4 Tips For Talking About Your Feelings In Relationships, Because It’s Not Always Easy
How comfortable are you when talking about your feelings with your partner? Does it come easily, or do you do everything you can to avoid the subject? Having a few tips for talking about your feelings in relationships might be just what you need to open up when it doesn't come easily to you. Keep in mind, Dr. Christie Tcharkhoutian, senior matchmaking specialist at Three Day Rule, warns that by not talking about your feelings, you may be missing out on some really important bonding opportunities with your SO. "Sharing your feelings in a relationship is essential to building mutual trust, safety and respect — if you are able to share your emotions without feeling ashamed or unsafe," Tcharkhoutian tells Elite Daily.
If talking about your feelings is a struggle for you, you're not alone, says Dr. Tcharkhoutian. "Research on vulnerability shows us that often, it is the most difficult to be vulnerable with the ones closest to you, including your partner. The reward of acceptance after vulnerability with your partner is very high, but the risk of the person closest to you hurting you when you open your heart to them is also very high," she explains. "For this reason, it often feels easier to conceal your feelings and not be vulnerable with your partner, but in the end, protecting your feelings and guarding yourself from your partner only breaks intimacy rather than helping connect the couple. Small moments of acceptance and empathy can truly strengthen a relationship to be a safe haven for each partner." Here is how Dr. Tcharkhoutian says to change the dynamic.
1. Get in touch with your emotions on your own first.
The first step to becoming more comfortable with your emotions and expressing them to your partner is to spend some time understanding and getting familiar with your emotions, Dr. Tcharkhoutian says. One great way to do this, she says, is journaling. “Often, the reason identifying and being vulnerable with your partner about how you are feeling is difficult is because we don't take the time to identify our feelings and process them ourselves. You can only have as strong and deep relationship with your partner as you have with yourself,” she explains.
2. Use “I feel” statements.
If you’re working on being open with your feelings, Dr. Tcharkhoutian says using “I feel” statements is a great way to get started. “One of the fears in expressing feelings, especially if they are negative as a result of something happening in the relationship, [may be because we are] afraid that our partner will be upset or get defensive. When we focus on the behavior, rather than the person affecting our feelings, this helps to reduce blame and increase focus on emotion,” she explains.
3. Focus on deeper emotions.
If you’re struggling to talk about your feelings, Dr. Tcharkhoutian suggests taking the time to get to the root of what you are feeling and then having a conversation with your partner. “Often when we are angry, there is a deeper emotion that we are masking with our anger. It may be fear or sadness. Identifying the deeper emotion helps to foster further connection rather than staying in a reactive place, we transition to a reflective place,” she says.
4. Remember that being open is as much for your partner as it is for you.
It's not easy to be vulnerable, which is why doing so is a gift you give not just to yourself, but to your partner, Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and executive dating coach previously told Elite Daily. “It’s important to be open because emotional openness gives your partner something they need: certainty," he said. "We all need to be reminded that we’re enough, that we’re special, that we’re loved. So when a couple is what I call 'emotionally naked,' they give each other the gift of certainty that they’ll be safe and loved. And that leads to a stronger connection.”
Ultimately, the main takeaway here is that you don’t have to know exactly how to talk about your feelings right now; It's all about the process and putting in effort. Over time, it will get better, but even just taking the first step to realizing that this is something you want to work on is a great start.