No matter how good your relationship may feel now, you will only be able to build a lasting and fulfilling partnership if you can communicate your feelings to your boyfriend. You talk to him about his day, sports and even intimate activities like making love. But whenever you start talking about your feelings, his eyes glaze over and you can tell he is not listening. Some of it is his fault, but he is also likely responding to the way that you are communicating your feelings to him. Keep these pointers in mind when you talk to him about your feelings and you will move closer to the intimate relationship that you crave.
1. Timing is Everything
Your boyfriend will hear how you really feel only if you choose the right time to open up to him. That time is probably not going to be as soon as you have the thought or feeling, says Robert Leahy, Ph.D., in “Relationship Communication: How to Talk So That Your Partner Will Listen.” Instead, make a point of planning meaningful discussions when there will be no distractions. Choose a lazy Saturday afternoon or early evening just after dinner when nothing is planned. If you start and he is still not listening, then ask if there is a better time for you to talk about it.
2. Don’t Blurt It Out
Once you have the right time, be sure to think about what you want to say. Do not give him the long version. Edit what you say down to the key feelings that you want to communicate. Before talking, communicate your time expectations by saying something like “I want to talk to you about something for ten minutes.” Also, pause and ask for feedback not long after you start talking. He will respond better if he sees that the communication is two-way.
3. Be Vulnerable
You may be apprehensive about exposing yourself emotionally to your boyfriend; but it is the only way that you can effectively communicate your feelings to him. Vulnerability is the key to forming strong relationships with others, stresses Karen Lawson, M.D., in “Work on Communication For Healthy Relationships." When you talk about your feelings, don’t be afraid to cry. Be emotional when you tell him that you need him to understand. He is more likely to listen and the experience will bring you closer.
4. Don’t Attack Him
There will likely be times when he has contributed to feelings that are not positive. One of the most common attacks is the “you” attack, points out Gary McKay, Ph.D., and Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Ph.D., in “Expressing Your Feelings in Relationships.” “It’s your fault that…” is a common opener. Instead of using “you” to open sentences, start sentences with “I feel…”. Accusing him by starting with “you” will make him defensive. He will never hear you if he is taking a defensive posture.
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