Expressing yourself in a relationship in simple terms means communicating clearly with your partner. We all have heard that communication is a key to any relationship. It sounds filmy but it is true and necessary indeed. We all accept it is a key part of our relationships but sometimes we just don’t know what actually communication involves. And if we don’t know how to use this key, then we’ll never be able to open the door to a healthy relationship.
To be a great communicator and for effectively expressing yourself in a relationship, you should be a great talker as well as a great listener. If we don’t listen, then we will not be able to talk. Communication in a relationship means healthily expressing yourself in a relationship, to share your thoughts and needs with your partner.
Communication is directly proportional to the bond. This means better communication, stronger bonds, and lesser communication, weaker bonds.
I knew a couple who were in a relationship with one another for three and a half years. Then suddenly, due to some misunderstandings, they started conversing with each passing day. Meanwhile, the guy told his girlfriend that he wants to break up. She agreed and didn’t even ask for a reason. And they parted away. This example clearly shows that not expressing yourself in a relationship can end something beautiful, and hence it should be an inevitable part of being together.
8 simple ways of expressing yourself in a relationship
1. Try not to ask closed-ended questions:
Expressing yourself in a relationship is not just about talking about each other’s days and discussing the menu for lunch and dinner. It’s about being able to know the person as deeply as you can. It’s not always easy to know your partner deeply, especially when they are not much expressive about their feelings and thoughts.
There is a simple way to do this without pressuring your partner. As John Maxwell has noted, “Look at questions as keys on a key ring. Questions unlock doors. The bigger your key ring and the more keys you have, the more doors you can unlock.” Instead of asking closed-ended questions like, “Did you have a good day”? Try asking open-ended questions like “How was your day”?
They may reply briefly, but open-ended questions will give them a chance to express themselves. If they answer properly, you will get a chance to express yourself as well. And once you get a chance, express yourself in a respectful manner so that they can understand you.
Truly, it is one of the best-tested methods of not just expressing yourself in a relationship but also getting your partner to express.
2. Get the cues:
Communication is not just about words, but also how we use them. Our tone expresses more than our words can express. Expressing is also about hearing what isn’t said. Sometimes your partner will reply, “my day was good” but they actually don’t mean it. Their tone might sound frustrated, upset, or irritated. And this is a cue.
They want to express what they’re feeling but are not able to express it. Observe your partner’s expressions- are they making eye contact, are they avoiding answering the question, etc. to get more such cues. Attitude and body language also help to understand those nonverbal cues. And it is a skill. If you understand their cues, you should ask them more related questions.
Keeping a check on cues is one of the best ways of expressing yourself in a relationship, one that simply means you’re willing to invest in one another than just soaking in the joys of partnership.
3. Don’t try to be a mind reader:
Everyone is not skillful enough to get the cues. And if you’re getting cues, then also try to ask them. If you are the one who is expecting your partner to read your mind, then appreciate them for making efforts to ask you what’s going on in your head and not avoiding the issue. They’re trying to listen to your silence. Try your best to express yourself in a relationship.
If you’re saying you’re okay when you are actually not and then get mad at your partner for not understanding and figuring out the issue is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Be honest about your feelings. Instead of expressing in a subtle way, try to be frank with your partner because great relationships are based on clarity, not mind-reading.
It’s best when we know each other so well that we can read each other’s minds. But it is a human tendency to make mistakes, so directly expressing yourself in a relationship is much better. It is important for both to be patient with each other.
4. Don’t be self-centered:
While expressing yourself in a relationship, observe how many times you are using the words “I” or “you.” Conversations are a two-way street. If the conversation is mostly about yourself, it is not really a conversation. Ask questions to your partner. Give them a chance to speak. And if you are using “you” a lot, then it seems you are pointing them out or blaming them.
In a relationship, both should have equal standing. Both partners should listen and should get a chance to express themselves. If your partner is leading conversations then you should tell them that you are not getting a chance to speak. Sometimes they are not aware that they are dominating; it is unintentional but requires speaking out.
5. Make them aware of your needs:
Sometimes we just want our partners to support us. Other times, we want advice. As we said before, mistakes and misunderstandings are human tendencies, so it is necessary to clarify what you need from your partner at a particular moment in your life.
Sometimes direct expression from one side can avoid future disagreements. It means you should be clearly expressing yourself in a relationship. Make them aware of your needs before the time so that they could be mentally prepared. This would also prevent miscommunication.
6. Be a good listener:
If you want your partner to listen during conversation or arguments, you have to give them that same respect. The biggest expression problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to replies. Instead of just waiting for your turn to put your view forward, listen to them actively. It will help expressing yourself in a relationship more explicitly. Active listening means:
- Putting all your work aside and giving total attention to your partner
- Maintain eye contact
- Repeat what they’ve said to make you understand
- Wherever you need clarification, ask for it. It will avoid misunderstandings
- Try putting yourself in the same situation in which your partner was
- Don’t mess with the topics of conversations
7. Avoid anger:
Express yourself in a relationship necessitates keeping away from anger at any cost. Anger causes more chaos and leads to miscommunication with your partner. Your anger will trigger defensive reactions in them.
Let’s face it, no one likes to be yelled at after a long, hard-working day. Try to understand them. Behave politely and lovingly even if you are in disagreement. When you both are calm, discuss the problem. Explosive arguments will only cause destruction. So prefer to have polite discussions. Tell them to think logically with a calm mind.
Yelling triggers the fight and makes us overreact because we are threatened. Anger builds nothing but it can destroy everything. That’s why a calm, polite and soothing tone is better. Your partner will be more open and willingly listen to you as well as they will express their points.
8. Share your secrets:
Tell each other your secrets. Sharing a secret is not just a simple act of expressing yourself in a relationship but it is a step to create a stronger bond with someone. It is a way to tell your partner that you genuinely trust them. We never share our secrets with just anyone. A secret keeper is one who we trust blindly, one who we love wholeheartedly, and one for who we genuinely care. It will create an inner circle of just you two.
Some are not able to trust anyone blindly that they can share their secrets, but once you share your secrets, they will realize the trust you have in them. They will be confident to share their secrets too. It only paves the way for expressing yourself in a relationship.
Nowadays expression issues are rare because of social media. It is not always a good sign. The use of social media by couples in a long-distance relationship makes sense but couples who are able to meet and still opt for social media as a way to express their feelings and thoughts are not appropriate. Sometimes couples chat for almost the whole day. This is called over-communication.
If you are someone who over-communicates, try to stop yourself. After some time, your partner might get annoyed, making you feel neglected and ignored. This will result in less interest from your partner. Couples who over-communicate do not last long. It’s all about expressing yourself in a relationship, not over-expressing. Conversations should be on mutual topics that both of you can enjoy.
At the end of the day, expressing yourself in a relationship should give you the freedom to be yourself and also feel light. Don’t clog your heart and mind with thoughts.
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