AdviceBushwickColumnsKissingNew YorkSex and Dating

The One Thing You Need To Make Your Relationship Work

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

Bold statement, right? Don’t worry. You aren’t reading click-bait.

Having written a tell-all detailing some of those lovely, torrid and beautiful times – the innermost part of me wanted to reach out to others to simply explain the one thing you need in any relationship, and why it is so very important from not only my personal experience but from a researched point of view.

So, what’s the one thing you need for a sweet relationship?

Pic via this website

 The reason most people never end up in a relationship is that there is a wall that one doesn’t understand. This is also the reason most relationships don’t make it past three months.

In my recent experience, the guy I’ve been interested in – he’s really busy. What he doesn’t know is the guy I dated before him was busy. Really busy, with other women. That caused me to go into flight or fight mode. Women tend to think if a guy is blowing her off all of the time that he’s not interested. So, I called the current guy out on it. He immediately apologized. That was the establishment of ‘emotional fluency’.

This man became even more attractive because he gave me an honest reason for everything. It wasn’t me. In that moment, I decided to not be on the defensive with him. That maybe I should give him a little slack. I did, and he’s been more vocal about it all. He admitted to me that he has other things going on in his life. Things he wasn’t quite ready to share with me, but naturally came out in the open because he started to trust me. Since then, I’ve learned to be more forgiving and less demanding. I’ve learned more about him, and he’s learned more about me. Instead of calling him a ‘dick’, or being rude about the fact that he doesn’t have time to see me, I’ve been sending him messages cheering him on for being such a bad-ass.

Emotional fluency really matters in a relationship and can make or break how compatible you are with another person. Whether you are friends, lovers, or married, emotional fluency is crucial in making it work because you have to learn to talk to one another.

Have you ever noticed that the breakdown between you and someone you’re interested in came directly as a result of not seeing one another and always talking via app or text?

Today’s social norms have essentially created a communication barrier, human beings tend to get more emotional now, more than ever, because we should be able to immediately convey our feelings, wants and needs and get an immediate response back from the person we are talking to; which leads to higher levels of interpersonal stress. “The more that we’re able to put into some sort of language and convey it to our partner, that these are my inner experiences right now, the more empathy there is in the relationship,” says Brian Gleason, LCSW, who co-founded the Exceptional Marriage practice and book Exceptional Relationships: Transformation Through Embodied Couples Work with his wife, Marcia. The two have been together for nearly four decades – that’s some killer emotional commitment.

That empathy and communication create a space of emotional fluency between one another. Say for example you have a really important event or meeting coming up, and you’re worried about it. Instead of putting those anxieties into words, you just sit there staring at your phone. “In that case,” Gleason says, your partner doesn’t have anything to work with from your outside behavior, which can lead to misunderstanding.

Your partner reacts: “That’s what you always do, you’re never available, you’re never initiating anything, you’re always kept inside your devices.” Without a way in, your hypothetical partner can’t respond to your inner experience. But if you do learn to convey the experience — so long as they respond to your longing for connection, as relationship experts have found to be so essential — Gleason says that “instead of a conflict, you get an alliance.”

So How Do You Put Emotional Fluency To Work For You & Your Partner? Change Your Emotional Tendencies

For women, they often go into fight or flight mode when a guy goes cold. He quits texting, or talking to you as often and refrains from all forms of communication. This is normal in both sexes, especially if you are very in touch with your emotions. If a person becomes distant, take a beat, and try not to react immediately in a defensive text, there may be something they are not opening up to you about; thus, you change your emotional tendencies. Maybe they have a second job and aren’t proud of it, or they have a family obligation that is emotional and they just aren’t ready to share that part of their self with you yet. If you typically emotionally respond in a hateful or defensive way, do the opposite.

Start Forgiving Yourself

Take a step back and tell yourself you are sorry. Forgiving yourself for your own downfalls, emotional baggage, or commitment issues can help you forgive your partner when they don’t live up to your expectations.

Toss Expectation Out The Window

Toss that shit. Pic via website

Stop expecting and start communicating. If your partner or person of interest is having a bad day, tell them they’re bad-ass. Compliment them in your own way. Your partner needs to know you are proud of their dedication to whatever is keeping them tied up. Whether it’s two jobs, family, kids, eating healthy, trying to lose weight, getting their mental health back on track, or simply juggling everything in life – they need to know you appreciate their efforts. You are that one person, the person they are starting to trust or trust more than anyone. You are the one person who sees that they are a genuine bad-ass.

Stop Texting

Not as easy as it sounds, but stop talking about your relationship with one another via apps, text or email. Humans need to feel safe, and the biggest way to safety between two people is looking one another in the face and talking about things. You have no genuine, emotional idea of what the other is really saying via text – and it can be disastrous. If you do text and want to continue this form of communication you need to be big on forgiveness, chill out and wait for a response before jumping to conclusions.

Rock Your Own Life

Via Pinterest

Your partner shouldn’t be your ‘everything’, and a busy person will have so much more respect for you if you have your own life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the romance of it all. Having your own life will give you tons of emotional fluency because you can tell one another about it all. Sharing stories and anecdotes about the things you do outside of what you have together can create even more emotional fluency.

Take It One Day At A Time

Seeing someone, dating, and relationships take hard work. You won’t always have time for one another. Take the time you do have and use it to your advantage. Just coffee or tea can be a great time. Grab an ice cream or a quick lunch. A phone call late at night for 15 minutes can keep things fresh too. You don’t have to be consumed with someone to make it work. Sometimes it’s the little things that make it awesome, like meeting up for a high school makeout session in a parking lot.

When it comes to living your life, you should be happy. The person you are ‘talking to’, seeing, dating, or married to should be part of your happiness. We’re all different, unique and lovely in our own way – emotional fluency is the key to being more compatible over time. The best way to develop emotional fluency is by being open with one another about our emotions and feelings.

If the person you are developing a relationship with constantly backs away from all discussion, and you can’t find a common ground with emotional fluency, you might want to consider moving on. You can’t force someone to be compatible with you and your emotional happiness.

Baker, Drake. (2016, June 29). Why a Couples Therapist Says ‘Emotional Fluency’ Is Crucial for a Relationship.


Harvey, Shannon. (2014, April 16). Can We Change Our Emotional Tendencies?.





Previous post

30 queer plays in 60 straight minutes

Next post

We Wanna Send You to an Awesome Dating Workshop

Brittany McComas - Sassy Lil' Biscuit

Brittany McComas - Sassy Lil' Biscuit

Sassy Lil' Biscuit moonlighting as an underwater basket weaver. What? It's a valid profession.