How To Be More Honest With Your Partner
We all know that honesty is the best policy. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to openly discuss our needs, wants and concerns to someone, even if that someone is our significant other. Of course being honest is something you want to do, but if you're worried about how your partner will react, then it may seem like it's best to just keep your feelings to yourself. The thing is though, is that it's never better to hide your emotions and bottle your feelings up in fear that your partner won't like them. Your partner wants you to be honest with them, and luckily there are ways to be more honest with your significant other.
"Play fair. Strike a balance by not only making your requests, but also asking your partner what you could do to better meet his or her needs," Meredith Silversmith, a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical director of a private couples therapy practice, tells Bustle.
Prioritizing honesty will set the groundwork for a healthy and happy relationship with your partner. If you're wondering how you can be more open with your significant other, here are nine ways to be more honest with your significant other, according to experts.
1. Remember You're On The Same Team
When you're trying to be more honest with your partner, you have to remember that you're in this together and you both want each other to be happy. When discussing your own needs, make sure to ask your partner if there's anything you could do to better meet their needs as well. "The best way to get positive momentum is to have both partners consciously working to honor each others' wishes," Silversmith says. "It feels good to both people and creates motivation to keep it going."
2. Don't Blame Your Partner
No one likes to feel like they're being attacked. When you're bringing up something that's bothering you, own them as your own needs by using "I" statements. "Rather than saying something like, 'You never come to bed with me,' try saying, 'It really makes me feel connected when we go to bed at the same time,'" Silversmith says. "This will help your partner hear you without becoming defensive."
3. Give Them The Benefit Of The Doubt
If your partner does something that rubs you the wrong way, try to keep from getting angry before you actually discuss what happened. Again, you and your partner are on the same team so it's probably pretty likely that they didn't mean to upset you. "Consider that it may have been unintentional and kindly let them know how you experienced it. Using 'I' statements here too can be very helpful," Silversmith says.
4. Set Aside A Good Time To Talk
There's a time and a place for honesty. This isn't to say that you shouldn't always be honest, but if you want to have a deep conversation about your needs or concerns, it's best to set aside a time to do so. Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert, suggests finding a time where your partner is open to talk. "If your partner had a hard day, if your partner was stuck in traffic, if your partner is hungry –– pay attention," Hope says. "Let them settle in and don't hit them with something heavy."
Also, since you know your partner well, Hope suggests putting yourself in their shoes and asking yourself when your partner would be in a good mood to have a deep conversation. Are they usually more open for discussion during dinner? Do they like to go on long walks in the evening with you where you talk about more serious issues? Figure out when they're most open and let them know you want to discuss something with them during that time.
5. Be Honest With Yourself
If you want to be more honest in your relationship, you also need to be more honest with yourself. "You have to stop pretending, stop hiding and live in reality with your true feelings," Hope says. In order to be more honest with yourself, look into a mirror and ask yourself if you're being true to who you are. "If you are not, then you will suffer in two ways –– with regret in yourself, and in your relationship," Hope says. Your feelings are valid, and so if you feel upset or hurt over something, embrace that feeling and speak up about it.
6. Keep It Lighthearted
Just because you're having a deep conversation, doesn't mean you have to be 100 percent serious. "Pepper your words with humor and lightness [and] leave the heaviness outside the door," Hope says. If you express your feelings with a positive energy, you're sure to get a positive reaction in return.
7. Show Them Some Love
Hope suggests beginning every conversation "with a loving, supportive and nurturing opening." Telling your partner about how they make you happy and letting them know what you appreciate about them sets up the conversation as one coming from a place of love, instead of a place of anger. Segue into the discussion of your wants by saying that you have suggestions for how your already wonderful relationship could be even better.
8. Set The Mood
Your partner will be more willing to open up and have a deep, honest conversation with you when they're relaxed, so if you need to talk to them, do it in an environment they're comfortable in. Hope suggests planning a special dinner in a calm setting. "Soften your hearts with good food and a nice atmosphere. Be happy and relaxed, and in gentleness, open up the topic," Hope says. If you're in a calm setting chowing down on some great food, your partner will be more receptive to hearing you out.
9. Look Ahead
If you're worried about bringing something up, try to look ahead and think about your partner having a positive reaction. "Imagine your partner will receive the info well," Hope says. "Then do this exercise –– back track from that point in your imagination and ask your future self how you got there. What worked in this scenario?" Being honest about your wants, needs and emotions can be scary, but if you think ahead about how your partner will be glad you brought it up, it will be less scary to start that conversation.
Being honest with your partner will always benefit you both in the long run. When trying to be more honest in a relationship, just remember that your partner is your teammate and they want to have these conversations with you.
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