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Try not to get bogged down in intellectual answers. Even if you know answers, see if you can connect to your feelings about it and notice whether any other thoughts,feelings, associations, or memories come to you spontaneously. Sometimes best stuff just suddenly occurs to us.
Next, find an opportunity when you and your lover aren't rushed or distracted, and share how you are feeling about issue. When mentioning something about her/his behavior that affects you, phrase it within your own experience ("When I think that you are not listening to me I feel...I then worry that...it reminds me of...which feels... to me).
Even when you want to mention something that your lover does, focus on you and your deeper responses. You may want to ask for something specific ("Could we set aside times to listen to each other?") which your lover can consider, but initially it is usually best to have you and your lover listen to and understand each others' deeper responses.
You might be tempted to leap to a solution, but this is only beginning. If you settle on a solution too quickly, you could miss something that still needs to be unearthed.
The listener's job is to listen attentively and to verbalize understanding for other's feelings, regardless of whether or not listener agrees with her/his lover's perception of events. For example, maybe you think that you're one who's always listening to your lover, and it is s/he who doesn't listen to you. It's okay that you do not agree with her/his version of reality, but for now, offer only your understanding of how s/he feels and what it means to her/him. It is important that you suspend your difference of opinion and only offer understanding.
When you're finished with that, switch roles. Feel free, as one who just listened, to say somethng like "When I hear you say that, I feel...because I believe that I do listen....This reminds me of...and I feel...and I don't know what else to do. I feel that you don't listen to me. When this happens I feel...." It's important to not argue about who does or doesn't listen, or what you each do, but rather, original speaker should now listen and offer understanding for how it must feel. Keep going back and forth and see what happens. You may not notice anything for a while, but you might. If you don't, try not to worry or rush process; something usually shifts over time, especially if you keep going deeper. You never know what you might discover - it may be a completely different issue than you originally thought. Only by staying with your deeper feelings and reactions will you discover what is underneath arguments.
By each of you truly understanding others' perspective without judgement, you'll be able to move through this barrier in your relationship. Stick with formula, even if it feels unnatural, and you may find that two of you are laughing about what started whole disagreement.
Kali Munro, M.Ed., is an online therapist with a private practice in Toronto. She provides free online resources including self-help articles, e-books, self-quizzes, and inspirational quotes and poetry at her website, http://www.KaliMunro.com She facilitates an online discussion board too.
Her specialties include relationships, sexual abuse, lesbians, and gay men, dissociation and PTSD. You can email her at mailto:email@KaliMunro.com