According to communication researchers, in an article published in "Human Communication Research," hurt feelings are common in romantic relationships. Your partner is probably unaware of the damage he is causing, not only to your self-esteem, but also to your relationship. It is important to communicate how you feel to your significant other in order for the relationship to blossom and grow.
Loving confrontation is the best medicine for relationships. It sets the tone of trust: “I trust you enough to be honest and truthful.” When being confrontational, one may feel that you are being difficult or mean, but remember your feelings are important and matter, too. Tell your partner that you have a hard time standing up for yourself and that it is hard for you to open up sometimes. If it is easier for you to communicate without speaking, you may want to begin with writing a letter or sending an email. Either way, communicate how you feel.
Give each other 30 minutes each day when you get home or before you go to bed, if you live together, to have a “safe zone” to speak openly and freely. This is the best place to “vent.” Releasing your emotions in a “safe zone” ensures that you are preventing your hurt feelings from building up, which can later lead to anger and resentment. Feelings building up can cause you to transform into "The Hulk," saying “You are making me angry,” and blowing up at your partner.
From the beginning of a relationship, you send out signals teaching your partner how to treat you. If your partner leaves a cup on the coffee table or the toilet seat up and you clean up after him, you are setting the tone of the relationship. Your partner will expect you to continue what you started. So, if your partner is saying hurtful things, such as “You can be very dingy sometimes” or “You could lose ten pounds,” do not let it slide, set healthy boundaries by assertively telling him not to speak to you that way.
Have confidence in your ability to identify what is healthy and unhealthy. Know that he may have a hard time acknowledging how he's hurting you, but trust yourself to know what is right and wrong. You may feel uncertain during this time because you are standing up for yourself and making changes. For change to transform, you must trust the process.
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Ashley Rose completed her B.S. in Human Services and M. S. in Cummunity Counseling from Mercer University. While attending the counseling program, she did most of her research on spirituality and women’s issues. For the past eight years, she has been a social worker and counselor.
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