How To Talk To Your Boyfriend To Improve Your Relationship

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You’ve probably heard that practicing good communication can be one of the keys to a happy relationship, but that’s often easier said than done. In general, it can be important to be honest, practice active listening, look at your partner’s nonverbal communication, and don’t always assume you know what your partner is thinking. Couples therapy can be another way to improve your communication with your significant other and help you hit the re-do button when things go awry. You may work with a couple's therapist in your local area or match with one through an online therapy platform.

Note: Although this article refers to talking to your boyfriend, the information here can apply to people of all genders.

What is communication?

Communication can make or break a relationship

Communication generally refers to the act of sending or receiving information, but in a relationship, we may need to navigate the best methods to get that information across. It can be possible to communicate often and still not be satisfied with your relationship. 

Good communication may not simply refer to the frequency of communication, but also to several other factors, such as active listening, bridging gaps in communication quickly, and understanding how best to relay your feelings to your partner. It may not be the spiciest thing, but effective, healthy communication is often the key to healthy relationships.

Tips for improving communication with your partner can include the following:

  • Be honest.
  • Listen actively without worrying about your turn.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal communication.
  • Don’t assume your partner agrees with you.

As you continue reading, we’ll provide more details about what each of these tips looks like and how to make them work.

The importance of improving your communication

Studies have found that good communication can be an indicator of a couple’s happiness. Still, many couples struggle in this area. According to one poll of mental health professionals, poor communication tends to be a leading cause of couples splitting up. 

It can be a common misconception that you must have a similar communication style as your partner for your relationship to succeed. While it may be more challenging to learn a new way of communication, it doesn’t have to preclude you from being able to work on issues with your partner. If this is the case in your relationship, both you and your partner might need to accommodate each other. This could mean understanding that their style might be different, but it isn’t necessarily wrong, and vice versa. 

Furthermore, the way you give love might not be the way you want to receive love. If you don’t think you and your partner have good communication skills, it may not signal the end of your relationship. Couples may improve the happiness of their relationships by learning better communication skills. 

How to talk to your partner about anything

Getty/AnnaStills

It may be important to keep in mind that your partner’s communication style, like your own, was likely developed before the two of you met. This could help you from getting overly upset when you are having a conversation with your partner and it doesn’t go the way you thought it would. 

We usually learn how to communicate based on our upbringing and what is modeled for us, as well as through our own personal experiences. If you two are not on the same page, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one communication style is better than the other. Having this difference can make you feel like it’s not safe to open up to your partner, but keeping the lines of communication open can ensure that you’re not walking around with built-up emotions and frustrations that don’t get resolved. 

While everyone can be different, some basic rules may apply to maintaining healthy communication in almost every romantic relationship. Consider keeping these in mind when you are having a conversation with your partner.

Be honest

The number-one tip for improving communication within your relationship is generally to be honest with your partner. Your partner may be the person you should be able to be completely open with. While it may not always be easy to be vulnerable and straightforward, this may be the only way to ensure your relationship is one you can feel safe in. 

Keep in mind that arguments may turn out much worse if one partner is withholding information. You might find that having a small conflict upfront about a disagreement can be much easier to resolve than waiting for the conflict to grow, either through a lie or an omission. It can be important to be truthful in a conversation with your partner, especially if you expect the same.

Listen without worrying about your turn

Good communication may not just be about the things you say; it can also be about being an active listener. Consider sincerely listening when your partner is talking to you. Rather than thinking about what you are going to say next, you might focus on their part of the conversation and think about what they’re saying to you. You might miss a lot of the conversation if you are preparing for a response before they’ve had the chance to get their point across. Try to ask your boyfriend open-ended questions, and actively listen to what he has to say.

Pay attention to nonverbal communication 

People can communicate in ways other than words. In fact, a large part of communication tends to be nonverbal. Much can be learned by paying attention to people’s eyes, posture, and gestures. If your partner is struggling to say something to you, or you feel like you’re misunderstanding them, try to look at their body language. It may help you decipher the message. 

Also, you can pay attention to your partner’s body language when you are talking to them. This can help you recognize how they’re receiving your messages. For example, if they are shifting around and not making eye contact, that might be a sign that they’re uncomfortable with the topic at hand. It can take some time to learn these nuances, but if you pay attention, you may be able to pick up on what your partner might not be communicating verbally. 

Nonverbal communication can refer to a person’s expressions and actions. When you are talking to your partner, whether it is about a serious matter or not, try giving them all your attention. For example, you might want to avoid checking your phone or starting an involved activity while the two of you are talking. Consider whether the other tasks you must do can wait until the conversation has ended.

Don’t assume your partner agrees with you

When you’ve known someone for a long time, you may start to feel like you can read their mind. This can become a dangerous habit, as it may lead you to make assumptions that aren’t necessarily accurate. When you think you already know how the other person feels, you often don’t feel the need to communicate with them. This can make people feel unheard and create more problems in the relationship. If a decision is important, you may need to have a conversation with your partner about it, even if you think you know how they will respond.

Communicate on a regular basis

In addition to the suggestions above, you might want to consider having one weekly or bi-weekly check-ins or conversations with your partner to talk about the highs, lows, and concerns that each of you is having. This doesn’t have to be anything formal, but something that can be a fun, lighthearted activity to do together over dinner or while relaxing on the couch at night. You can even use conversation starters to explore fun conversations. Making conversation with your partner a regular event can make it easier to discuss difficult topics as they arise and help you and your partner better understand each other’s communication styles. 

Still struggling to communicate in your relationship? 

Communication can make or break a relationship

Knowing the things to talk about with your boyfriend and learning the right ways to communicate may be the best thing you can do to improve your relationship. When you find communication lagging between you and your partner, a couples therapist may be able to help you build better strategies together. You might consider working with an individual therapist as well to address how your past has impacted the way you communicate and learn how to improve upon that. If having healthy conversation with your partner is a priority, this may be something you want to seek out help for.

Benefits of online therapy

There can be many potential barriers to seeking out therapy in person. Often, couples have a difficult time speaking to a stranger about the intimate details of their relationship. Online therapy could make you feel more at ease while discussing these sensitive topics. This form of therapy can also be more convenient since you can meet with your therapist from the comfort of your home at a time that fits both of your schedules.

Effectiveness of online therapy

A recent qualitative study found that many couples found videoconferencing to be beneficial in granting them a sense of “control and comfort” during sessions. This study also suggested that online therapy could create a better sense of therapeutic alliance, which can be an important predictor of successful therapy. 

Read below for some reviews of our BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing a range of relationship communication challenges.

Counselor reviews

“Rachel is awesome! Gently encouraging and very responsive. I prefer to communicate via messages and I love that that is an option. I feel that she totally understands me and is never judgmental. The stress from work impacts my partner less since I’ve been talking to Rachel – I am managing my stress and insecurity better.”


“I’ve worked with Alyson for 1 month and it was my first time working with a therapist. From when I started, I feel so much better. I was dealing with frustrations in my relationship and I also was constantly stressed and anxious. Alyson showed me ways to communicate better in my relationship and how to work at them. She also helped me with stress management tactics and now I feel really good about how to handle my stress. I feel much less anxious now. Overall I am in a much happier place and obstacles feel like merely obstacles because there’s stress-free ways to tackle life problems. Thank you so much, Alyson!”

Takeaway

The healthiest relationships often rely on a combination of effective communication and emotional intimacy. If you’d like to ensure you communicate with your significant other in a way that can improve your relationship, it can be vital to practice active listening, watch your partner’s nonverbal communication, be honest, and don’t assume you can read your partner’s mind. Making communication a regular part of your relationship can ensure that issues don’t build up until they become unsurpassable. You may also consider working with a couples therapist in person or online to further improve your communication skills.

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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