What To Do When Sensory Preferences Get In The Way Of Your Relationships

One challenge in romantic relationships is communicating in a way that both of you will understand. Your sensory preferences, the way you experience the world, may not match that of the other person. You may both be saying "I love you" to the other in your own ways, but the message isn't being received. Here are some ways your communication may not be effective in your relationship.

Identifying Your Sensory Preferences

A session in couples counseling will sort out the differences in the way each of you perceive the world. Of the five physical senses, three are primarily used by people to communicate. Seeing, hearing and feeling are the ways that most people take in information from the world and communicate back out to others.

For example, you may love to see movies and have collected a number of DVDs. Perhaps you like to look at art or watch performers on the stage. These are signs of your visual preference. Your language even indicates this. When describing a concert you attended to a friend, you might say "I saw the best concert last night. The light show was amazing!" This language reflects your visual preferences.

Your partner may have a room full of music CDs and often listens to music or podcasts as they work, exercise or while doing household tasks. Their sensory preference is auditory. They would describe the concert by saying "I heard the best concert last night. The lead singer rocked the house!" Their auditory preference comes out in their language.

The third most recognized preference is feeling. This isn't just about tactile sense. It is an internal sense that a person has. For example, they may attend a concert and feel emotional when a song is played. They may describe their experience by saying "I went to a concert last night that really touched me inside!"

How Your Preference Affects Communication in Relationships

Your visual preference leads you to send your partner romantic cards. Getting something visual is a sign to you that you are loved. Your auditory partner frequently says "I love you" but if you don't get a card, you may wonder what is wrong.

Consequently, your partner has a table full of cards from you but wonders why you don't tell them that you love them. Their auditory preference needs to hear the words to feel loved. This is how both of you can be doing your best to express love to the other, but the message isn't being received.

Solving the Problem

To get around the miscommunication, learn what each other's preferences are and make it a practice of communicating to each other in the way it will be most understood. You can continue to send cards, but remember to say the words often to your partner. They can continue expressing their love to you through language, but should provide visual messages periodically.

This is a simple explanation for a complicated set of human behaviors. People usually have a primary and one or more secondary preferences. Your couples counselor will help both of you determine what your preferences are and how to work with them to improve your communication with each other. Contact a company like Drake Counseling Services to get started.