Being A Good Listener: Why It Matters In Your Relationship

Updated March 8, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

There's a lot that goes into having a healthy relationship. One of those things is being a good listener. 

Communication is a very important part of a healthy relationship, and it's also an area that can lead to arguments and separation. While most people think about the words that they say when they think of communication, the other side of it, which is just as important, is listening. In the article below, we will discuss the importance of communication in relationships.

Why being a good listener matters

Want to improve your listening skills? Online therapy can help

Chances are that when your relationship was new, you had no problem listening to your significant other. You couldn't wait to learn everything that you could about them, and it seemed like you could listen to them talk all night long. However, as your relationship continues to progress and the newness wears off, there's a level of comfort in the relationship that can stop you from doing some of the things that you did before, like listening.

Life gets busy, and it's easy to spend time with your partner without really connecting with them or listening to them. However, good listening is vital if the relationship is to keep working. Here are some benefits to listening closely to your partner.

Listening builds intimacy

Being a good listener to your partner will help build intimacy in your relationship. When you take the time to listen to them, you get to know them and what is important to them. The more you listen, the more you will learn about them which, in turn, deepens the connection that the two of you have together.

If you practice good listening with your partner, you will be the one they continue to come to when they want to talk. However, if you continually show them that you're not listening to what they're saying, before long, they will be turning to someone else to fill that role. If you want to maintain intimacy within your relationship, you must let your partner know that you care about what they have to say.

Less chance of miscommunication

Miscommunication in a relationship can lead to arguments that don't need to happen. It's frustrating to be the person that said something that their partner didn't listen to. If one person isn't listening, it can lead to both minor and major miscommunications. Relationships have enough challenges that arise on their own; you don't want to add more arguments simply because you weren't listening.

It shows that you care

When your partner figures out that you aren't listening to what they're saying, it's going to hurt their feelings. They will begin to feel like you don't care about what they're talking about. You may be able to make excuses about why you don't remember what they said for a little while, but eventually, it's going to catch up with you.

This can lead to bigger problems within your relationship, as they will think that you don't care about them the same way that they care about you.

But when you do show that you're listening to your partner, it's going to go a long way in making them feel like you care about them. It shows that you want to hear what they have to say and that they have your undivided attention. This is a great way to make them feel important and heard.

How to become a better listener

If your listening skills leave a lot to be desired, don't worry. Listening is a skill that you're able to build and improve upon to build a healthy relationship. The following tips can help you learn how to become a better listener.

Listen for the meaning and not just the words

When you're listening to your partner, you must listen for the meaning behind the words that they're saying. It's one thing to be able to recall the words that they just said, it's a completely different thing to understand the message that they're communicating to you.

This is sometimes referred to as deep listening. It's making sure that you understand what they're trying to communicate to you and the importance of the message. It takes listening one step further and can be a very effective way of growing your relationship.

Pay attention to body language

Communication is more than just the words that someone is saying. The statistics vary on how much of communication is verbal and how much is nonverbal, but it is important to recognize, even if you don't know that exact number, that nonverbal communication is important.

If you are sitting next to your partner as you have a conversation, or even if you're video chatting, make sure to pay attention to the nonverbal communication that they are sharing as well as listening to the words that they're saying. This can help you to get a better feel for what they're trying to communicate and how they may be feeling.

Nonverbal communication could include things like their hand gestures, the way they're sitting or standing, and facial expressions.

Remove distractions

Another way to become a better listener is to make sure that you remove any distractions while you are supposed to be listening. If your partner is talking, it's not the time to be looking at your phone, watching TV, or paying attention to what's happening across the room.

And, often, even if you hear the words that they're saying, you're not committing it to memory if you're distracted. If it's something that you need to be able to remember at a later date, you're probably not going to. 

So instead, when you are listening to your partner, make eye contact with them. Look for ways to show that you are listening. You can even lean in on the conversation to show that you are engaged in it.

Ask follow-up questions

To show that you're engaged in the conversation with your partner, ask follow-up questions in response to what they're saying. If you get in the habit of doing this, it will help you to pay better attention to the conversation because you are looking for more information from them. This shows that you care about what they're saying enough to continue the conversation.

Be honest if you weren't listening

If you realize in the middle of a conversation that you haven't been listening to your partner, do not try to act like you were. Instead of pretending that you were listening, politely interrupt them, apologize, and let them know that you missed what they said and ask them to repeat themselves.

They may be frustrated when they realize that you weren't listening to what they had to say, but it's better to do this and address it upfront than to pretend like you were listening and have to admit later that you have no idea what they were talking about.

Stop Thinking About What You'll Say Next

If you're focused on what you're going to say once it's your time to talk, you're not going to listen to what your partner is talking about.

This can be difficult because if you are paying attention to the conversation, you may have questions that come to mind as you're listening to them. 

Make sure you understand what they were saying

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Want to improve your listening skills? Online therapy can help

Along with asking follow-up questions like mentioned above, it's also important to make sure that you understand what they were saying. You can do this by rephrasing what they said back to them and asking if you understand correctly.

This isn't something that you need to do after every single thing that they say because it's not always necessary. But if you have an important conversation with them or they're trying to communicate something that matters to them, then you must make sure you understand what they're saying. This can also help to stop any miscommunication and clear up any confusion.


Many people feel that relationship counseling is for couples that are on the brink of separating. Unfortunately, that's the point that many couples wait for before setting an appointment with a therapist. By this point, one or both of the people might be already checked out of the relationship, making it difficult for counseling to work.

Therapy isn't only for couples that want to separate. In fact, couples counseling is most effective when couples get help sooner rather than later. If you and your partner are struggling in your relationship, then reach out for help.

Licensed therapists can help you with both the small and big issues and challenges that arise within a relationship. And they can help you and your partner learn skills to help you strengthen your relationship. 

Communication can be difficult. Many people have turned to online therapy to work on their communication skills with their partner. Online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy—and many have found it to be more effective. If you have struggled with finding a good local therapist, online therapy opens the door to many other therapists to choose from.

Regain is an online therapy platform offering matches to licensed therapists who can help with a wide range of issues, including those dealing with communication. You can meet with a therapist on your own or with your partner—or both. No need to travel to an office. Sessions can be held in the comfort of home.

You may be aware that you struggle with your listening skills. This is not uncommon. We are surrounded by constant distractions. With some practice, however, you can learn to be an excellent listener—and you may find your relationship is all the stronger for it.

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