- How to identify your feelings
How do we know what we’re feeling and why? This is particularly challenging when we are experiencing new feelings and emotions. However, it is important to take a bit of time to with yourself to understand why you are getting so excited, happy or upset.
If your partner does something that upsets you, pause and think about what exactly happened that upset you and why it makes you feel angry/sad/hurt etc. The better you understand the situation and your feelings, the better you are able to communicate it to someone else.
This is important because if you can’t express what made you upset and why, its impossible to try to learn from the situation or do things different in the future.
How to talk about your feelings with a partner
Identifying your feelings can be challenging. But sharing these feelings can also feel uncomfortable – which is perfectly normal. But the more you practice sharing your feelings, the easier and more natural it will become. Start by sharing your feelings on a neutral topic, or mention how you feel about a friend or family member. And it’s okay to make it fun!
‘I really love my mum – and the way she expresses her love by feeding me great food!’
This shows your partner that you’re open to sharing your feelings – and that you are also open to them sharing their own feelings.
How to tell your partner when you are happy
It’s often easy to express yourself when you are angry with your partner. But you shouldn’t forget to share when you’re pleased about something they’ve done.
Everyone likes to hear positive things and compliments, so make sure you can express your appreciation for the little things on a day-to-day level.
To make it easier, try to spill the explanation into three parts:
- State your emotion.
- What was the action that made you have the emotion?
- Why did this action make you happy?
‘It made me feel really special when you introduced as me as your boyfriend to your parents. It me know we are serious.’
‘I’m really happy today because we were able to spend time together and I got to know more about you.’
Telling your partner you’re in love with them
When we fall in love with someone, it can be tricky to express these emotions – in particular, when we’ve never felt this way before, or do not know how the partner will respond.
If you’re developing strong emotions for your partner but are still unsure if you are totally in love, you can still let them know you are heading that way.
‘I just wanted you to know that I think you are great and that I am falling in love with you.’
Or if you’re past this stage and feel that you’ve definitely fallen in love, chose a time when it’s just the two of you. It’s best not to tell them straight after sex, as they might think you’re confusing sex with love. Instead go for a walk or return to a favourite hang-out – without people or distractions. Then you try saying something like:
‘I am really enjoying being with you and you make me very happy. You’re such a great person and I‘m in love with you.’
If you are on the receiving end, don’t feel obliged to say ‘I love you’ back – especially if you don’t feel ready. Be honest and say you really like what’s happening, but that you’re not quite at that point yet. Your partner may not like this, but it’s better than lying to them and yourself about how you feel.
- Listening to your partner’s feelings
Sharing your feelings is just half the story. As part of a couple, you also have to listen to your partner about their feelings. And this may be particularly hard if you’ve never been in a relationship before.
We often question whether our partner loves us or not. But if we don’t share our feeling we can’t expect them to do any different. So why not make the first move? Words can mean as much as actions, such as making love or giving gifts. Then give your partner space to speak. Listening to your partner is a time to be fully in the moment, so switch off that mobile phone, look them in the eyes and try to patiently understand what they’re telling you.
How to respond to each other's expression of feelings
When your partner chooses to share their in-depth emotions with you, listen and repeat back your partner's feelings in your own words – letting them know you understood what you just heard. If your partner states something has made them sad or angry, ask if they want advice on how to solve the problem. They may say no, and if so respect that and later find a calmer time to discuss the situation.
Also, don’t be in a hurry to shut your partner up when they are sharing their emotions or feelings. That may jeopardise the entire effort. Oftentimes people get very uncomfortable with so many words and feeling emerging that they want to just end it all and hurry the process up. This can be quite insulting to your partner who too is mustering up a lot of effort to share their feelings with you. Make sure that when you decide to listen, you given them your full attention for as long as they want to share.
Expect to make mistakes
Learn from your mistakes. These should be seen as opportunities to learn more about yourself and your partner. And as you learn more about each other's feelings, you will develop a deeper, more intimate relationship.
By learning the above steps, you’ll hopefully come to feel more emotionally connected with your partner. Besides providing healing and comfort, it can also have an amazing effect on your sexual intimacy. Yowza!