Effectively express your emotions so that your partner listens

Emotional expression is very important in relationships, but is often avoided because many women fear expressing their emotions-especially when they are upset. The reason: They want to avoid a fight.

But here's the thing. It almost always causes a fight. Perhaps not right away, but it will down the line. The reason: Bottled-Up feelings. The result: A Blow-Up. When negative thoughts brew for days, maybe even weeks, and come out in an explosion that feels like an attack to the other person, the result is almost always negative.

Imagine it like this. A woman is upset. But she fears expressing how she feels because she wants to avoid an argument with her partner. This fear causes her to bottle up her feelings. But here's the thing, the fear is caused by the thought of her partner rejecting her feelings. She created this assumption in her own head. Before she even expresses herself to her partner, she already assumes that the conversation will go badly, so she prepares for it to go badly. She convinces herself that in order to avoid a fight she should avoid expressing her emotions. But that is not avoiding the problem. That is actually creating a bigger problem. When you assume that expressing your feelings will cause a conflict--it will almost always cause a problem. What if, instead, you changed your approach to a conversation-meaning, you imagine a positive outcome before you even begin engaging with your partner? This calm mindset will become the foundation for you to begin expressing yourself; but how you build off of this is very important in ensuring a positive response. You need to maintain positive energy throughout the conversation so that your partner listens to understand.

It is important to avoid using messages that put blame on your partner. Naturally, this is a difficult transition because most people are inclined to blame the other person when they feel upset. But this is not how to effectively make a situation better-because using 'you' messages puts your partner on the defensive. I'm sure many of us are guilty of saying this line: "You hurt my feelings because of what you did." Guess what? Messages like that will almost always break down the communication and cause an argument.

For example:

Imagine you are upset because you feel you and your partner don't spend enough time together.

You: "I feel upset because you never spend time with me."

Your partner: "What? We are right now. We are always together."

This is a blame-defensive (expressing emotion-justify feelings) approach.

Instead try this: Use "I" and not "You". But there is more to it.

For example:

Say how you feel. But put a period at the end of your emotion. Without the justification.

You: "I feel sad."

Your partner: "Why are you sad?"

So far, this approach invites a conversation.

Next, be direct and state what you want.

For example:

You: "I miss you. I want to spend more time together."

Your partner: "I would like that too."

This is a non-"aggressive" way to express your emotions to your partner so that your wants will be heard. But remember: this approach will take practice.

Dana Dewedoff