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How to Express Feelings in a Relationship?

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Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.

Communication is one strong tool in energising relationship; no doubt expressing emotion is part of communication. How you express your feelings to your partner can either create a relieving atmosphere or tense up the whole place.

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Although, expressing emotions is not usually practised in most relationship. Most times its usually a partner that finds it weird expressing emotions and trying to solve this most times brings tension, anxiety for one or both partner, finally escalating the problem.

Research has it that expressing feelings in words rather than in action changes the brain chemistry. There’s something about expressing how you feel; just naming a feeling, without doing anything else, can lessen the intensity of the heat and help you manage it better. On the other hand, when you ask your partner how he or she feels, you often have an agenda. That agenda they sense often put pressure on them, and it makes it hard for your partner to name the feelings honestly, keeping you upset and angry.

However, expressing emotions in relationships keeps intimacy strong since we are wired to have feelings, but if we show this feeling in off-putting ways, the wiring an invite a disconnection in our relationship. Therefore, knowing how to express your feelings is vital in any relationship.

How you express your feelings makes a difference in how receptively your feelings would be heard. Here are a few tips on how to express your feeling in a relationship the right way without getting your partner on the defensive:

1. Identify the emotion and feeling

Sometimes you are not sure what we feel or what the cause may be. It’s necessary when you notice a change in your disposition, that you ask yourself: what am I feeling? Why is it happening now? What’s the cause?

2. Recognise the emotion

Once you have identified the emotion, analyse the sensation you get. Make a list of all the feelings and what it is that physically gives it away.

3. Pay more attention to how you respond to a given situation

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Try as much as possible not to let the emotion you feel control your response. You can’t change the way you feel, but you can improve your reaction or response.

4. Try to be honest about what you feel

If you feel indifferent about the relationship, there’s no need trying to make it work. If you are annoyed about something, don’t avoid a conversation that will make you understand better. Be honest about how you feel.

5. Choose the best situation to express your emotion

In determining the best situation to express your emotion, examine the situation, the people around, and yourself.

6. Use your body to help express what you feel

Body language is a communication tool. For instance, in explaining when you are stressed, you can put your hand on your head, your heart and your stomach, this shows you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling, and it would be good for you not to continue in that state.

Apart from all this tip, there’s one thing I want to point out in expressing feelings; constructive sentence starter for expressing your feelings. Sharing feelings often begins with two simple words, ‘ I feel ‘. I feel maybe sad, happy, angry, joyful and the likes. Too often, instead of saying “I feel…”, people start out with the mistaken phrase, “you make me feel…”

“You make me feel…” Is usually a bad start for any conversation. This sentence starter comes across as an accusation, a statement of blame, not a statement of your feelings. Statements starters like this tend to bore defensiveness and antagonism from your partner. “You make me feel…” Makes you a helpless victim, while your partners feels guilt and shame.

It sounds like an attack, and attack begets counter-attacks. The phrase “I feel” on the other hand describes you, not your partner, giving you the power to find out what to do to feel better.

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Mostly, following the guidelines above on how to express feelings and especially to avoid “You make me feel…”, is likely to lead to emphatic responses. Equally, sharing your feelings is likely to enhance the feeling of closeness between you and your partner.

How do you express your feelings to your partner? Are you methods effective? Share with us in the comments.

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