Sharing feelings with your partner is an essential element of relationships.
Whether it’s about something small or a bigger concern taking the time to communicate your feelings and thoughts builds understanding, trust and a stronger bond between two people.
Fear of leaving themselves vulnerable can hinder people in opening up to their partner. What if my innermost feelings are mocked? What if my partner doesn’t understand me? These ‘What Ifs’ are what can stop couples from discussing some of the most important issues affecting their life together.
What can be done to make communicating feelings easier? Starting with how you feel rather than pointing out shortcomings or making accusations about your partner can help the other person to appreciate that you are feeling a certain way, without casting aspersions about them. ‘I feel’, ‘I believe’ and ‘I’ve experienced’ are ways of letting your partner know what is going on for you.
Behaviour and Feelings
Being honest and open is key to good communication. Being specific about what you want to address with your partner rather than being vague will help.
Stating what your experience has been rather than blaming your partner will also be helpful. Use expressions such as ‘When you stay out very late and I don’t hear from you, I worry about whether you are safe or not’. This is a less critical way of addressing your concerns and it can help your partner to understand the situation from your perspective without feeling blamed or accused.
Addressing difficulties in this way will enhance your partner’s ability to listen to and understand where you are coming from and is much less likely to impact in a negative way on your relationship than blaming, accusing and criticising.
As important as it is to open up and share your feelings, listening to and respecting your partner’s response is as crucial. Only when the dynamic between you is constructive, each person is open to listening to and trying to understand the other person’s perspective, can you work out a solution
Most importantly, both of you should be open to finding a way through or around the problem and agree upon steps to achieve it.
Remember, it may not always be an easy road, but it is important to keep communicating, keeping listening, keep trying to resolve difficulties together. This way, you’ll shape a path for better communication in your relationship.