'Communication starts with the small things'

Introducing Dr Love, who solves your relationship riddles in a confusing digital age

Q. I am often told that communication is an extremely important part of any relationship. Are there things I can do to make sure my boyfriend and I communicate more?
A. There are actually a number of tried and tested methods of trying to build communication between you and your boyfriend, if the two of you ever decide to approach a professional about this. The first thing to do is try and figure out whether or not you are both actually listening to each other. Try and pinpoint what the two of you feel comfortable talking about, and what subjects tend to create walls between you. If you believe you aren't communicating about things that matter, start with the small things — ask him how his day was, for instance, or what he did today, or what you read in the paper recently, or what he thinks about a specific person or event. Encourage him to ask you questions too. Most men are like stubborn little boys; they have to be coaxed into things. Keep that in mind and be patient.

Q. I want to end a relationship I have been in for two years now, but I'm worried about the toll it may take on my health. What do you suggest I do?
A. This depends entirely upon how you and your partner choose to approach this. Is it a mutual decision? If it is, that is half the battle won. If it isn't, the act of breaking up may take a pretty serious toll on your health. Some people experience serious physical and emotional issues, while there is also the financial aspect to consider in some cases. The best thing to do is sit down and discuss why the relationship needs to end, and try arriving at a consensus. Try and get your partner to see your point of view and arrive at the same conclusion. Talk about this as much as possible because, without communication, you're in for a fairly rough ride. Good luck.

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