Are you really listening to your partner?

Is hearing your partner the same as listening to them? 

This may sound a tad pedantic! Stay with me! 

I imagine, if you’re like many of us, you will find yourself at times nodding your head whilst in conversation with your partner waiting patiently for your turn to speak! 


You find your mind wanders to other things as your partner is talking and you get a little lost because you’ve become distracted.

Is this you?

It’s very very common amongst blokes I talk with. And their partners!

This style of communication is a form of passive listening.

If you are not present enough this can lead to misunderstandings for you and your partner.


Effects on Relationships

If you find yourself passively listening it’s possible that: 

  • Your partner may feel unheard and undervalued.
  • More emotional distance is created between you both.
  • Conflicts may escalate or increase.
  • A sense of disconnection can creep in.

You can see how, over time, these issues can erode the foundation of trust and intimacy. 

To help you become a better listener and improve your relationship, here are five easy steps to practice active listening:


5 Steps to Active Listening

1. Pay Full Attention

  • Put away your phone or turn off the TV.
  • Make eye contact and show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.
  • Your undivided attention will make your partner feel valued and respected.

2. Use Affirming Language

  • Focus, nod and say “I understand,” or “That makes sense” This can go a long way in showing that you are engaged.
  • These are active signals to your partner that you are not just hearing but truly listening.

3. Reflect and Paraphrase

  • Repeat back what you’ve heard in your own words. For example, “So what you’re saying is…”
  • This ensures that you understand correctly and shows your partner that their words matter.

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

  • Encourage deeper conversation by asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
  • Questions like “How did that make you feel?” or “What do you think we should do?” invite your partner to share more.

5. Practice Empathy

  • Try to understand your partner’s emotions and perspectives.
  • Even if you don’t agree, acknowledging their feelings can help bridge any emotional gap and foster a deeper connection.


Active listening can transform your relationship.

Give your full attention, use affirming language, reflection, ask open-ended questions, and practice empathy.

It’s not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding and valuing your partner’s thoughts and feelings.

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