Time for another ask an expert blog!!
Question: How do I tell my partner if I am unhappy?
“Answer: Being able to communicate well with your partner is very important. If you are able to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs to your partner, you will feel better about yourself and are more likely to have a satisfying relationship.
First of all, it helps to know that every relationship has its tough spots, and even couples that seem perfect to an outsider may have underlying issues. What makes a relationship healthy is being able to work through those issues in a way that is respectful to the feelings of both partners.
When something doesn’t feel right or isn’t going well, it can be tough to bring it up. Start by finding a time and space when you two can be alone without interruptions. If it feels natural, you might want to ease into the conversation by starting with something positive, such as something you like about your partner. But don’t wait too long to bring up what is on your mind.
Be direct and focus on your perspective and how you feel. Let’s say you want to spend more time with your partner, but he always seems to be busy with his friends. Instead of saying, “You’re so rude. You never invite me out,” say, “I feel left out when you don’t invite me out with your friends.” Or to start with something positive, say, “I like it when you text me when you are out, but when you don’t invite me out with you, I sometimes feel left out.”
Discussing things in this way can help you avoid some common mistakes like put-downs or attacking your partner’s character. Put-downs are things like name calling and insults. Attacking your partner’s character is generalizing blame (“You never…”, “You always…”), instead of talking about something specific. If you find yourself or your partner using put downs or getting caught up in anger, it’s best to pause, take a time out, and finish talking when you have calmed down.
Give your partner a chance to talk about her perspective. Part of being a good communicator is being an active listener. In other words, don’t just hear what your partner says, but you try to understand what she is saying.
If you try to work through a problem with your partner, and you just can’t, that isn’t necessarily bad. It could mean that the two of you aren’t right for each other or that this is not the right time for you to be together. If your partner verbally puts you down, tries to manipulate you, forces you do anything sexually that you don’t want to, or physically hurts you in any way, these are all forms of abuse. In these cases, sometimes the healthiest decision is to end the relationship.
Whatever it is that is on your mind, your partner won’t know unless you tell her. Having tough conversations in relationships takes practice, but it gets easier over time.
How Can We Communicate Better?
Myths about Intimate Partner Violence in the LGBTQIA Community”
In our “Ask an Expert” blog series, researchers from the IMPACT Program answer questions from LGBTQ youth. This month’s expert is Dr. Brian Mustanski, director of the IMPACT Program and a licensed clinical psychologist.
Featured image credit: By Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team from Germany (IMG_26671) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.