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Communication is crucial in any relationship, but expressing your feelings can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or conflict. In a recent video, Dr. Nandi addressed a common concern: communicating your feelings to a partner without them feeling attacked or shutting down. Here's a breakdown of his advice:

Understand Your Role

Expanding on the concept of understanding your role in communication, it's essential to recognize that while you have a responsibility to express your feelings honestly and respectfully, you cannot control or manage your partner's emotional reactions. Each person in a relationship has their own emotional work to do, and healthy conflict resolution requires both parties to participate actively.

This means that while you should communicate your feelings openly and honestly, you cannot take on the burden of managing your partner's emotions or reactions. It's important to set boundaries and recognize that you are not responsible for their emotional well-being. Instead, focus on expressing yourself calmly and clearly, and encourage your partner to do the same. By approaching conflict with a collaborative mindset, you can work together to address issues and strengthen your relationship.

Two men discussing how to express their feelings.
Two men discussing how to express their feelings.

Start Respectfully

Expanding on the importance of starting communication respectfully, it's crucial to avoid criticism or accusatory tones when addressing your partner. Instead, focus on initiating discussions with openness, honesty, and vulnerability. By starting from a place of respect, you create a more conducive environment for healthy dialogue.

When you express your feelings respectfully, you set a positive tone for the conversation. This approach encourages your partner to listen and respond in a non-defensive manner. It also helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts that can arise from a confrontational or aggressive start. Remember, the goal is to communicate your feelings effectively while maintaining a sense of mutual respect and understanding.

Regulate Yourself

Expanding further on the idea of regulating yourself in communication, consider the impact of emotional regulation on the quality of your interactions. When you approach conversations with a calm and controlled demeanor, you set a positive tone for the discussion. This attitude can be contagious, potentially influencing your partner to respond in a more composed and thoughtful manner.

Moreover, regulating yourself allows you to stay focused on the issues at hand. By not letting your emotions take over, you can address the core concerns without getting sidetracked by irrelevant or unproductive arguments. This clarity of thought and expression enhances the effectiveness of your communication, making it easier to convey your feelings and understand your partner's perspective.

Furthermore, emotional regulation demonstrates your commitment to constructive dialogue. It shows that you are willing to engage in a respectful and mature manner, even when discussing challenging topics. This behavior can foster trust and deepen the connection between you and your partner, as it indicates your willingness to work through difficulties together.

Regulating yourself during communication is not just about managing your emotions; it's about creating an environment where healthy and meaningful conversations can take place. By practicing emotional regulation, you can improve the quality of your communication and strengthen your relationship with your partner. You can read these books to help communicate effectively.

4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work--Anywhere.

The Communication Book.

Communicate Your Feelings.

Communication Skills Every Couple Needs.

Encourage Openness

Encouraging openness in communication is fundamental for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship. It involves creating a safe environment where both you and your partner feel comfortable expressing your feelings without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Active listening is crucial in this process, as it shows that you value and respect your partner's perspective. Being empathetic and validating each other's emotions helps build trust and understanding.

Addressing issues promptly is also important. By dealing with conflicts as they arise, you prevent them from escalating into larger problems. This practice, often referred to as keeping "short accounts," helps maintain a harmonious relationship by preventing resentment or distance from building up over time.

Encouraging openness in communication strengthens your relationship by fostering trust, understanding, and a deeper connection with your partner.

A woman expressing her feelings towards the man.
A woman expressing her feelings towards the man.

Set Boundaries

Expanding on setting boundaries in a relationship involves several key steps. Firstly, it's important to identify what behaviors are unacceptable to you. This might include being spoken to disrespectfully, being ignored or dismissed, or having your feelings invalidated. Once you've identified these behaviors, communicate them clearly to your partner.

When setting boundaries, it's crucial to be assertive but respectful. Use "I" statements to express how you feel and what you need. For example, instead of saying, "You always ignore me," you could say, "I feel hurt when I'm ignored. I need us to communicate openly and respectfully."

Consistency is also key in maintaining boundaries. If your partner crosses a boundary, calmly remind them of the boundary you've set and the consequences if it's crossed again. For example, "I've asked you not to raise your voice at me. If you continue to do so, I will need to take a break from this conversation."

It's important to remember that setting boundaries is not about controlling your partner but about taking care of yourself and your emotional well-being. Boundaries help create a healthy dynamic in a relationship where both partners feel respected and understood.

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Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

How can I express my feelings to my partner without causing conflict?

To express your feelings without conflict, start by regulating your emotions and communicating calmly. Avoid blaming or accusing your partner and instead focus on sharing your perspective and emotions honestly.

What should I do if my partner shuts down when I try to communicate my feelings?

If your partner shuts down during communication, give them space but also express your willingness to talk when they're ready. Encourage them to share their feelings and assure them that you're open to understanding their perspective.

How can I create a safe space for open communication in my relationship?

Creating a safe space for communication involves listening actively, avoiding judgment, and validating your partner's feelings. Establishing trust and mutual respect is key to fostering open and healthy communication.


When it comes to communicating your feelings, it's crucial to remember that you can control your communication style but not how your partner reacts. Concentrate on expressing yourself honestly and respectfully, fostering open and healthy communication in your relationship.