No matter how wonderful and healthy a relationship is, there will always be challenges.
We are all different and we have lived experiences in our lives that have marked us.
This has molded us to a particular way of seeing situations that differs for each person.
So, it is normal for you to have disagreements with your partner.
You might have expected him to act in a way and he didn’t, maybe you feel like he’s been neglecting you for a while or he might be doing things that really irritate you.
But what happens when something makes you feel very bad and you don’t know how to communicate it to your partner or you don’t dare to confront it?
Surely you love him, and you don’t want to hurt him.
You also do not want to start an argument and that discord could harm your relationship.
Or you might be so angry that you feel like you can’t manage your anger and productively communicate what you’re feeling.
The last thing you want is to be the one creating the conflict.
Also, that your partner has made you feel bad does not mean that the relationship is doomed to fail. It is simply a sign that it is time to sit down and talk with him.
Here we will go into detail, so that at the end, you are clear about the best strategy to talk to your partner.
Applying these tips is likely to improve communication and relationship.
16 ways to communicate effectively with your partner when something is bothering you
1) Don’t make the mistake of answering “I’m fine” if you’re not.
Sometimes it is so difficult for us to have those “difficult” conversations that we directly avoid them.
And that doesn’t really help anyone.
If you feel bad, your attitude towards your partner will inevitably change.
But he may not notice. The truth is, you can’t expect him to guess what you’re feeling if you don’t talk to him.
And even worse, if he asks you what’s wrong and you answer “nothing” don’t expect him to insist and then get offended because he doesn’t do anything.
He is likely to believe what you say and stop insisting.
So if something bothers you, you should report it.
And if you still don’t know how to express what you feel, simply ask for some time to elaborate your ideas and speak clearly.
You could say, “I feel confused about certain things, let me clarify and we’ll talk later” or “I feel sad, I’m still not sure why. I need to think about it, can you give me some time?”
The important thing is that you do not deny that something is happening. That will only aggravate the situation.
2) Take some time and be ready to talk with him
Perhaps you are not entirely sure how to bring up with your partner that which bothers you so much or has hurt you.
And you may find yourself in a moment of great anger, rage, or frustration.
If this is the case, it is important that you take some time before you propose to talk to him.
There are more appropriate times than others to talk.
In the heat of anger, you are more likely to approach him more aggressively or attack him. This will cause him to get defensive and even attack you as well instead of seeing what the real problem is and finding a solution.
Wait until you are in a more serene state.
Although the situation has not changed, if you are in a more constructive place, the result will probably be much better.
Something that can also be helpful is to invite him into the conversation and not force it.
You could say something like, “I can tell I’m upset about something that happened earlier. Are you open to us talking about it now?”
This way of starting the dialogue is very effective, because you consider his personal space as well and give him the place to choose the best moment as well. It will help both of you enter the dialogue with the right mindset.
3) Talk about what you feel, not what he does
If you’re angry, frustrated, hurt, neglected, or any other emotion that’s coming to mind, it’s important to start by talking about it.
What I mean is that the place to start is with yourself.
It is important that you do not blame, or hold the other responsible for what happens to you. That will put him in a defensive position.
Just talk to him about how you feel when he does something or says something that you don’t like or that you hoped would be different.
Tell him what you feel, why you feel it, and what you would like him to say, do, or not say or do instead.
If you think it is logical, you are showing him the full picture of what you expect, without making him directly responsible for the problem.
Also, when you talk about your feelings and emotions, nobody can say that they are not real, that you are wrong or that you are not feeling that.
What you feel is simply the truth, and it is the best place to start to tell your partner that you feel bad.
One strategy to apply this is to always use first-person statements:
- I feel that …
- What I need to feel supported is…
- The thoughts that come to my mind when this happens are…
This is the point where many people go wrong and start arguing because they don’t know how to communicate with their partner and are not able to speak clearly.
4) Stay calm and collected
The result will be very different if you are angry or if you are calm and collected.
If you’re angry, you probably don’t have the ability to speak clearly and you could make mistakes that could harm your relationship.
If you are calm and try to think things through, it is very likely that you will be able to speak clearly and that you will be able to state everything you need.
It is better to try it if you are calm and collected because it will give you an important advantage.
Be specific when you talk about what has bothered or hurt you.
Try to mention the exact words he used and how they made you feel. But express yourself calmly instead of angry.
5) Don’t point fingers
Even though your partner has hurt you, sometimes it can be helpful not to start apportioning blame or pointing fingers.
It is better to talk about what has hurt you, but do not do it in a tone of guilt or complaint.
Your partner will be more willing to have an open conversation about what happened if they don’t feel attacked.
When you start mentioning what the other is doing “wrong,” you make them defensive and the conversation can again veer in the wrong direction.
This is not about who is right, simply an opportunity to get to know each other better and bond in a more appropriate and satisfactory way for both.
Keep in mind that your partner may not know exactly what is bothering you.
So even if you feel like it’s his fault, try to talk about what you feel instead of blaming him.
6) Do not cover all the problems in a conversation
Sometimes you may feel like you have too many things to talk about with your partner.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
But, to be more effective in resolving and advancing in the couple, it is important that you do not treat them all at the same time.
Think of all those issues that you want to work on with him and start with the most important.
If you talk about everything at once, the conversation will become tiring and you will lose focus.
7) Do not assume a role of victim
If the conversation is handled as if you are being a victim, you may not be able to seize the moment to speak clearly and courageously.
In mature relationships, it’s important for each party to take their share of responsibility.
And just as there are things that bother you, it is possible that your partner also has their observations about you.
So, the point here is to find a productive way to state your needs and listen to the other, without thinking that you are the only one affected.
8) Listen actively and attentively
Your partner’s mood will help you understand what is going on and what their point of view is.
You could be so absorbed in your emotions and anger, that you forget that he also has feelings and thoughts that you probably do not have so clear either.
So, take this opportunity, not only to raise what you feel, but to ask him about his way of seeing things and the relationship.
It is very important that you let him explain himself. Putting yourself in his shoes will make you let go of your anger and bring you closer to him.
You may even discover that he has hurts or insecurities that you didn’t know about. Or that he is going through a difficult time and really needs your support.
Actively listen and don’t just focus on your own stuff.
It’s your way of helping make things a little easier for both of you.
9) Ask instead of affirming
Perhaps you have felt that your partner is not doing enough for you.
That he is distant or that he does not pay you the same attention as before.
Maybe you are right.
But the best way to reach a good conclusion is by asking, not stating.
As you begin to tell him about your feelings and doubts, forget about the tone of guilt or anger.
You are the one who is going through this moment, but he probably needs you to listen to him so that he can start to solve the problem.
Plus, it’s very likely that he didn’t even realize he was hurting you. Then he opens the possibilities instead of closing them.
Let him explain to you why he acted as he did or said what he said.
You may even find out that it’s really insecurity on your part and not something he’s doing wrong.
10) Repeat what you have heard and confirm if you have understood correctly
A great tool for effective communication is to repeat what he has just said.
You know, we all have our own glasses with which we filter reality.
He could tell you something and you understand it in a different way.
Therefore, repeating what you have heard and understood is key so that the message is clear and the same for both.
You could say, “So if I understand correctly, you don’t usually let me know you’re going to be late because…”
He will validate the message or perhaps add information that can be used to resolve the differences.
11) Be clear about what you need and offer alternatives
It is important that you clearly state your desires and the things that are hurting you.
Do not transform the conversation into a list of demands, but make your requests in a cordial way.
Maybe he could change and help you, maybe he needs to do something to fix the problem.
But it is also likely that their way of seeing things is different and they need your support to understand what is happening.
Offer possible solutions and ask how he feels about them.
12) Don’t try to be more “nice”
When it comes to relationships, the ideal is to tell it like it is.
If you decorate what you want to say, beat around the bush or soften what bothers you, it will be very difficult for things to really change.
So if you want me to listen to you, do it clearly and without nonsense.
Don’t try to be more “nice” in order to make him feel better or to keep him from getting angry.
At the end of the day he is a man and he can take charge of what he has to do.
It is not your responsibility to keep him in cotton wool, so that he is not offended.
As long as you are respectful and review the tools that we present here, you will achieve good effective communication.
13) Do not generalize
When talking to your partner, it’s best not to make statements like, “all men,” “you always do this,” or “you never do that.”
Making affirmations of this type generates the feeling that nothing can change. If everything is already one way, what is the alternative?
Besides that these are not true statements.
Nothing is always one way or the other.
You are probably basing yourself on recent events.
Use examples when telling him what has bothered you, so that he can see the specific things that are hurting you.
The important thing here is to be specific with what bothers you and what you need from it.
14) Appreciate the good things about your partner
It is very important that in addition to stating your needs and the things that are bothering you, you can also see everything that your boyfriend does and that is good.
First, if you stop to think about the good things he does, you will be able to diffuse the focus of your anger and see that there is also a lot of good in your relationship.
Gratitude and appreciation make us pay attention to what we want to expand.
You have to be able to recognize what you value about him.
Hearing that you are also doing many things well will motivate you to continue in that direction. We all love to be appreciated and valued. So, give him what you want for yourself too.
15) Do not wait for the last drop to overflow the glass
I mean, don’t let things get to the extreme.
Do not accumulate in your mind a list of things that bother you.
Tell him, for example: “the faucet has been leaking for a week and I’m waiting to see if you fix it but you haven’t done anything”.
Don’t you think it’s better to say what you expect, rather than confirm day after day that he doesn’t do what you’re expecting?
When something bothers you, you can wait a while to tell him, if you are still not clear about the best way to do it. But don’t let problems accumulate in your chest.
If you do that one day you will explode and there will be no way for you to calmly express your concerns to him.
Something you can do to avoid this is to have a fluid and periodic dialogue.
It is preferable to manage the rhythm of things in order to have a much more satisfying and healthy relationship.
You could propose to go on a date every week, go out to eat and talk about how you feel about your relationship and the day-to-day.
16) Avoid judging what he thinks or feels
It is important that you do not judge what he is experiencing as well.
Telling him, for example: “you are exaggerated”, “this cannot be” are ways of invalidating him.
You may not see things the same way, but their vision is just as valid as yours.
Understand and accept him in the same way that you want him to accept you.
Feelings are hurt in couples, it’s normal. But that doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t working.
By opening the dialogue, you can learn how to tell your partner that they have hurt you in a calm and productive way.
After all, you deserve to feel good in your relationship and your partner should know what’s bothering you.
Also, it’s always okay to reconsider a relationship you’re not completely happy with. Or when you don’t feel comfortable.
The most important thing at the end of the day is that you find and be the creator of the incredible relationship that you deserve.