When a relationship goes sour, one of the first things to suffer is communication. If you can't communicate with each other, then there is no possible way to salvage the relationship. The thing to do is to prevent communication from ever being a problem. One of the most important aspects of this is to learn how to be a good listener. Listed below are a few guidelines to help you achieve this.
Give Them Your Undivided Attention
When your lover wants to talk, put everything else out of your mind and actually be there with them while they are talking. You cannot possibly listen to them if you are thinking about other things you would rather be doing, or have to do.
Listen To What Is Actually Being Said
This is especially true if you are in a disagreement. It is very easy to pick out the things in what your partner is saying that you want to hear and can throw back at them. This is not some high school debate class where you score points for winning an argument, this is your sweetheart and your actions here and now will dictate the course of the rest of your life together!
Look At Them When They Are Talking To You
Have you ever tried to talk to someone that refused to make eye contact with you? It is very disheartening, especially when you have something important to say. When talking with your sweetie, actually look at them and not around the room.
Notice The Hidden Emotional Tone Of Your Partner
Very often, your partner won't say exactly what is on their mind straight away and it is up to you to draw them out. By looking for their emotional tone, through their body language, voice inflections etc., you will get a very good indicator of what is actually bothering them and also how it is affecting them.
Acknowledge Your Partner
A correct acknowledgement can very often completely resolve a dispute in one go. It has a two-fold effect: 1. It tells your partner that you have heard and understand what they are saying and 2. It makes them feel better by releasing some of the emotional baggage that may have built up on the subject. A good rule of thumb when there is a lot of emotional baggage attached to a situation, is to acknowledge them by repeating in your own words what they have just said to you.
If your sweetheart is angry, very often they will lash out at you because you are there and are someone they can take their frustration out on. While this may not be pleasant and the most ideal way to handle a situation, I'm afraid it is part of the job description of being a sweetheart. Realize that it is just a way for your sweetie to vent and resist the urge to get angry back, it will only make things worse.