Honesty is so important in any successful relationship, as there needs to be a level of trust and openness in communication for a partnership to work, long-term. However, you shouldn't share feelings with your partner under certain conditions, as it could backfire, leading to an argument or even a break up. By reading the situation better to understand when to say things and when to wait for a more opportune moment (or even just to let it slide, if it wasn't really a big issue), can help you maintain a more positive relationship.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling happier and more fulfilled in their relationships, and that usually needs proper communication and emotional trust. Yet, sometimes you need to cut your partner some slack (was forgetting to take out the trash really such a big deal, after all?), or know when to hold off on divulging into your feelings, as it could make the situation worse. Sure, you can always open up at a later time if you feel necessary, but getting a handle on the situation before speaking freely can help you and your partner connect better moving forward. Here are 9 moments where you should keep quiet.
1. When You're Feeling Extremely Angry
"Most fights happen when people are riled up, usually triggered by some comment or action of their partner. Many people think these emotionally charged moments are ideal for releasing feelings, but the opposite is true," explains relationship expert Jonathan Bennett over email with Bustle. "Sure, the feelings come out, but they do so in anger. This isn’t a constructive way to communicate with your partner," Bennett adds. Instead, stay calm and agree to share openly once things have cooled down.
2. When You're Drunk
If you've been knocking back margs, don't speak too freely without taking a second to think about what you're trying to communicate. "A lot of people only open up when they’re drinking. However, holding in your feelings only to release them due to liquid courage isn’t a healthy way to share your feelings," says Bennett. "Not only will your feelings come out in a drunken mess of words and other emotions, but most people aren’t going to take what you say while drinking as your authentic feelings," Bennett warns.
3. When You're Stressed AF
If you have a bad day at work or you’re in any stressful situation, you might want to hold off on sharing your feelings with your partner. "If you’re agitated and annoyed by outside forces, it’s too tempting to let those feelings cloud your conversation with your partner," Bennett cautions. Instead, wait until a time when you're in a better mood and have less anxiety.
4. When Your Partner Is Clearly Busy
If your partner is working under a tight deadline or is in a bad mood, chances are he or she doesn't want to deal with your feelings. "Simply asking, 'Is now a good time? I have something that I'd like to speak about with you' could help," explains Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, clinical relationship counselor, over email with Bustle. "The act of asking for an appointment to speak will make sure that the person is ready to listen and receive what you have to say. Just that one tip will make a huge difference in how the conversation will go," Slatkin adds.
5. When There Are Unresolved Issues With Your Ex
If you're feeling emotional about things that don't concern your partner and have to do with previous relationships, go vent to a friend, family member, or into a journal for self-reflection, instead. "Your current feelings are the baggage you've not resolved. And your current partner has nothing to do with what your ex did to you, yet you are making him pay for what another person did," says Psychotherapist & Celebrity Coach, Karolina Pasko, over email with Bustle.
6. When You Have Selfish Intentions
If you're simply wanting attention or are in a bad mood and want to make someone feel worse in order to feel better, don't open up and find a healthier way to cope. "When women want attention yet don't know how to ask for it, they tend to sabotage a relationship to cause a fight. Asking for attention requires vulnerability, starting a fight requires cowardliness," says Pasko.
7. When There's No Clarity Around the "Why"
If you don't know why you're feeling something, but just want to go in circles, your partner might not be the best outlet. "Women tend to talk to connect and build relationships. Men talk to find solutions," says Pasko. "Sometimes women start talking to get clarity around their feeling, which is confusing and overwhelming for men. They can't follow your hiking trail," Pasko adds. Instead, go to them in search for solutions and actionable steps.
8. When Your Partner's Talking
If your partner is in the middle of sharing his or her feelings, be attentive and don't try and steal spotlight. "Talking about your feelings when your partner is trying to talk about their feelings is often a defense move on your part and can make your partner resentful overtime," says Paul DePompo, Psy.D., ABPP over email with Bustle.
9. When You're Wrong
We're all wrong from time to time. If you're wrong, own up to it, instead of trying to make your partner excessively care about your feelings. "If you are wrong in an argument, it is way more important to own it and show your empathy for how it impacted the other person," says DePompo. "Talking about your feelings here (first) would negate the apology and seem like you are making an excuse," DePompo explains.
If you're doing any of these mistakes in your relationship, you might want to dial back the dialogue (on your end) and work on being more present for your partner's feelings or the situation, instead. These two factors are just as important as whatever you have going on.