If you've been with your partner for a while, there's a good chance you aren't saying things out loud that
they really need to hear. It's easy to assume, for example, that your partner knows what you're thinking or how you're feeling. And yet it's so important to remember that, however close you are, you still need to keep each other in the loop.
This might include saying how much you love them, what you appreciate about them, or even talking about things that make you upset. Regardless of whether it's good or bad, your partner will benefit from hearing exactly what's on your mind.
"We don't say these things as often as we should,"
therapist Jordan Madison, LGMFT, tells Bustle. "After being in a relationship for a while, some [partners] start to assume they don't have to say things like this anymore because it is already known. Other times, partners may take [each other] for granted, forgetting [that] a compliment or display of affection can go a long way [in making] them feel good about the relationship."
But if you want to
maintain a close connection, and ensure your partner knows exactly what's up, openness and honesty should always be a top priority. With that in mind, here are a few things your partner may be itching to hear, according to experts.
While it might seem like you're doing your partner a favor by keeping stressful thoughts to yourself, so much good can come from getting it all off your chest and
being honest about how you feel.
"Your partner wants to hear how you're doing, especially if you've had a bad day," Madison says. "Telling them [...] shows you trust them and can be vulnerable with them. It can also make them feel needed [and that] you see them as your partner in other aspects in your life — besides just the relationship."
If you don't already, make a point of letting your partner know just how much you appreciate what they do — including the small things that are so easy to gloss over.
"When you take the time to
truly thank someone, whether for everything or for a specific thing, it gives a validation," psychotherapist Judi Cinéas, LCSW, PhD, tells Bustle. "It reassures them that you are noticing their investment and also encourages the person to continue doing what they do. Gratitude is priceless."
Whether you're going through tough times, or just everyday life, "make sure [...] your partner knows that you have their back," Dr. Cinéas says. "This is particularly important when they undertake new or major projects or changes. Make sure
they feel supported."
"I'm Really Mad Right Now"
While it can be tempting to sweep tricky emotions under the rug, your partner wants to know if you're upset. And that's because holding it in "will only cause more problems over time," relationship expert and
spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. "It is better to choose your words carefully and tell your partner you need to talk to them about what is bothering you."
This will save them from having to guess what's wrong, and will also help prevent deeper resentments from forming, which will only drive a wedge between you.
"These three little words can make a huge difference in your relationship,"
psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, LMFT, PhD, tells Bustle. "If you ask for the whole story before reacting, you can respond thoughtfully, and really understand what your partner means," which can come in handy during arguments.
But it's also a great way to show your interest in their everyday life. By asking your partner to tell you more about whatever they're thinking or saying, it'll
show you're truly listening, as well as how much you care.
It can be tough to admit when you're wrong and
offer your partner a true apology. But sometimes, that's just what they need to hear.
"When you let your guard down and show your partner that you are willing to accept responsibility for what concerns them, even if just taking a sliver of responsibility, you show your partner that they matter to you,"
licensed psychologist Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, tells Bustle.
"Often in couples people can get to the point where they think they know what their partner needs, without first checking in with them,"
therapist Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, PMH-C, tells Bustle.
But since that's rarely ever the case, you should get into the habit of asking. As McBain says, "Simply asking what they need and how you can help them can leave your partner feeling heard, supported, and respected by you."
If you don't already, make a point of telling your partner just how awesome you think they are. And try to include all the little details.
"You love and admire your partner, but do you tell them
why you feel this way? Are you specific about why you admire them? You might assume that they already know that they’re [awesome]," Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "But they still need to hear it — more than once."
"This Made Me Think Of You"
"When [you're] in a relationship [you] tend to think about the other person a lot of the time,"
relationship expert Amy North, tells Bustle. But how often do you actually let your partner know when they cross your mind?
If you're walking down the street and see something that makes you think of them, send a quick text. Whether you send them a cool photo, or remind them of an inside joke, North says they'll truly appreciate knowing you thought of them, even when they aren't around.
It's always nice when the important people in your life take notice of small accomplishments or ways you've improved. So go ahead and
be that person for your partner, as often as possible.
"Partners might like to hear that you notice how they have changed for the better,"
licensed psychotherapist Shirin Peykar, LMFT, tells Bustle. "By saying this, you are showing you are attentive to their efforts and that makes people feel good and want to do more."
"What Are Your Goals Right Now?"
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"[They] might like to hear that you care to know about their dreams, goals, and aspirations," Peykar says. "This shows interest in your partner and can help initiate a conversation about how [you can]
support one another in attaining [your] goals."
You might ask what they're currently reading, what their goals are, or where they see their career heading in the next five years — anything to show your interest and support.
After all, it can be so easy to fall into a comfortable rut where you don't share your thoughts, or point out
how much your partner means to you. So from now on, don't be afraid to say what you're thinking, especially since there's a good chance it's exactly what your partner needs to hear.