Skip to main content

Hello

Communication is in the Top 3 issues that people contact me about.

‘My partner never listens’ is something I hear frequently from clients.

‘My partner wants to talk all the time!’ might be their partner’s version of events!

Over time, this can lead to the unhealthy habit of losing your voice and at its worst, it can mean you give up on conversation altogether because it always ends badly.

A few months after my partner discovered he’s autistic, he said to me ‘I know the face I have to make so you think I’m still listening’. I was shocked and felt very hurt about that at the time. Many people, including those who are autistic, master skills to mask/camouflage their anxiety and/or to fit in with the world around them. In an intimate relationship, this can leave partners feeling confused, disconnected, unheard and misunderstood.

Prolonged interaction can also be difficult and tiring for autistic people. It increases anxiety levels so they use survival and coping strategies to reduce this like zoning out or leaving the environment. Whilst it is an understandable reaction to an environment that we’re not feeling safe in or equipped for, it can have a major impact on both individuals and on the health and experience of the relationship.

I asked my partner how long he could talk to me for and he reckoned 20 minutes on a good day, much less after a day at work and even less if it was emotional content compared to information. It can initially be depressing to know this when you’re a conversation person. To work on restoring safety, trust and a better relationship, this is brilliant information to know where you are so you can work from there.

Rather than expecting a long and leisurely conversation, prioritising what you most want to share or talk about and sticking to less than 30 minutes could be a good place to start. It’s more likely that you’ll feel heard and your partner may begin to feel less anxious. My partner has said often that it isn’t that he doesn’t want to hear what I’ve got to say — what he can’t do is beat his anxiety.

If you love conversation, it’s also really important to have other people that you can have the longer, leisurely conversations with. Meeting up with them on a regular basis is important for your social and emotional wellbeing. When we project this expectation onto our partner who’s social capacity and interest in this kind of interaction is different to ours, it can create more disconnection rather than the connection we’re wanting.

If improving communication with your partner is something you’re struggling with right now, I’m here to help you.

Book a complimentary call to discuss how private coaching can assist you to make the changes you desire or access support from me and other travel companions right now via Coaching in Community, with transformational and surprisingly fun coaching adventures that support your step by steps to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity, be YOU again and flourish – in your relationships and your life.

With love and sparkle…

Neurodiverse Relationship Coach Natalie's signature with an x below

Natalie Roberts

Author Natalie Roberts

Natalie Roberts is an award-winning Master Coach and Mentor supporting individuals and couples in neurodiverse relationships in the UK and around the world. She coaches individuals and couples to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity and thrive so that they can be true to themselves and feel empowered to make decisions about their present and future that are positive and hopeful.

More posts by Natalie Roberts