How to Express Your Feelings In Romantic Relationships
In this article I will describe how to talk about feelings with your romantic partner. How to express yourself in relationships and become emotionally available if you are not naturally open with your feelings.
Many men hire me after their wife has complained several times about them being emotionally shut off and want to separate. They come to me because they want to learn how to start expressing their feelings, to share their emotions and meet their wives emotional intimacy needs.
It’s not always men however, I also have women contact me because they want to know how to talk about their feelings in their relationships. Many say to me that they want to express feelings in their marriage because they know that they are hiding their feelings in their relationship and they no longer want to be not themselves. They book a series of sessions with me where we talk through how to express yourself more freely and I get them to practice with me. There are two parts to this article series on how to express feelings in romantic relationships one how to get in touch with your feelings and two how to have the conversation with someone close to you.
When one or both in a marriage bottle up their feelings, over time it will do significant damage to the relationship. Because when we hold things in that bother us, resentment builds up and builds up until a person explodes and does or says something extremely detrimental to the marriage. So learning how to express your feelings is key.
In fact over 50% of the people who come to me for anger management counselling have been bottling everything up for years and then like a pressure cooker find themselves exploding and blowing their top off. They get so worked up they shock those around them and themselves. Others that come for anger management treatment do so because they are constantly angry and they too can also benefit from learning to tap into expressing their true feelings and emotions beneath and besides anger. As often anger is a mask, so whilst people with anger often believe they are expressing themselves daily every day time they get angry, they aren’t, as what lies beneath the anger is hurt, regret, disappointment, fear and anxiety. This is not expressed only anger is and so the relationship is full of aggression and conflict where differences do not get resolved because the real issues are not being expressed and dealt with, if that makes sense?
So I am going to give you a few of the tips that I share with those who hire me to have happier and healthier relationships. As expressing feelings in a safe way can lead to feeling closer and benefits therefore benefits the relationship; especially when you express love, appreciation, joy, admiration and kindness. If you’re someone who is used to holding your emotions in then you are probably reading thinking yes Nicola, this is easier said than done so I hope this helps you do get in touch with me if you have any questions.
How to Express and Talk About Your Feelings In Relationships
1 Go Within First
It is important before you express your feelings to create some time to pause and go within. Sit quietly somewhere for a few minutes and ask yourself “what am I really feeling” and “where do I feel this in my body.”
2, Acknowledge Your Feelings By Stating
The most reliable way to express your feelings is to say “I feel…” Filling in the blank then with a feeling-word, that is, a word such as confused, hurt, worried. If you’re having trouble identifying the feeling then you can connect with me on my facebook page or group or find me on instagram @nicolabeer1 and I will send you a list of 250 feeling words.
There are some words which are feeling words and some words which are more perceptions and judgments than actual feelings. For example I feel hurt, sad, angry, scared, lonely, worried, fearful are all feeling words.
Whereas I feel betrayed, abandoned, rejected, humiliated, isolated are all beliefs. Each of these are perceptions and judgments. These judgements keep us caught in our story, caught in the drama as they are all a subtle form of blame or passive aggressiveness. When we are not expressing our true emotions and when we are instead blaming or being passive aggressive in our feelings, the feelings stay. We need to stop blaming to fully let go of the anger, hurt and fear. David Richo talks about this in his book how to be an adult, it’s an amazing book one of my top 3 favourite books. He also says something super interesting about Anger, which after I read it I notice it in my own life and of those I help. That is that behind anger, once anger is let out and expressed is gutted sorrow. A deep sorrow, behind it. So often when the anger releases we are deeply hurt or in grieving.
Avoid: “I Feel That…”
The most common mistake that people often make when they are trying to share a feeling is to say “I feel that … ” The word that indicates that what will follow is going to be a thought, not a feeling.
For example “I feel that we should go to bed at the same time”
Is completely different to ” I feel frustrated when we go to bed at different times at night”
The former is a statement that may not get much empathy or spark a change in the behaviour, the second one is far more powerful as it gives insight into how that person is really feeling.
Another example I hear in my marriage counseling in Dubai or online is
“I feel that you are angry with me.”
This is actually a perception, which more accurately stated would be:
“I see you are angry with me”
A better way to express feelings would be:
“I see you are angry with me therefore I feel….” scared, sad, confused, hurt and angry.
Does that make sense?
When we say “I feel that” we state instead a thought, belief or perception not an actual feeling.
Thoughts are useful to share as well but feelings also need to be expressed to be fully understood. Thoughts convey dry information, not the real feelings and truth of what you are experiencing within, so relationships definitely become closer when couples share feelings, as they connect people more. Sharing thoughts does not unite a couple in the same way. Emotional connection is where you look inside and express your inner feelings; like hopeful, pleased, wary, discouraged, etc.
Learning to distinguish your thoughts from your feelings is a very important step in your growth. As mentioned if you would like a list of over 250 feeling words from me contact through facebook or instagram @nicolabeer1
One husband I worked with who won back his wife’s love after they separated and stopped divorce; really studied feeling words and was able to communicate with his wife on a level they never had before.
However he did want to interrupt and stop his wife when she was saying “I feel that…”
I advised him that he had to let that go and unless she too wanted to learn more about how to express feelings in their relationship, it would not help their communication or the relationship. As this is being critical. This information I am sharing on how to expressing your feelings is for your own reflection, growth and development.
Bottom line avoid stating beliefs, perceptions, judgments and thoughts instead of feelings as they don’t really help the conversation and connection as much as expressing true feelings do.
Don’t Say: You Make Me Feel
When learning how to express your feelings and be a more open person, the most common mistake a lot of men and women make is to say:
“You make me feel…”
“You make me feel …!” is one of the phrases that, is never a good idea which is why as a couples counsellor I always go through communication tips and ways to communicate effectively before a joint session, so that couples become closer and don’t move even further apart.
As saying “You make me feel…”
Can come across as an accusation, a statement of blame rather than a statement of feelings.
Imagine for a moment I say to you…
You make me feel upset
You make me feel unattractive
You make me feel scared
It invites antagonism, defensiveness and retaliation from you right.
Whereas if I said to you…
I feel upset
I feel unattractive
I feel scared
Then it is more likely you are going to have empathy, compassion and concern for me and hopefully will want to help.
So when I am doing couple counseling in Dubai and online I explain that it’s far better for the relationship to say I feel and to avoid the “you make me feel”
The other problem with saying “you make me feel” is it takes all your power way. As it turns you into a victim without any control. As you are basically saying to yourself that you are stuck with your feelings unless they change and therefore are not taking responsibility for your own feelings.
You make me feel statements can also induce guilt or shame in a partner. Saying you make me feel this, can be like saying I want to punish you for this; it’s your fault I am feeling this way and I want you to feel bad.
This is not helpful because generally one person alone does not make another feel anything. As it is always a combination of what one person says (or does) AND the other person’s interpretation of the words or actions, if that makes sense?
It’s the meaning you give it. For example, if you try to make me laugh by making a sarcastic joke, I might respond with mild amusement or with annoyance, or frustration, or with affection. Depending on my own filters of whether I like you at that moment, I find sarcasm funny and the mood I am in that day.
It’s the combination of what someone says or does and what you bring to the situation in terms of your way of viewing it and how you are feeling.
I hope part one in how to talk about your feelings with your romantic partner has been useful do read part two where I talk how to lead conversations with your partner, so you can open up fully.
If you have any questions on couples counselling in Dubai or online, do not hesitate to contact me directly on my email email@example.com
To listen to my podcast episodes for more help you can also visit
Or to book a free couples therapy session with me click on this link https://nicolabeer.as.me/?appointmentType=1704473
Nicola Beer offers counseling in Dubai and online, couples therapy and hypnotherapy in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and online. Many travel in from Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Doha Qatar, Muscat Oman and London UK for weekend retreats and counselling 1 to 2 VIP days. To find out more contact +971 50 94 54 233 on whats app or email firstname.lastname@example.org