Can you hear me now? It’s a question often asked in romantic relationships. Strong partnerships depend on open and honest communication. If you’re not truly listening, you can damage the sense of trust you share. Here are mistakes you want to avoid whether the discussion is a significant one or even just part of your day-to-day life.

  1. Rehearsing

When the conversation is a big one, not just chitchat, you’re revved up and rarin’ to go. You’ve got some issues, and you want your partner to understand your point of view. Rehearsing that precious speech is an indication that you are planning to engage in a monologue rather than a conversation. You are setting up a roadblock to hearing your partner’s message before the two of you even start talking. Make sure the conversation is a two-way street.

  1. Filtering

Don’t filter out the message your partner is trying to deliver by ignoring points you don’t want to hear. That’s a sure way to wound or anger the other party. Give him the courtesy of being heard. What he is trying to communicate is important to him. Openness to hearing will strengthen your relationship.

  1. Judging

Passing judgment is another way to build a wall. You want to be able to see the other person’s point of view? You will have to remain open. Don’t make decisions before you’ve heard your partner’s side.

  1. Counseling

Did your partner ask for a therapy session? Is he seeking advice on how to deal with his mother? If that’s not the point of your current discussion, hold off on rushing in with counsel. Offering understanding is going to strengthen your partnership more than demonstrating your expertise. Jumping in with advice cuts off your chance to hear more information.

  1. Debating

Is he wrong, wrong, wrong? If you feel the need to counter every word that comes out of his mouth, you’re prone to disputing and arguing. You’re not out to show him the error of his ways here. Stop fighting, and you might learn something about him and about your partnership.

Amy Morin offers insight into other listening mistakes that can damage your relationship. Deeper insight is available from Matthew McKay, who has written Messages: The Communications Skills Book, which can guide you to more meaningful conversations.