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Afraid to Share your Feelings in Relationship?

Distraught couple
Distraught couple

A comment we receive a lot in our relationship coaching sessions is this: I don’t want to say anything to him about how I feel because I don’t want him to feel bad or wrong!

For us women, it is easy to put another’s needs ahead of our own. We are biologically wired to put relationship concerns ahead of our own personal needs. It is how we ensure the kids are taken care of and our husbands are nurtured so they will go “hunt” food for us again, day after day.

There is a real fear in the background of our animal brain that if we say or do the wrong thing, he might not love us or hunt for us anymore.

But there is a cost to not saying what we feel and need.

Imagine that you and your man are looking into each other’s eyes, melting into this beautiful place of oneness, and there is nothing blocking this incredible love flow between you.

Now imagine that there is something you feel that you don’t say, and let’s symbolize this something you are not saying as a brick that is now placed between you. Then, at some point, there is another thing you don’t say, and so another brick is laid. Pretty soon there is another, and another. Everything you DON”T SAY is likened to a brick that is placed between you, obscuring your vision and flow of love.

Before long, there is so much that isn’t said between you, that you can barely see each other at all. Instead of having a relationship with your man, you are now in relationship with all of the things you are not saying. Needless to say, the love you feel gets more and more obscured as well.

So this is the relationship advice we give: Say it! Don’t hold back!

One of the best relationship tips we can give is to be transparent, withhold nothing, say it all. When we share ourselves completely, that is when our light shines brightest. It is when we are real, vulnerable and open that we are the most attractive. Not only that, but our openness calls our man to meet us with the deepest of respect and presence. It often calls our man to hold and protect us as well.

Now, there are ways to share and ways to not share. Here are some tips:
1. Set him up to listen. Ask him if he will listen without interruption or fixing.
2. Give him a time limit. Men will be more present with your sharing if they know it will end in 15 to 30 minutes. Men are not as comfortable with and don’t enjoy long-winded sharing sessions that go on for hours like women do.
3. Let him know you want to share something with him. Reassure him that it is not because he did anything wrong. This will help him to relax and he will hear you better.
4. Use I statements. “I feel scared when you go away.” Owning your own feelings will inspire listening and interest instead of defense.
5. Tell the microscopic, unarguable truth. When you say things like, I feel a knot in my stomach, your man can’t invalidate or argue with your experience.
6. Ask for what you want. Saying, “Would you be willing to ______?” hooks the will and inspires a response.
7. Say what you DO want. “I really like it when ________”
8. Thank him for listening when you are complete. Men want us to be happy. They want to win. The more you acknowledge him for listening, the more he will want to listen to you again later.
9. Get help from a professional if your sharing leads to distance and defense, or if it is too scary to get started. There are many ways in which a coach or therapist can help to create a safe space for sharing difficult things.

The most important thing is to keep practicing sharing your innermost feelings and thoughts EVERY TIME! The love that flows from regularly and steadily removing bricks is reward enough, and will soon raise the bar on the value of sharing everything in your relationship.

And remember: perfect practice makes perfect. It will get easier over time!

Bio: Sonika Tinker, MSW, and Christian Pedersen, loving husband-wife team, are Relationship Experts, coaches, mediators, trainers and authors with over 40 years combined experience coaching and leading courses helping hundreds of singles and couples to dramatically improve relationships. Owners of LoveWorks, a cutting-edge relationship training company, both are passionately committed to shifting the current relationship paradigm from blame, resignation and scarcity to one of joyful, expansive, delightful co-creation. They offer a unique leading-edge relationship solution that is uplifting, light-hearted and powerfully effective.

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