”

Celebrity Divorce: Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac

The Avengers star Scarlett Johansson and French journalist Romain Dauriac wed in a private ceremony in 2014. Johansson filed for divorce in March 2017, requesting for sole custody of their three-year-old daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac. By mid-September 2017, the couple submitted a sealed settlement in Manhattan Supreme Court, finalizing the divorce and settling the custody dispute, according to Page Six.

Celebrity Divorce: Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sara Kapfer

After 22 years, this high-school sweetheart couple, who married in March 1994, called it quits. Although Kapfer filed for legal separation in August 2014, according to E! News, the Jerry McGuire and American Horror Story actor, Cuba Gooding Jr., filed for divorce on January 19, 2017. According to the court documents obtained by E! News, he cited irreconcilable differences, requesting joint legal and physical custody of this celebrity divorce couple’s then 10-year-old daughter Piper. He indicated he was willing to provide spousal support to Kapfer. The former couple also has two adult children.

Celebrity Separation: David Schwimmer and Zoe Buckman

Friends star David Schwimmer met British photographer Zoe Buckman in 2007. They were engaged in March 2010 and secretly married in June of that year. The couple welcomed their only child, daughter Cleo in May 2011. In April 2017, the couple announced their separation in a statement to USA Today: “It is with great love, respect and friendship that we have decided to take some time apart while we determine the future of our relationship. Our priority is, of course, our daughter’s happiness and well being during this challenging time, so we ask for your support and respect for our privacy as we continue to raise her together and navigate this new chapter for our family.”

Celebrity Separation: Fergie and Josh Duhamel

After eight years of marriage (2009), the You Already Know singer and Transformers actor confirmed their separation in a joint statement to USA Today in September 2017: “With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year. To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.” The couple has a four-year-old son, Axl Jack.

Celebrity Divorce: Mel B and Stephen Belafonte

X Factor judge and former Spice Girls singer Mel B. filed for divorce from husband of ten years, Stephen Belafonte. She cited allegations of both domestic violence and infidelity. According to TMZ, this celebrity divorce couple came to an agreement regarding the custody of their six-year-old daughter, Madison, after having settled the domestic violence issue.