Relationship counselors and gurus around the world will tell you that the key to any successful relationship is just a little communication.

But being an effective communicator is no small feat. There’s a reason plenty of individuals feel like relationships they want to work out crash and burn in front of their eyes, and they have no way of stopping it.

If this sounds familiar to you, then when you were in these relationships, you probably had the increasing sensation that, even though your partner was just a few feet away, actually reaching him felt impossible.

That’s what happens when people lack communication skills. But not everyone is comfortable saying what they need, or finding effective, non-combative ways to do so. So men out there who are struggling, here are some communication techniques of men in serious relationships.

They never accuse

Accusing someone of trying to do something negative ie “You’re trying to make me jealous” or “You’re trying to hurt my feelings” or “You’re being lazy” never gets anyone anywhere in a discussion. The second a person feels accused of something negative, they become defensive and/or shut down and aren’t willing to have a neutral conversation. Mature men speak from a place of explaining how their partner’s actual actions have been affecting them—they don’t accuse the person of an intent.

They don’t tell people how those people feel

Men in successful relationships know they should never tell their partners how their partners feel. Nobody likes being told how they feel (even if the person saying it is correct). Successful communication involves asking the other person how they feel, and why they feel that way. It never involves making assumptions about the other person’s emotions.

They acknowledge the other person’s feelings/experience

Men, in particular, can struggle with this, but it’s a skill that separates mature from immature men. When a woman tells a man how she is feeling, a mature man takes a moment to register that, acknowledge it, and respond appropriately. In other words, if a woman says, “I’m feeling very sad right now” a mature man doesn’t just charge through to the logistical parts of the conversation. He pauses to show compassion.

They express gratitude as often as possible

Feeling underappreciated is one of the top things women complain about in relationships. Men in successful relationships appreciate all the things their partners do and are out loud every day. They make a point of acknowledging how much their partners improve their lives, and telling them so as often as possible.

They talk about plans before making them

Experienced men know that simply discussing plans before making them can prevent a lot of relationship arguments. This includes talking to their partner before making plans that won’t include their partner, just to make sure there wasn’t something special their partner wanted to do together that day. It also includes talking to their partner before RSVPing to an event for the both of them.

They tell rather than show their emotions

Successful communicators display self-control when it comes to their emotions. While they may be feeling angry of frustrated, they don’t behave that way. In other words, they don’t throw tantrums, display passive aggressive behavior or make impulsive decisions based on negative emotions. They say, “I’m feeling very frustrated right now and need a minute to decompress.” They don’t allow their strong emotions to dictate their actions.

They express when they feel weak or insecure

Mature men come to realize that if they do not admit when they are feeling weak or insecure that they will act out in destructive ways to compensate for those feelings. Men in successful relationships tell their partners when they’re feeling weak, insecure or suffering from self-doubt. Expressing these feelings stops these feelings from controlling them.

They ask questions

If you sit with a man who has been happily married for several years and one who cannot seem to hold down a relationship for three months you’ll probably notice one big difference: the happily married man asks questions. He doesn’t dominate the conversation with statements and stories. He actively gives everyone the chance to participate in the conversation. He is even aware of the shyer individuals, who may need more encouragement to speak up.


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