Even if you want to feel more closely connected, you may find it difficult revealing yourself to your partner. You may be afraid to speak up and let your feelings be known for fear of hurting his or her feelings. Or you may fear a lack of acceptance or approval from you partner.

If you don’t express yourself openly, you may succeed in keeping your relationship on an even keel, but it can come at a personal cost.

Learning how to tolerate the discomfort you may feel in sharing your most intimate thoughts with your partner requires skill. But like any new skill, it takes knowledge and lots of practice.

So here’s where you can begin:

  1. Develop the courage to say what you feel — regardless of the reaction you may get from your partner. (Speak calmly, from the heart, and avoid blaming him or her for the way you feel.)
  2. Learn to self-regulate your anxieties. Practice some deep-breathing techniques (Andrew Weill’s CD entitled “The Master Key to Self Healing” is worth reading); meditate; move away from the scene temporarily (go into another room); go out for a walk; take a warm bath — anything that will help you calm yourself down.
  3. When your partner doesn’t give you the reaction you had hoped for, or if he/she is not “available” to you (withdraws, shows disapproval, anger, pouts etc.), learn to self-validate. Rely on your own inner resources and get on with your day. You can always try again later.

This article was written by Louise Dorfman and David Rubinstein Copyright © Couple Enrichment 2000-2019. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to reprint this article, please contact us for permission.