Talking about our relationships and expressing our emotions is risky and makes us vulnerable to hurt, rejection, and loneliness. Revealing the most tender and vulnerable parts of ourselves can be terrifying if we are not sure that our partner feel the same. This is why both men and women skirt around these topics. We can get so desperate for answers that we play mind games trying to get the information we need to fee safe without taking the risk of opening up.
To allay the uncomfortable nature of the conversation, let your partner know that you are nervous. Your partner is more likely to show compassion and sensitivity to your feelings if they know that you are feeling uncomfortable. They are also more likely to open-up themselves and let you know how they feel if you are brave enough to start the conversation and put yourself out there first. Ease into the conversation and judge how much you will open-up based on your partners verbal and nonverbal reactions. If their face softens and you feel they are responsive and attending to your feelings, you may feel comfortable opening-up even more. If they tense up, avoid eye contact, or change the subject, it may not be the right time.
Leana Sykes is a Relationship Counselor and the owner of Leana Sykes Relationship Counseling & Mediation in Oaklyn, NJ.