How To Discuss Issues in a Relationship - How To Win a Man's Heart

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February 17, 2016

How To Discuss Issues in a Relationship

# 1. Follow the 3 tips below

Kristen Brown

Talking about what’s bugging us can be a scary thing in a new relationship. We are so excited about the prospect of this one being our “lifer” that we cease to discuss hard topics because we are afraid of rocking the boat and losing what we are trying hard to gain. We try to control the success of the relationship by keeping our mouths shut when we are disgruntled, unhappy or disrespected. This tends to be a natural mechanism for many people; however, it is the exact opposite of what we really need to do.

The core behind attracting and keeping a reciprocally loving relationship is authenticity. Yep, you heard it! Authenticity in word and deed. When we display our genuine, unaltered nature to another, we are actually respecting them (and ourselves) in the highest way. We are saying: This is who I am and I am giving you the opportunity to like it or lump it. And if you lump it, I will be over there until you decide to respect who I am and honor my line.

To keep any part of ourselves sequestered away from our partner’s eye is in essence to lie about who we are. Then once we secure the relationship, we slowly reveal our true colors and guess what? Ain’t nobody happy then because the dynamic that once brought you together was based on fiction and your partner ends up feeling duped and resentful.

The same holds true when we don’t speak up about our relationship do’s and don’ts. Again, by withholding information, we are lying to our partner by pretending his behavior is okay. It is never up to our partner to “just know” how to treat us. I speak with oodles of people every single day and have for over 25 years and I’m here to tell you, we are ALL very different. No one can possible “just know” what you think, need, feel, desire, crave, resist, fear, admire or love. It is up to us to make it as clear as possible from Go so that our partner can choose to honor our boundary/Acceptable Treatment Guideline (Page 187 in my book) or not.

For example, some women have no problem with their man visiting topless bars and may even join them. Contrarily, some women consider topless bars a deal breaker. If the man came from a previous relationship where the former was true, how would he have any idea that you disapprove? To pretend that it’s okay (for now) and then hit him with it later when you feel secure is not cool. You have sold him a false self. Even if he could care less about the topless bar, by you changing the game on him later, you could potentially be starting a war that could have been circumvented early on.

Relationships are not perfect.

Many of the best relationships I know had a series of stops and starts. It’s important to remember that no one out there is perfect. There is no knight in shining armor. Your ideal partner is going to come to you flawed, afraid and fallible just as you are. He will need your love and boundaries to help move him move out of behaviors that will cause disruption in your union. However, you must be willing to talk to him about it first!

In order to have the strength to bring up the tough topics and stand behind all boundary setting, one must have these 3 core truths in place.

1. It is my job to take care of me by setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries.

2. I am worthy of the utmost respect and honor.

3. Discussing tough issues and boundaries are based in Love not selfishness.

The reason why most of us falter when there is a tough issue to discuss is because deep inside, we do not believe one or all 3 truths listed above. Unless we adopt these core truths, we will always walk a wavy line instead of a straight one when it comes to our self-worth which is to give mixed messages to our person. For someone who is used to doing something a certain way, a mixed message is as good as a green light. If it’s not important enough for you to stand in, it won’t be important enough for him to change.

Know your worth and have the courage to discuss the tough topics. This is how you build a great relationship!

Kristen Brown, Author & Certified Empowerment Coach – www.kristenbrown.org

# 2. Communicate assertively using “I” statements

Jennifer Whitfield

Communicating feelings can be difficult. This can be especially overwhelming for women, as women often are labeled as “nagging” when they bring up something that is bothering them.

“Will the other person understand what I am trying to tell them?”,

Will they become upset?”, and

“Will what I have to say hurt their feelings?” are often questions that fill the female brain.

Many times women will just keep their feelings to themselves in order to avoid conflict. While there is no crystal ball to see how the recipient will respond to what you have to say, it is important to express your thoughts and feelings, regardless if you think the other person will become upset. When you hold in your emotions for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or to avoid an argument, resentment begins to form. When you try to ignore your feelings, it is sure to surface one way or another. In most cases, it comes out in a negative way and you might say or do something you will regret.

Communicating in an assertive manner, using “I” statements, is one way to improve communication and is a healthy way to get your point across. While you cannot control what the other person says or does, you can control your actions and your responses. Some examples might be, “I feel ignored when you watch TV when I am talking to you” or, ” I feel upset when I do not have any help with cleaning the house” When you use “I feel” statements, it comes across as less attacking and the other person is more likely to be receptive to the conversation.

Furthermore, when you are speaking with someone, be sure to reflect back what you are hearing from them. For instance you might say, “What I hear you saying is…”, “What I think you mean is…” This is a way to let the recipient know you are listening to them and that you respect what they have to say. You might not always agree with what the other person is saying, but you can respond in a respectful manner while disagreeing with them.

Additionally, writing down what you would like to say to someone can be extremely helpful, especially for someone who is nervous discussing issues. You can edit your words until you get it just right. You can also send the letter to the person you want to communicate with or simply read it verbatim from your letter. .

Lastly, when you sit down to have “the talk”, it is helpful to remove any distractions such as the TV, radio, kids, friends, etc. When there is an audience sometimes people feel judged or attacked and may not respond in a positive manner. As stated earlier, the person whom you are trying to discuss your feelings with may or may not respond in the way you like. However, if you follow these steps, you will be sure to set the stage for healthy communication.

Jennifer Whitfield, LMHC, NCC, RPT – www.hhhcounseling.com

# 3. Follow the 4 tips below

Karen R. Koenig

One of the best ways to find out if someone is good for you is to (gently) bring up an issue and see how it is received. Does your lover change the subject, raise a similar problem and never get back to asking about what you wanted to say, tell you you’re too sensitive or silly or that you live a charmed life and shouldn’t complain? Or does he or she listen with curiosity and compassion, hear you out, and offer a heartfelt response that lets you know how special you are, in spite of—or even because of—what you feel?

What I’m suggesting can be difficult in a new relationship because all the while you’re feeling hurt, disappointed, or upset, you might also be fearing how your loved one will respond to you sharing your distress. Depending on what has happened in previous relationships (all the way back to your childhood), when you were authentic and shared feelings that someone may not have wanted to hear, you will have minor or major discomfort about opening up and being vulnerable now.

To make this process easier, try the following:

1. Identify what’s really bothering you. Sometimes we pounce on what might be the last straw, but it’s not actually the issue that’s been bugging us most. Spend time mulling over what you’re feeling and what your hurt is truly about.

2. Pick a good time to bring up your issue. When your lover walks in the door, has just gotten off the phone in a huff, or is trying to meet a work deadline is not the time he or she will be most receptive to your thoughts and feelings. Wait until you’re both relaxed and you’ll have a better shot at being heard and understood. You might even want to ask, “Do you have a minute to talk about something important to me?”

3. Consider how your issue may be received. Think about how you would feel hearing whatever it is you have to say. Frame your message in these terms, “When you do X, I feel Y.” Don’t be afraid to show that you’re hurt, feel devalued, disappointed or neglected. Speak your truth without blaming. This is tricky and you would do well to practice what you’re going to say before hand—or event write down the gist of it.

4. Once you’ve said your piece, stop talking. Switch off your upset and swing into curiosity and empathy mode. Listen attentively to your lover’s response and pay attention to non-verbal cues and body language, which will tell you how your message is being received. Give your lover time to respond.

Even for therapists, sharing problems and concerns with a spouse or partner is
difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to put your real self out there. Expressing authentic needs is a must if you want an honest and caring relationship.

Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed – www.karenrkoenig.com

# 4. Follow the 3 tips below

Dr. JaNaè Taylor

It’s difficult to address tough issues in relationships. In new relationships, this can feel even more daunting. There may be fear if you bring up a tough issue it will create distance in this new relationship, or even worse may lead to the end of the relationship. This fear often convinces us to remain silent to preserve our connection with someone we care about it. The problem in this strategy is that it is a disservice to our relationship. Holding on to a problem and not sharing it dishonors the connection we have with the one we care about. It also is unfair to the other party in the relationship. The issue could be a misunderstanding, a miscommunication that could easily be resolved once you communicate with each other. Below are some strategies that could help you in taking the brave step of sharing issues in your relationships.

1. Be clear and concise. Sometimes when we are experiencing issues, we will allow those issues to pile up before we share our concerns with others. While expressing a long list of concerns might feel good to get off your chest, this can be quite overwhelming for the listener. In some cases, the listener might become defensive and at that point little effective communication is happening. It’s important that when you address an issue that you are aware of what precisely is of concern to you. Sometimes this means spending time reflecting on what is bothering you before addressing it with others.

2. Be open to feedback. Two people can have the same experience and will then describe the event in varying ways. Take this into account as you share your concern with others. They might not have the same understanding of the issue, if they view it as an issue at all. If you remain open to hearing the perspective of the other person, you might walk away with a different understand and a deeper connection with your partner.

3. Provide opportunity for future discussion. Bringing up concerns in a way that allows for a healthy conversation increases the likelihood of this happening again. Imagine if by you sharing a concern it leads to your partner feeling comfortable to share their concerns with you. You’ve created a pattern that makes it comfortable to share the tough things with each other.

We all want to be in relationships where we feel heard, cared for, understood, and respected. We deserve these things, and we can play an active part in making that a reality.

Dr. JaNaè Taylor – www.taylorcounselingconsultingservices.com

# 5. The first reality is you have to be willing to lose him in order to be honest with how you are feeling

Lisa Bahar

Meaning, as long is there is an investment in not losing him, then your behavior and actions will be to avoid him leaving which may mean you silence yourself and your self esteem starts chipping away, panic, anxiety and lack of trust kick in, and guess what? you are no fun. Therefore, in order to take on the core fear, self esteem work is necessary which is to accept the reality that you may not be with him if you say no or ask for what you want. Once you can accept that specific reality, there is a freedom to being real that creates honesty and openness. Surface behavior modification is not enough, it only backfires and creates anxiety and issues that will catch up to you in the long run.

There are effective ways on how to express asking for what you want and or saying no to a specific request.

This does not mean that you will get what you want, but it does mean you are willing to ask for what you want and explore in the relationship what you are both willing to agree to. The value of saying no or asking for what you want is a form of self esteem and it is healthy for the relationship. Respect is the effect of being able to stand up for yourself and also let others know where you stand. The relationship strengthens when each knows where the other stands and are willing to negotiate through certain issues. Take the risk and practice, start small and build to larger issues.

Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT – www.lcbahar.wix.com/lisa-bahar

# 6. Follow the 5 tips below

Dr. Kelly Mothner

Our intimate relationship is often one of the most important and most challenging connections in our lives. No matter how strongly you may feel for your partner, there will be times when you struggle to communicate your needs in a healthy and constructive way. It is especially easy for problems in a relationship to build up when one or both partners lack the tools necessary to effectively communicate with one another.

All of the best relationships take work and ongoing communication. Here are some tips that may help you confront rather than avoid having those difficult conversations with your partner and ultimately achieve a stronger, more resilient relationship.

1. Find the right time to have important conversations: When something is bothering you, it is very important that you pick the right time to have a serious conversation with your partner. It is best not to interrupt your partner when they are in the middle of a task, watching their favorite TV show, or about to go to sleep. Let your partner know that you would like to talk to them and agree on a time when they are not doing anything and the two of you can sit down and talk without any other distractions.

2. Always talk face to face: It may be tempting to communicate important things via text or email. However, this indirect type of communication often leads to things being misinterpreted. Talking in person ensures that there are no miscommunications so make face to face communication a priority.

3. Disconnect from your devices: Put the phone down! Don’t let outside distractions intervene when you are with your significant other. Whether you are having a serious conversation or just enjoying each other’s company, dedicate all of your attention and focus on the person you are with. This helps promote a feeling of intimacy and connection.

4. Communicate authentically: Make authenticity and honesty between you and your partner a top priority. Sometimes the truth can hurt, but honesty is the key to a healthy relationship. As opposed to expecting or assuming that your partner knows what is bothering you, speak up and voice your concerns or frustrations. Honest conversation with your partner will often yield more authentic change.

5. Compromise: Part of being in a healthy relationship is compromising with your partner so that both of your needs are met. To make compromise easier, try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and imagine how they may feel. It is also helpful to admit when you have made a mistake instead of making excuses or blaming the other person. In the end, you will feel better and your relationship will be stronger.

Dr. Kelly Mothner – www.drkellyhb.com

# 7. Follow the 2 tips below

Margie Ulbrick

It is a great skill to know how to raise tricky subjects and to know how to do so without making the other person defensive or inclined to withdraw. Mindfulness helps here to make us more aware of our emotions and to be more sensitive to the effect we have on others. Staying calm is important so that we don’t let our fears and anxieties drive the conversation and make us critical or attacking. This is especially important to conversations where our attachment system is activated such as intimate partners, lovers or dating situations.

When you would like to have a difficult conversation with a lover it helps to start with an intention. Perhaps you might hold as an intention that you merely stay calm, or it may be that you end up with a result where you have listened to each other. It could be that you don’t cave in and give up on what you want to say. Once you have your intention in mind then you can follow the next steps.

1. State it how it is for you.

When you are clear and speak clearly about what you want then this becomes a vehicle for a truthful and honest conversation. It is not critical because you speak only about yourself. You do not demand or tell your partner how they should think, feel or act. It might mean language such as “I think, I would like, I feel…” Say it in the positive to increase connection, don’t say what you don’t want but rather focus on what you do want.

Many of us are conditioned to be vague and evasive about what we want and then we are frustrated with intimate others because they are not mind readers! We somehow think they should know. This taints the communication with critical and negative emotions. Explain how you feel to give the context but keep it to how you feel. Be specific and resist the temptation to globalize about the past or the need to justify your position. In other words when you own your own needs there is no need to make anyone else wrong or to try and pull or manipulate another to give you want you want.

2. Ask questions about the other.

These questions are best when they start with how or what. Do not ask why as this activates defensiveness. But seek to understand and to get information from a place of really caring about how the other feels or what they want. This way you are not needy or clingy. You are clear about your own desires and about the importance of taking the other person into account. Relationships are two-way. When you weave this into your conversation you can let it flow backwards and forwards until you have a result that feels comfortable or you can agree that this is difficult and remains unresolved, for now. If you know ahead of time that you can manage your emotions and take a break if it becomes too heated, you will create a safe climate in which to have respectful and honest conversations about all sorts of concerns.

For more assistance and further steps to have great conversations and resolve difficult relationship issues contact me via my website or email and remember Skype sessions are available.

Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI – www.margieulbrickcounselling.com

# 8. Be aware of your old wounds and fears before you discuss issues with your partner

Sue Markovitch

We could talk for days about how to bring up issues or use certain language, and not come across as nagging. But I believe that skips the crucial step of understanding what the issue is, and deciding whether to bring it up to our partner in the first place.

Projection is a difficult thing to understand, as are triggers. One must be a student of spiritual growth for some time to understand that most problems we face in our relationships are our own.

I believe three important things about relationships:

1. We chose to be with our partner. We continue to choose them every day.

2. Our partners are just being themselves, wherever they are on their path. It is not our role to judge or criticize them.

3. It was divine design that brought the two of us together, to not only bring love into our lives, but to heal our deepest wounds and fears.

When I feel upset with my partner, it is crucial that I don’t point a finger at my partner in blame. Before I even bring it to their attention, I must take it to the divine healer. God, what is this that I’m feeling? Why am I so upset right now? Go within. Pray. Meditate. Sing. Dance. Play the drums. Hike on rocks. Talk to your coach.

Ask, what is my role in this? What old fears and wounds are being brought up by this situation? How do I step into my power in this moment?

What most people do, because they don’t understand their role in the upset, is talk to their partner immediately and try to get them to do things differently. Talk to me differently, come home earlier, do this, do that so I can feel less upset. That puts all the power on your partner for how you feel, and your only hope is that they will change.

What we must learn to do is allow our partner to be whoever they are being in this moment, and figure out why we thinking changing them will help us feel better. The truth is, every time we receive the gift of a trigger, it brings another old wound or fear to light. And in the light, it can be healed and released.

If your partner makes you feel like you don’t matter, be sure that you have self-worth work to do. If your partner makes you feel like you are never good enough, be sure you are in need of healing in that place of value and purpose. Once you do your personal work, the upset will disappear. You will no longer be triggered. You will live in radical peace. That’s good stuff to share with your partner.

Sue Markovitch, Author and Life Coach in Westerville, Ohio – www.clearrockfitness.com

# 9. Make sure you first understand what it is that is coming up

Dr. Carrie McCrudden

I can admit it, I am a little bit controlling in my environment. Ok, maybe I can be a lot controlling. I like things to be neat and tidy, I straighten messy edges, I have specific piles for each project on my desk.

A few months into my new dating relationship my guy noticed. First, he caught me picking up an empty bag of chips off of his table, and gently reminded me that I wasn’t responsible for picking up his trash. Then he saw me straightening something that was already plenty straight when we were out to eat. The final straw was the day I refused to let him do the dishes because I’d had a bad day and just really needed to clean the dishes my way. At this point, he said kindly, “Huh, you are controlling aren’t you?”

Now this is actually a big trigger for me because I was feeling worried that I was being judged, and I found myself replaying negative feedback I’d gotten before in relationship about being “too controlling.” I was at a crucial juncture here in this new relationship….should I apologize and hide this tendency of mine? Nope, probably not a realistic option (I’m the one at the bank that neatens the pile of deposit slips). Should I feel badly and try to curb the habit? Nope, again, this is a bit of my personality that isn’t likely to go away.

So what was I to do? I wanted my new guy to like me, but I also wanted to be myself. Here is what I did: I took a deep breath, smiled and said: “If you can renegotiate this little habit of mine from annoying to adorable, it is really going to go better for both of us.” He smiled back and said, “Ok, I can handle that.”

Why did this work?

First, I am aware of my particular tendencies.

Second, I am no longer negatively judging myself for having them, rather I have accepted that I (along with absolutely everyone else) am going to bring a combination of strengths, weaknesses, peculiar habits and long-held beliefs into my relationship. This controlling thing is one of my unique habits, but isn’t enough of a weakness to need much of my time or attention to fix.

Third, I am dating someone that I have committed to be honest with, and he is honest right back. Thus when we point things out about each other, it isn’t from a critical place, but rather one of curiosity and understanding our differences.

The next time you are trying to figure out how to communicate in your relationship, make sure you first understand what it is that is coming up. Then, determine if it is a dealbreaker, a weakness that needs attention, or something that is just going to stick around, and can be renegotiated by both of you into something harmless.

Dr. Carrie McCrudden, LMHC – www.coloradotherapycare.com

# 10. Discuss your needs from a place of self-respect

Anne Shopp

Finding my voice and speaking my truth in a relationship is a sacred act of trusting both myself and my partner. Women have a tendency to see their needs as not important or valued. Women tend to think: even if I don’t express what is in my heart and mind, things will still work out; he will know what I need, because he loves me. But, most people are not good at mind reading, and people honestly don’t know what their partner is upset about, what they need, what they want, or what they are concerned with. By valuing your needs and concerns as vital to your wellbeing, it becomes easier to share with your partner.

So, the first step to talking with your partner about issues that matter to you is: recognizing what your needs are. Those needs are non-negotiable needs that you must have in your life to feel a basic level of safety and care. For each person, the list is different, but equally important. Recognizing your most basic needs allows important conversations to become easier.

Discussing your needs from a place of self-respect creates a conversation free of judgement and blame. Just because you state your needs, does not mean your partner must meet them. Rather, your partner should be supportive of you getting your needs met. Using “I” statements and understanding that meeting your needs is your personal responsibility, allows both you and your partner to be creative in exploring a vast array of options.

Also, acknowledging your needs early in a relationship is beneficial, because that is a time to get to know each other. By being open with who you are layer by layer, both of you can evaluate if the relationship is a fit. Pretending to be something you are not is just prolonging the inevitable break up. Valuing who you are is much more attractive than pretending. If you believe you are good enough for him, then chances are you are, and he will recognize it also. If you don’t feel good enough, the giant emptiness begins to enter and destroy any real opportunity for a healthy, loving partnership.

In valuing yourself, in knowing you are enough, in knowing you are good enough, and in identifying your needs, you will be able to: communicate in an open, honest, non-judgmental style leading to a healthy, long term relationship.

Anne Shopp, LMFT, CACII – www.anneshopp.com

# 11. Face your anxiety head-on

Margie Ahern

He’s incredible. Everything you’ve been looking for. Successful, good looking, funny, and he’s as attracted to you as you are to him. You hold your breath and put on your best face. Everything’s great. Well, mostly all great, but you don’t want to risk losing him. Your afraid, so you keep your mouth shut and agree to everything and swallow your concerns. This is a pattern of relating that began in childhood and it may be important to explore. Not for blame but for growth.

If you grew up in a household where your parents were overwhelmed and your needs were perceived as selfish you were sent strong messages. You misinterpreted these messages to mean that your needs and you don’t matter. You best be quiet, well behaved and don’t stir the pot.

The fear was rejection and abandonment. Survival.

The truth was that your parents were doing the best they could and it was not personal, but you were never taught how to ask for what you need. In a healthy household a child’s needs are celebrated, encouraged and validated. She is taught to advocate for herself and grows up feeling empowered.

Perfect world, right?

But it is never too late to learn these skills even as an adult and a relationship is the perfect place to practice and grow. It is actually an exciting time and an opportunity to take the commitment to a new level.

First you have to face the anxiety.

Anxiety is always future thinking and awfulizing. “What if I tell him what I need and he breaks up with me?” And you think, “that would be awful and I could not stand it.” But you don’t have to believe this thought. What if you tell him and he listens with compassion and accommodates your needs.

Then the relationship is now a home base for healing and growth. Ask yourself which you would prefer, a relationship where your needs and wants or validated or one where they are not? Believe it or not the second one is actually your comfort zone and you are at risk of perpetuating early dysfunction. So better to risk rejection and start creating the relationship that you really want. Each time you face your fear and risk putting yourself out there it will get easier and easier and the relationship more real and rewarding.

Margie Ahern, M.Ed. – www.gomindful.net

# 12. Follow the ABC’s of communication

Robin Ennis

Communicate and open up your heart, if you don’t, your relationship will fall apart. Romantic relationships can be exciting because you have found someone to share your life experiences with. You both can’t get enough of each other; everything is viewed through rose colored glasses. Feelings are strong; you really like this person, might even love them.

Spending a lot of time together, you get to know the ins and outs of your partner, helping you both determine the level of compatibility. With this said, isn’t a part of compatibility knowing how your partner addresses problem resolution? Relationships are not perfect, even the best ones had their fair share of issues, but it is how they handled them that determined their success rate.

Some people believe and you might be one of them, that if you profess your concerns, your partner might view you negatively. Now, lets think about this, an issue arises, and you don’t say anything, what do you think will happen? Nothing good, I can tell you that for sure. Just because you don’t talk about an issue, does not mean it will go away, but rather the opposite will happen.

When something is not addressed, it festers inside, and you start to silently resent your partner for something that they might not even be aware of. Wouldn’t you rather take the risk of being open and honest, than letting negative emotions take charge? Plus, if your partner can’t handle open communication, then maybe, they are not the one for you anyway.

To help you on your way to open communication with your partner, I have developed my version of the ABC’s of communication. These are acknowledge, brainstorm, and create.

First, acknowledge that there is a problem; put a name to it, and recognize how it makes you feel. When bringing up the issue to your partner, also acknowledge their feelings. This means talk to, rather than at them. Communication will be more receptive if “I” statements are used. For example, I feel hurt when you are late to all of our dates. You are assigning a feeling to the perceived behavior without being accusatory.

Next, is brainstorm possible solutions to the presented problem. This is assuming that by this step your concern was met with a positive response, such as accepting responsibility for being late. Solutions could be calling ahead of time to prepare you for potential tardiness.

The final step is create a inviting environment for future sharing. This can be done through non-verbals, such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and overall body language.

At the end of the exchange, if progress was made, then show it through a smile or embrace. There is something to be happy about, as a couple, you both conquered a hurdle together. If you take anything away from this, remember, that if someone wants to be with you, they will be willing to work on any issue that arises.

Robin Ennis, LMSW, CPC – www.prominentpathways.org

# 13. Follow the 7 steps below

Amanda Harmon

Who enjoys having conversations about issues in a relationship? Conversations that involve feelings and issues can create confrontation, something most people try to avoid. However, what does avoiding it bring us? Increased anxiety, insecurity and tension?

Some important things to remember when having a conversation with your partner:

1. Don’t talk angry: Having conversations when one or both people are feelings angry is not going to be productive in resolving conflict. Let things cool down so both of you can approach the issues at hand in a positive and productive manner.

2. Highlight the positives: Let your partner know how much they mean to you, and all the great things about your relationship. Starting off in a positive framework sets the tone for how the conversation.

3. I statements: A lot of us will become defensive when we feel attacked, and when someone is coming at us with “you,” as in “You upset me,” “You leave your dirty socks everywhere,” keep things I focused. “It’s hard for me when socks are left around the house,” “I felt upset when…”

4. Clarifying: Repeat back what you heard someone say, to make sure you are understanding correctly. Sometimes we think we are being clear, but someone may not have heard the message you intended to convey. By reflecting back what you heard your partner say, you can show that you have been listening and also resolve any potential miscommunications.

5. Listen: Often when someone is talking, we are listening but preparing our comebacks and responses. Learn to really listen, observe your partner, 90% of communication is non-verbal. Don’t interrupt when someone is talking either!

6. Action steps: Be clear about wanting to work together to come up with a concrete plan about how to resolve it.

7. Highlight the positives: Remind your partner how important they are to you and how helpful having honest and clear communication is.

Even if the result of the communication is not a “win,” talking about your feelings, feeling heard and respected, that is a wonderful feeling for anyone to have in a relationship.

Amanda Harmon, MSW, LCSW – www.aharmonlcsw.com

# 14. Follow the 3 Spiritual Rules for Conscious Conversation

Diana Lang

The most powerful elixir for real love is YOU. To find, keep, and build a lasting love, you just need to be you – your authentic, unadulterated self. This is what I call essence, because it’s really true, nobody can be YOU like you can.

Unfortunately, it is easy to think if we were smarter, thinner, richer or funnier, then a man will love us. Or, if we hide our complaints, our baggage, our pain, our hurts, then he won’t run away. But none of that, I promise you, is what a good relationship is based on.

All the best marriages and longest relationships that you will ever see are the ones where both people can really be themselves. When we are in love, we love who our partners really are. We love how they are, how they think, how they feel. We love their funny little mannerisms and quirks, the way they walk, their crooked smiles, and the way they say our name. We might even love their snoring! Pretty much, when a love is right, we love every little thing about them. And vice versa!

If you want a relationship like that, then you need to go into the relationship like that – by being real. Be you. Tell the truth. Tell him what you like. Tell him what you love. Tell him what you care about, what you dream about, tell him what you’re scared about, too. Share with him your innermost feelings, your doubts and your fears. Let him show up for you. Give him the chance to be there for you, to encourage you and support you. If he is the right man for you, he will want to. He really will.

Love is based on trust. And honest communication is the bridge that builds that trust. Where that line is drawn describes the level of how much real intimacy there can be.

The bottom line is: deep intimacy requires deep trust.

The more you can share your heart with your man, the more he can show up for you. And, if you share these intimate feelings with him and he isn’t interested, then that becomes valuable information too, and will also help you know if he is right for you or not. A good man will want to be there for you. A man that really loves you, wants to get to know you, and wants to know you more and more.

So, be brave, ladies. Take the chance to speak your heart to your guy.

“I like it when…”

“I don’t like it when…”

Tell him. A good man wants to get it right. He wants to be your hero. He wants to share his life with you…TOO.

3 Spiritual Rules for Conscious Conversation

1. Be yourself.

2. Share your heart.

3. Tell the truth.

Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com

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