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March 7, 2016

How To Share Your Feelings With Him

# 1. Think subject, timing, mood, and atmosphere

Dr. Randi Gunther

They are all crucial variables that interweave to create your desired outcome.

Rarely is anyone concerned about communicating intimate feelings unless they have that goal in mind from the beginning. You may think you are “just sharing spontaneously in the moment,” but, if you look a little deeper inside, you would find your desired perfect response. If you really want your partner to hear you and respond accordingly, you will be more effective if you know what you actually want before you start.

Let’s begin with the subject you want to share. There are some hard and fast rules about what is really okay to talk about that are unique to each relationship. In open, authentic partnerships, there isn’t much that has to be hidden and mutual invitations and encouraging responses are there from the beginning of the relationship. Most couples, though, haven’t established the foundation for that kind of no-holds-barred welcoming of anything either wants to talk about. And, both partners do know, even if they pretend they don’t, what subjects are delicious, easy, problematic, edgy, or potentially dangerous. The easy ones are pretty much always welcome. The more the possibility that the subject might offend or distress the other partner, the more it should be presented as a request, not an entitlement.

Timing is inextricably woven with the level of discomfort expected. If you want to talk, for instance, about wanting more affection, time, energy, availability, etc., and your partner hasn’t prioritized the relationship to your satisfaction, you are probably not going to want to bring up that subject when he is on his way to do something he’d rather do than be with you. If you are thinking of sharing something that he is probably going to like, you have more leeway as to when you present it. My immigrant grand-mother would warn me in her broken English, “Never pick an argument when your man is hungry, horny, or doing something he’s looked forward to.” She was hilarious but that probably still good advice (for either gender, by the way).

Watch out for moods, especially your own. If you’re edgy, urgent, irritated, hurting, angry, anxious, or needy, you are going to put a lot more energy behind your feelings. That mood automatically makes difficult subjects almost impossible for your partner to hear because he will be too busy responding to your negativity, and won’t hear the message. If you’ve got symbolic savings in a psychological bank and your partner is feeling gracious, generous, and warm toward you, he might be able to get through the negative tide to hear what you are feeling underneath. If you are in a bad place, it’s better to ask for help to get you feeling better first, before you talk about why you are in that place to begin with.

Ah, yes, atmosphere. Introducing a torrent of distressed feelings in bed tends to contaminate that environment for more delightful things at other times. Having an argument in a nice restaurant that ends up with both people losing their appetite is a poor economic choice. Making sure that you have privacy, time, quiet, and comfort can make any sharing of intimate feelings more likely to be successful. If the subject talked about is going to be problematic, difficult to resolve, or uncomfortable for either partner, it is best to carefully set the scene so that both can be the most receptive.

Couples who form new foundations from resolved past issues are always looking for better ways to handle what comes next. They can each make lists of intimate subjects and put numbers from one to ten beside them to designate which are easy and which are hard to talk about. They can tell each other when the best time is for them to talk. They can share when they are not likely to be effective because they have other emotional agendas that should be talked out first. And they can tell each other where it is best to talk. Good communication skills are, of course, better for the best outcome but, if the partners in intimate relationships follow the suggestions above, there are many ways each can share effectively without having mastered the “Ten perfect rules as to how to talk to your lover.” Respect for the other’s feelings, desires, and vulnerabilities go a long ways towards the receptivity every emotional partner needs to feel hear.

Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com

# 2. Follow the 3 tips below

Amanda Patterson

Women are often cited as the more emotional and expressive ones in a relationship. You are in a turning point in your relationship and you want to share with your significant other how you feel. But a fear is holding you back from just opening up. Here are three steps for you to take to prepare you to have a conversation about how you feel.

1. Write them down and get a good sense of your feelings

a. Journaling your feelings is a fantastic way for you to first explore what you are feeling. Write down your thoughts and feelings about him, the relationship and your general view of love. Write down whatever comes to mind and don’t judge it. Allow for it to come up without judgment and write until you have a good idea of what you feel.

2. Practice sharing them in the mirror, with a friend or a trusted therapist

a. Once you have a solid idea about how you feel, you can practice it before you share it with him. The adage practice makes perfect can work here, especially if you are prone to getting nervous when speaking in front of people. You don’t want to memorize and deliver it like a speech, but putting together your thoughts and saying them aloud once or twice, before you share it with him, can help reduce that anxiety.

3.Address fears about your relationship

a. If fear is coming up about sharing, you have to ask yourself why. Are you afraid he doesn’t feel the same way? Are you afraid he will reject you? Are you feeling excited about telling him and it looks like fear? Once you get down to what you are really scared about, then you can work on facing your fears. If you are scared of rejection, is that a risk you are willing to take in order to share how you feel and potentially have him express the same feelings?

In an authentic relationship, communication is key. Being able to express your feelings is a part of that communication. Once you have a good idea of how you feel and you are comfortable with sharing it, then it is time to sit him down and express it. Use fear reduction techniques to help you with any anxieties that come up. Once you have expressed your love, congratulate yourself on being vulnerable and open. You took a huge step towards a healthy and open relationship.

Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com

# 3. Authenticity in relationships is key

Kristen Brown

One of the biggest plagues on the planet is superficial relationships. Superficial relationships happen when either one or both partners refuse to share their inner most thoughts, fears, beliefs and/or wounds. Superficial relationships are hard to maintain because eventually one partner will feel “the disconnect” and upheaval will ensue. True intimacy (In To Me You See) builds a solid foundation where trust, connection and longevity are born.

Our withholding of truth most often came into place because somewhere along the line, we believed the message that to share our innermost selves made us weak and/or somehow unworthy or unlovable. That no one will want us unless we are “perfect” so we learn to put on quite a show to convince them otherwise!

Let it be known that there are no new stories. Each of us has a heap pile of experiences and suffering that has shaped us into who we are today and how we function in relationships. No one is exempt from fear, pain or emotional triggers… except perhaps an enlightened master. What makes a relationship strong is the sharing, understanding and compassion of our mutual backstories and the supporting of one another as we do our personal work to heal.

Note: We must never fall into the illusion that another will heal us or make us whole. Only we can heal ourselves and make us whole. However, it is most serving for our partners to understand the root of our behaviors AS we are working on them ourselves.

The benefits of sharing our inner most selves with our partner are:

1. Vulnerability begets vulnerability. When we open our hearts and share our souls, eventually our beloved will feel safe enough to do the same. Hence, intimacy is born!

2. When we share our authentic selves and our partner stays, we can now believe that he loves us for all of who we are not just some fantastical dream he has concocted in his mind.

3. When we share our wounds, we give our partner an opportunity to support us in our healing of them. If we keep them hidden, inevitably, our behavior will reflect them in weird ways which may leave our partner perplexed and/or annoyed because he will simply not understand what the heck is going on!

4. Sharing our souls helps us to determine more quickly the character of our partner. With this, we can see how he responds to our authentic self and if the connection is truly what we thought it was.

I understand that somewhere along the line someone may have left you because you were “too much this or not enough that”. What is most important to understand is this: It has nothing to do with you! Most often it is a sign of his weakness, not yours. When a partner doesn’t have “himself”, he certainly cannot have you.

There are a plethora of men out there who would love to know you- the innermost unique, brilliant expression of your authentic self!

And last but not least….

Wouldn’t you rather know from “go” whether your partner values the full expression of you rather than finding out years from now that it was the dream of you he loved and not the Real You?

I know I sure did and I found him. You will too!

Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.sweetempowerment.com

# 4. Follow the advice below

Dr. Annie Ready Coffey

Being able to share your feelings with your partner as well as discussing the feelings he or she needs to share with you is an essential, exciting litmus test for any relationship worth its salt. But sharing your feelings with one another does not have to be done verbally. Consider warming up the room by focusing on building the expressive-receptive energy between you. You want Reciprocity and Respect to be your relationship bricks and mortar.

Some of you might want to warm up to a verbal exchange by making how you feel obvious through any one of the following methods: a look, a body stance, the vibe you give off, the clothes you wear, the music you play or a tune you whistle, the manner in which you complete your chores, the inflection in your voice when you talk about your day or something you saw or heard, sharing why a passage from a book, a detail in a painting or a “tableau” you’ve witnessed moved you.

All of these are ways you can indicate how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, and what matters to you in the world on a given day. If you have something serious to share, build up to it. Set the stage by introducing a topic about which you’ve already successfully expressed yourself. Moreover, discuss a related-to-your-eventual-BIG-point topic where you are both proud of how you have articulated your point and pleased that you make darn good sense to yourself! (Maybe you’ve visited your BIG point to make territory because you’ve already spoken about it to a best friend, your sister, or even your therapist.)

Let’s use a concrete example: Figuring out how you’ll spend your holiday time. This is a difficult subject and one that many couples find themselves arguing about on a regular basis. So, this year, perhaps you wonder aloud about splitting the holiday time into two or even three chunks. Maybe you need the first night or two at home and can get to your first destination on Saturday or Sunday? Maybe you spend the first weekend and a couple of days at your partner’s family’s place and then a couple of days and the following weekend at your family’s place? Maybe you have to look at the costs involved in traveling to two places and decide that November holidays will be spent at one place, December holidays at another – with the idea that every other year you switch those around – and summer holidays are left just for you to figure out as a couple or as your own family?

Clearly, the options are infinite! So, don’t exhaust yourselves discussing them all. One of you can literally take notes on this kind of calendar planning talk and put things down in black and white for review. When the topic you have is more difficult because it is laden with emotions, still work up to it by mentioning the “title” of the topic you want to discuss. For example, Drinking Habits or Spending/Banking habits. Be sweet if your partner huffs or rolls his or her eyes. Joke about the way you might feel like you’re writing an essay or teaching a point but quickly say that you want to be clear.

Then, risk saying that it’s hard for you to say some of these things and that you’ve had them on your mind for a little while, so it seems right to discuss them.

Again, make sure the Reciprocity and Respect building tools are in the space… If so, continue. If not, state that it is not a good time to talk about important things and that you can comfortably wait. Assuming it’s OK to talk, express what your concerns are but “wonder aloud” about something vs. assume or accuse your partner of anything specific. Consider this quality of interaction: “Hey, Taylor, I was thinking about how you’ve gone out with your friends every other night this week and have come home really inebriated/drunk/hammered/sh*t-faced. I was wondering if there’s something going on to make you want to party so much?” OR, regarding the other topic, consider this entree: “Hey, Sam, I saw a few of your receipts on top of the washer and I probably shouldn’t have, but I did take a peak. I noticed that it said that there was about $200 left in the savings account. I was wondering how the balance got to that point?”

Wondering aloud is usually a safe way to enter into the deeper topics. What you eventually might need to express, for example, is, “I’m scared when you drink so much. Not only do I not want anything to happen to you, but I also am beginning to worry that you like to get drunk more than I realized and THAT worries me… You know, because of how my Dad was.” Similarly, in the Spending Money Habits example, you might need to get to, “So, when there’s not a lot of money in the bank, I fear we’re going to lose our apartment or have one of our cars re-possessed. It might seem like an exaggerated fear, but I am anxious that we are not agreeing on how to spend money and that’s what my grandparents and my parents fought about all the time.”

Risk telling your truths. Wonder aloud. Invite your partner to explain what’s been going on to you. Welcome deeper – even if they are more difficult – discussions. Always be gentle and clear. Do not minimize or catastrophize your own or your partner’s concerns. If discussing things does not improve the situation, be ready to suggest that it might be helpful to meet with a Couples’ Counselor. When making the suggestion to seek outside help, reiterate that you love your partner and want to be able to continue deepening your relationship. If you don’t seek outside help, keep up the habit of connecting and sharing on a daily basis. Everybody wins when you build and strengthen your relationship this way!

Dr. Annie Ready Coffey – www.replenishmentandchange.com

# 5. Sharing feelings requires you to be vulnerable, which requires trust

Brett-McDonald

Trust is built from the experience of someone meeting your needs, which comes from your ability to be vulnerable enough to express your needs. This is a self-perpetuating cycle that can either be worsened or improved in degrees, based on what you risk. If lack of trust is your issue, try starting with small vulnerabilities and work your way up to bigger issues. If you have a hard time expressing your needs, this could be due to your beliefs about what expressing needs means. For instance, some people feel that needs are a liability, they mean you are weak, they mean you are a burden or that you don’t appreciate your partner’s attempts to support you.

Take some time to consider what beliefs you have about your emotional needs and what that means in your relationship. Remember, if you can’t express your needs, your relationship can’t be nurturing to you and that spells trouble. Perhaps you receive signals that your partner is irritated or inconvenienced or insulted when you express your needs. If this is the case, try telling your partner specifically what he can do to receive your message better and make you feel heard. Above all, remember that your partner will be as receptive to your needs as you are to his, so make sure you give as well as you expect to receive.

Brett McDonald, M.S., LMHC – www.thedragonflyretreat.com

# 6. Follow the 5 tips below

Cynthia Pickett

Great communication is such an important tool to have in any relationship! The primary issue that makes it hard is worrying about what others will think about us. The truth is no amount of walking on eggshells will guarantee a favorable out come. All we can do is our best.

If our partners want to understand, meet, or see us they will. We cannot make anyone hear us, get us or make him or her change their behavior. Trying to do so will make us appear needy and clingy. However, there are some guidelines that will help us to communicate from our highest and best place, which will increase our chances of being heard.

1. Don’t make others responsible for your feelings. Most of our society has this one wrong and it is the epitome of neediness. When we come to the table being willing to take responsibility for how we feel, it takes a huge burden off our partner’s shoulders. They don’t feel the pressure to say or do the right thing, which allows them to relax and meet us in the conversation. Your partner will be more comfortable around you.

2. Be open in your communication. This means establish two-way communication that includes hearing, listening and talking. Don’t get mad at what they say even if you don’t like hearing it (it is ok to show emotion but if you lash out they will shut down), no interrupting, and have open body language.

3. Be honest. Fully speak your truth. This is where being responsible for others feelings becomes a problem. You HAVE to be able to speak your truth and then know whatever reaction is triggered in your partner, respect and trust that they can handle it.

4. Be direct. No sugar coating and wishy-washy words like,” kinda, sorta, maybe.” These words are misleading and open the door for miscommunication. Be clear about what you mean to say and say it.

5. Be respectful. No yelling, name calling, eye rolling, no personal attacks, no laundry lists of prior complaints. Talk to your partner as you would your best friend or boss.
There are no guarantees on how people will perceive you but using these tools will put you in a place of owning your own personal power. When we stand firm in your personal power we are not needy or clingy so it would be very hard to be perceived that way.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com

# 7. Are you coming from a place of abandonment, fear and injury or from a place of wholeness?

Wendy Dingee

If you have a sense that the deep feelings you want to share with him might come across as needy, desperate, or clingy, you might want to consider whether those feelings are coming from a place of abandonment, fear, and injury. When you are grounded, present, and coming from a place of wholeness on the inside, you are free to speak honestly and openly without fear.

The way to know the difference is by paying attention to your body experience. Is your chest tight, constricted? Knots in the belly? Breathe. Let go of the fear. Ask yourself what is the intention of what you are about to say. Do you want to become closer, to allow yourself to be seen by him in an authentic way? Or do you have an attachment to a particular outcome, a specific reaction on his part? Let go of your expectations.

Another important question to ask yourself is where are you in the relationship? Sharing feelings on a first or second date is much different from sharing in the context of a committed relationship. If you think it might be a premature share, take a step back and pay attention to the truth of the relationship rather than what you want the relationship to be.

The best way to not come across as dependent, needy, or clingy is not to speak from your abandonment fear. You are fine with or without him. That’s the truth. Being in a relationship is an option, not a necessity. The fear is what will drive him away and keep you from what you want: to feel loved, valued, and connected. If he has a tendency to become inundated (which he probably does if you have a tendency to feel abandoned because that’s what we do in relationships, act out our old patterns) then you will trigger his instinct to retreat to take care of himself. So get out from under that whole not too close-not too far away game and be honest with yourself first.

Wendy Dingee, MS, LCPC, LCADC, BCC – www.livewellnevada.com

# 8. Understand that there is a difference between having emotions and being emotional

Sally Leboy

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that in general men are less comfortable with deep emotional communication than women. I have not observed that men don’t feel as deeply as women, but I have observed that women probably show a greater desire to talk about their feelings. I want to go on record as saying that this is not always the case. I have seen many couples over the years where the man is the emotional one. I know a couple personally who fit this dynamic. They both describe the woman as “The man in the relationship”.

I really don’t think it’s the emotional content that puts men off; I think it’s the expectation that they must do something about those emotions. Women often say that they don’t need anyone to fix it, but men are brought up to be problem solvers. So even when told they don’t need to fix it, they can feel anxious about what to do or say. Truthfully, it’s hard for anyone, man or woman to be helpless to act in the face of strong emotion. Most of us want to make it better. When we can’t we feel anxious and then might tend to avoid the situation.

Knowing how we feel about things is one of the ways we connect. In general, people who don’t talk to each other about their feelings are more distant from one another. However, I think there is a big difference between having emotions and being emotional. Having emotions is part of being human. Being emotional is to some extent an abdication of your rational thinking and can lead to very poor behavior. We all are in charge of managing our own emotions and taking responsibility for our own actions. We must be clear with our partners that while we want them to know how we feel, we are capable of taking emotional care of ourselves. If you are communicating your emotions you are giving your partner information about who you are. If you are being driven by your emotions, you run the risk of coming across as helpless or needy.

Actions speak louder than words. If you are managing yourself consistently you are demonstrating to your partner that you are a mature adult and not a needy child. Let your partner know that you want to know him and you want him to know you, and that talking about your feelings (and him talking about his) is one of the ways to connect. Be sure to let him know that you’re not asking to be taken care of; hopefully most of the time you both can do that for yourselves.

Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

# 9. It’s not what you say but how you say it

Sarah Hofer

The most important thing to understand about communication is that the content of what is said is not nearly as important as how it is conveyed. Tone, body language, and word choice make up a large proportion of the effectiveness of a message. When you have something difficult to discuss with your partner, make sure you remember that the way you choose to communicate matters! No matter who they are, they’ll be much more apt to listen if your words are kind, gentle, and gracious rather than accusatory, condemning, and inflammatory.

Also, keep in mind that a conversation is a two-way street—it’s important to validate his feelings and concerns before you voice yours. He’ll be much more willing to listen when he sees that you recognize and empathize with some of his thoughts and feelings. This is also a good way to remind yourself that his intentions may not be as bad as you’ve perceived them to be. So always, before you begin sharing, take a deep breath and remember to consider his position on the issue. It will help you to remain balanced as you discuss what’s bothering you.

Additionally, remember that your feelings, needs, and wants are valid! No matter what the issue is, you are entitled to your opinion. Your feelings are what they are, and that’s totally fine. Own your emotions and opinions, and he will most likely respect your willingness to be honest with him rather than be angry at your feelings.

Sarah Hofer, MA – www.sarahhofercounseling.com

# 10. Follow the 3 tips below

Teresa-Petersen-Mendoza

Deciding how to share your feelings with your partner is sometimes complicated. If it’s early in the relationship, you may feel hesitant because there isn’t a lasting trust. If it’s a long term relationship, hesitancy may be born out of prior rejection. Investing the gift of you in the relationship is vital to a deep, lasting, passionate relationship. You are the one who gets to select to whom you present the gift of your deep feelings.

1. Consider the state of the relationship. Some people open up about themselves much too soon in relationships. If you and your partner have a mutual trust and understanding in the relationship, then it is fine to share your deepest feelings. If not, perhaps feeling him out, by sharing just a little, for his response would be an appropriate way to begin.

2. What is your goal? Some women share deep feelings with a partner as a way to shift anxiety off themselves and essentially dump it on their partner. If your desire to share feelings with your partner is born out of moving into true intimacy, then share.

3. Try a bit at a time. The first time you move toward sharing intimate details of your life with a partner, it’s best to provide it in small doses. You can judge how he reacts and decide, slowly, if he is trustworthy and deserving of your whole self.

Remember, sharing intimate details of your life is a gift you are giving to your partner. It should be done thoughtfully, and with the knowledge that you are the ultimate gift for him. If he isn’t receptive, it’s a reflection of the relationship and whether it’s a good fit… not reflective of you, as an individual. If you feel you need support with deciding, seek support from a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. They are specifically training to work with couples and individuals dealing with relationship issues.

Teresa Petersen Mendoza, MS, LMFT – www.familysosinc.com

# 11. Go Fish!

Dr.-Maurita-Hodge

Go fish! The game we (my sister and brother) played as children. The object of the game was to get the mate to the cards in your hands from the other player. If the other player had the card, they had to give it to; but, if they did not have the card, you had to pick a card from the deck: Do you have a 7? No, go fish! This game required you to be honest, be patient, and remember your playmate’s needs. To win, you could have none of these qualities or all of these qualities.

When writing this article, this game came to mind because in a relationship for both to win, you have to exhibit the same qualities. Before you utter a word, let’s Go Fish!

• Honest: Do you know exactly how you feel? Right now you’re thinking that you feel something; but, you’re not sure what it is. First, let’s rule out any bodily functions or medical issues. Next, identify the feelings (put a name on it) and then ask the when question (…do I feel this way) and the what questions (…do I want him to do with this information and …needs are being met).

Example:

Feelings: jittery; a little nervous; giggly; scared; excited

When (do I feel this): when he looks into my eyes; when he uses profanity; when he texts me

What (to do): I want him to hear me; I want him to stop doing it; I want him to do more of the same

What (needs): security, to be heard and understood, to be regarded.

• Patience: Be patient with your mate if he does not get it the first time around. There is a possibility he just does not understand. Ask yourself if what you stated was clear to him and then ask him what he heard you say. Misunderstandings happen because we are not clear about our needs and the needs of others. Also, when it is his turn, then wait to respond.

• Memory: remember there is something you need from your mate; and, rest assuredly, he may need something from you. You also must be mindful of your mate – his needs, his feelings, etc. In essence do you know what he is fishing for?

So I challenge you to be honest with you and with him; be patient with you and with him; and always remember you and him. Now, Go Fish!!

Dr. Maurita Hodge – www.movingmountainsconsultingllc.com

# 12. Sincerity and authenticity are two values you really want to convey when expressing how you feel

Amy Sherman

If what you say seems shallow, insincere, forced or detached, you will never connect on the most important level for communication to happen. Your partner really wants to know the real you and you want him to gravitate towards you because he believes in you, likes you and respects you.

Therefore, you don’t have to “sell” him your sincerity, as his intuitive sense will let him know if you are someone he can trust. You should just be authentic.

How do you define authenticity? Here are a few examples:

You behave in a way that is true to yourself and your values.

You are comfortable in your own skin.

You are authentic, because you feel it.

You know who you are, what works and what doesn’t work for you.

You never fit into someone else’s image.

Ultimately, you are taking responsibility for yourself. You are peering inside for answers to who you are, what you feel and what you think and are accepting what you find. No longer do you pretend, to be someone else for his sake. No longer do you use gimmicks to get his attention. Instead, be yourself. That is very attractive.

Your goal with your partner is connection, so you can also share your feelings non-verbally. Without words show him you care with a gentle smile, leaning in when you’re around him and making good eye contact. Be patient so he can respond to your gestures. If you give him the space he needs, he will eventually get comfortable and open up.

It is critical to understand that men are not “wired” the same way as women, so when you share your feelings, he may not respond in the way you’d expect your girlfriends to. However, in his own way, he will feel closer to you and not threatened by your words. He will notice your competency, sincerity and responsibility for making the relationship work. Just be careful that your expectations of him are realistic; otherwise your growth will be hindered as you expect more of him than he can deliver.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

# 13. Sharing is caring

Dr. Kirsten Person-Ramey

Women who hesitate to share their deepest feelings can often be justified. They don’t want to share out of fear that they may appear dependent, needy, and clingy. What we have dealt with and endured in our past experiences dictate how we move about through our relationships. Being cautious is perfectly understandable, as long as women are clear about one simple truth; the past affords us the experience to make informed decisions about similar situations in our present. The problem is that many women do not use that knowledge to make better choices, they are paralyzed because of it.

There is no movement towards a positive relationship when women are stuck in the past and quite honestly, this is why some do not share. While women are usually relatively in touch with their feelings, sharing with a mate can be a daunting task because the past usually creeps in. Some women believe negative self talk such as “He will leave if I share,” I’m not worthy to share,” or even “It’s not important.”

In reality, chances are he probably won’t leave. While men may not want to be subjected to excessive drama, they do want to hear how their women feel. They aren’t mind readers, so a little insight can go a long way to building a healthy future. It is also faulty thinking that leads to the belief that a women’s feelings are not worthwhile or important. Although many of them are not an emotional as women, men do care deeply, so as long as “he” is someone who is safe, trustworthy, respectful, and kind….sharing is caring! Relationships are a two-way street. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with depending on one another to explore and express feelings. We all have needs and the freedom of healthy expression is one that should be honored. Finally, what better person to “cling” to than the one you care about most?

Dr. Kirsten Person-Ramey – www.personall-counseling.com

# 14. Timing is critical

Alisa Ruby Bash

When communicating our most authentic, honest feelings, remember that timing is everything. There is a time and place for everything. Make sure that you are communicating with your man when he is able to listen. For example, interrupting his favorite sports game, or trying to have a deep conversation the second he gets home from work, or right before bed, may not be the best. Find a time when he is able to focus on you and you already are feeling connected. Use your intuition to find the perfect time to share your innermost vulnerability, where you will most likely feel safe and heard.

If there is something in your heart that you want to share with your significant other, first ask yourself why you want to share it at this moment. Are you hoping for a certain response from your man? Is it early in the relationship and you want to know how he feels? Are you hoping for empathy, or reciprocal feelings to be shared? Become clear on what you are hoping to get out of it. Next, take a deep breath and try to let go of your expectations. You will not be able to control his reaction, so try to prepare yourself for that first. Sharing honest feelings is taking a risk.

Once you decide to proceed and share your feelings, just realize that you need to be completely honest with yourself about how his reaction makes you feel. The way he reacts will tell you a lot about if this is someone you can feel safe trusting your heart with in the future. If he is sarcastic, condescending, or makes you feel dismissed, be honest with yourself and him, about how that feels. Or, does he react with empathy and kindness? Even if he does not share his innermost truth as well, his reaction will tell you a lot about the kind of communication you can hope to have with him in the future. Since communication is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships, it is prudent to be authentic and see how that lays the foundation for something very real, or ends up backfiring. Either way, it will help you move forward, closer, and more connected, or help you stop wasting time with someone who is not right for you.

Alisa Ruby Bash, LMFT – www.alisarubybash.com

# 15. Clean up your clutter, bring out the self-confidence within in

Kira Mantell

Many women come into my practice, tell me intimate histories, and wonder, “What do men look for? How can I tell him how I feel? When is the right time? In the past I was told I was too clingy…too needy and it blew apart the relationship, leaving me alone again. These women feel abandoned once they feel loved by a man, asking what went wrong over and over again. This cycle goes on with the next man they meet.

I have seen countless men whom tell me intimate histories of their lives. Men are very clear about what they want, and it has nothing to do with conventional beauty. So, ladies, listen up: men desire that initial physical attraction. However, men truly look for a woman whom exudes confidence, honesty, loyalty, and is capable of being a partner as well as a friend. It has nothing to do with conventional beauty: “I’m not thin enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough.” Erase these thoughts because men say that those old schemas (ideas we’re taught about the world from our family) don’t factor into decisions or how they feel. Men say that with these things, love naturally forms and one doesn’t need to question the status because it all feels right. I recommend having a conversation about monogamy/polyamory whatever you want in between. This is essential to the health of the partnership and the physical health of both people.

I had a professor at NYU who told each of us, “We all have baggage. It’s how we carry it.” Look around your apartment or home. Physical clutter is emotional clutter. Many people I have met in my life and are surrounded by clutter are often worried, depressed or feel lonely if they did not have the clutter.

Clean up your clutter, bring out the self-confidence within in, and fake it ‘til you make it.

Kira Mantell, LCSW – www.kiramantell.com

# 16. Love yourself enough to open wide and share

Wendy-Whitmore

Allowing ourselves to be open, honest, transparent and down right naked (emotionally) is very difficult for many of us to do. We tell ourselves that we can’t trust our mate, best friend, or partner, with something so precious, embarrassing or heartbreaking. We tell ourselves that sharing our deepest feelings will have others feeling as though we are clingy, dependent and/or needy. We tell ourselves that being transparent involves more losses that WINS. We tell ourselves that when we share we run the risk of losing mates, friends, or partners because they’ll see us for who we truly are and not for the facade that has been presented to them.

We tell ourselves that opening up and exposing our emotional wounds will harm us more than help to heal.

So ask yourself if you can’t be transparent with your mate, best friend or partner who are you suppose to be transparent with? Who’s shoulder are you suppose to cry on when you feel the need to release and be comforted by skin to skin contact? Who’s arms are you suppose to find refuge in when you feel like you simply cannot go on? And who’s listening ear are you suppose to seek out when you are bubbling over inside with emotion?

Finding the courage to be transparent, honest, open and down right naked (emotionally) is something that freaks Us Out; yet is necessary to the very essence of our being and our survival of heartbreak, the death of loved ones, traumatic experiences, life threatening illnesses, let downs and disappointments. So go ahead and love yourself enough to open wide and share, because in the end healing your emotional scars is the only way you can truly find joy and peace.

Wendy Whitmore, MS, LMFT – www.truthhealingevolution.com

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