How to effectively communicate your feelings without offending your partner

They say, “Marriages are made in heaven”. Some even go to the extent of saying that (life) partners are chosen by destiny and not by sheer luck or co incidence.

If this premise were true, why would there be a big number of unsuccessful marriages and relationships? Some of them are known to end so bitterly that it wrecks havoc in both their lives. It is mostly seen that such people become averse to a new relationship or take a longer time to build trust and courage to enter into a relationship again.

Psychologists and relationship counselors who see the kind of cases everyday opine that the key to a healthy relationship is to be open with one another. It is universally felt that transparency in a relationship can do more good than what it is believed to be. According to the experts, transparency primarily involves sharing of feelings on a regular basis. What this ensures is that that there is communication flow between the partners and any gap between ‘the thought’ and ‘said’, if any, can be bridged in the initial stages itself.

While it is important to share feelings among partners, it is more important to share them without offending the other partner. But talking about feelings isn’t easy. One must remember that as humans our feelings and emotions are influenced by our mood and environment. There are a host of external factors affecting a person and his feelings and it becomes very difficult to pin point one thing. To classify a feeling as good or bad is a mistake. It undermines the authenticity of what a person is feeling. Sharing these feelings may lead to consequences that aren’t exactly picture perfect, but, that doesn’t affect the nature of one’s feelings in any way.

This is because the feeling of a person is not in his control. But the action subsequent to the feeling can be under his control. While this might be confusing to take in, we’ll make this easier by giving you a step-by-step guide on how to communicate your feelings effectively and without creating a war zone in your home.

Step 1:
If there is something that is heavily on your mind, then relax and wait for a good time to discuss. You can hint at your partner that there is something that you would like to discuss with him/her. Chances are that the sound of “let’s talk” makes him/her run and cover but by giving your partner some time you are also letting him/her slide comfortably in a zone where he will want to know what you have to say.

Step 2: The next step is to take time to consolidate your thoughts. It is important that you are clear about what you want to communicate to your partner. Is it an issue with his/her behavior that is bothering you or is it something that both of you lack and need to work in tandem to improve? Whatever it is, think it over and try and give it a name. Are you ‘upset’ because of your partner’s actions or are you ‘sad’ because of indifference. By giving your emotions a name, you are making it clear to yourself what you are feeling. While discussing it with your partner, this will help you immensely to stay on the mark and not deviate off mark into other thoughts. If you feel that writing down your thoughts will help you, then surely that should. The idea is to give yourself a clear cut idea as to what exactly is troubling you so that you can effectively convey to your other half.

Generally, Practitioners find that couples having discord between them do not know where to start or what to say when confronted for a discussion. No clarity in thoughts can help miss an opportunity to set things right between them.

Step 3: It is important how you approach the situation. When you want to convey your feelings to your better half, always have a positive approach. Do not have a superiority tone or a subjugated tone, keep the communication at par. Try to consciously choose words so that you do not put him/her off in the middle. Also convey how important it is for you to share your thoughts because you really want to be together always and there is something troubling you and you want to get it cleared right away.

Your tone should be well measured and in control. No swearing allowed. No shouting either. Just a matured approach is required. It must be kept in mind that the result of this exercise should be only positive and neither person should come out feeling offended.

Step 4:
Use words where you do not allege or accuse your partner for the lapses and indifference. Try saying, “I have been feeling…” or “I have been noticing of late that… ”. By using this approach, you are avoiding the blame game. It may never be the intention of your partner to hurt you in the first place. Chances are even that he is totally unaware that you are hurt. Therefore, you should never compromise on language and diplomacy.

Step 5:
The Principles of Natural Justice require that the other party be given a fair chance to defend themselves. This is also applicable here. Listen to your partner’s view point. Accept the fact that you may not always be correct in your assessment and try to look at it from the other person’s point of view. Ask for clarifications if need be.

Step 6: If your partner agrees to have caused the hurt feelings and apologized, instantly forgive him and offer to start afresh. Make sure that you make it very clear that anything similar in the future will hurt you more. Also end with a happy note that the misunderstanding between the two is over and that you will let the past be and move on. A great gesture is to hug your partner tight. Laugh a lot with your partner and engage in any activity that both enjoy doing together. For instance cooking up a great meal or dining out.

Good communication is the corner stone of a healthy relationship. Locking up feelings inside can be harmful to mental health and it can manifest in the form of diseases too. Why cocoon and cry when you can open up and smile?