One of the many pleasures of being in a relationship is that you always have someone to turn to when you’re having a particularly horrible day or even when you’ve just received some fantastic news. They can alleviate your pain and share in your happiness.
However, if your partner doesn’t show you the same openness, you may become dissatisfied with them – especially if you love being emotionally expressive. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help your partner feel more comfortable being intimate with you.
Here are some expert tips for helping your partner open up and share their feelings with you.
1. Tell your partner how you feel.
While you may believe that your partner knows that they aren’t being open with you, it’s also possible that they simply believe their behavior and actions are appropriate for the relationship.
Bring up what you see them doing (or not doing) in a non-judgmental and loving manner by striking up a conversation regarding their difficulty with opening up.
To give them a better understanding of what you genuinely want from them, bring up previous circumstances where you would have liked for them more emotionally responsive than they were at the time. Just be cautious and avoid playing the “blame game”.
2. Make an effort to understand their upbringing.
If you and your partner have discussed each other’s upbringing in-depth, you may have a general feel of how comfortable their family was around the discussion of emotions. Emotional expressiveness might not have been common practice in their household; they may have been taught to keep things bottled up.
Understanding this about your partner will help you understand why they might find it difficult to express their emotions.
They might have trained themselves to suppress emotions like sorrow or anger – and particularly emotions that are louder and more exhibitive. Consider your partner’s background and whether or not they are willing to express their emotions when you talk to them.
3. Show them how to be emotionally open.
If your partner hasn’t been exposed to many situations where emotional expression is encouraged, they may be unaware of what it looks like. By sharing your own emotions and sentiments with them, you’ll be able to teach them what it’s like to be emotionally intimate with a partner.
Allow your partner to talk to you about how they’re feeling, both in general and in regards to any anxieties in their lives and in your relationship.
When your partner hears you express yourself clearly and freely, they may recognize that your relationship is a healthy and supportive place in which communication is key.
4. Connect on a regular basis.
Regardless of how long you’ve been together, you and your partner probably spend meaningful time with each other regularly.
Try to also find time for some one-on-one bonding, in addition to doing pleasurable activities together.
Connect with your partner frequently so that each of you feels comfortable enough to initiate deep, meaningful conversations with each other. Try scheduling weekly meetings where you can talk about what’s going on in the relationship as well as in your personal lives.
5. Give them the space they need.
While you may be the type of person who has no reservations about alerting everyone when you’re having a terrible day, it’s important to respect the fact that not everyone is built that way. Other people may not want to express their unhappiness for one reason or another.
It’s possible that your partner simply needs some time to think about their feelings and process them before sharing them with others. Those who have a more introverted personality, for example, may process emotions in this manner.
6. Don’t pressure them.
Although you can just observe your partner’s communication style, don’t jump to conclusions about why they aren’t as transparent as you feel they should be. It’s better to allow them to express themselves on their own terms.
Talk to each other about how you both process your emotions and how you can best encourage each other to be more open.
Any answer will be a good one. Your partner may say, for example, that they need some time to deal with their feelings on their own before involving you in their process. Make sure you don’t pressure them into doing things they don’t want to do.
7. Let them be angry.
Letting your partner be free with their negative emotions may seem unusual at first. However, they’re their own person with independence and agency – and, in time, this will be beneficial to them and your relationship.
They may be frightened to exhibit conventionally “negative” emotions, like wrath, depending on the influence of their upbringing or cultural setting. As a result, telling them explicitly that they should be able to inform you when they’re angry can be quite liberating for both of you.
Pent-up rage simply festers and builds, eventually surfacing in unexpected and unwelcome ways. It can cause a lot of emotional and even physical damage to the one who exhibits it and to those who encounter it.
While it can be stressful to have a partner who has difficulty expressing themselves, try to be patient and compassionate with them. They may only require a small amount of assistance.
8. Lead by example.
You can’t expect your partner to be open if you’re not good at expressing yourself either. So make it a practice to be open as well, and maybe they will follow. Once you expose your partner to your most vulnerable self, they might be encouraged enough to follow suit.
9. Listen Attentively
Instead of dictating ideas and opinions to your partner, ask for their opinion on their behavior. People tell you a lot of themselves if you simply choose to listen carefully.
Give them the space to vent, and when they do, let them take the stage. Everything happens in baby steps.
10. Don’t push the problem.
If you want your partner to open up, resist the impulse to drag them into a discussion they don’t want to have.
Rather than begging them to start expressing their feelings, give them an outlet they can use to do so. Let them know that if they want to chat about anything (not just their emotions), you’d be delighted to hear what they have to say.
11. Make conversations feel natural and easy.
Conversations will likely happen easily once your partner realizes there’s no pressure on them to perform. Be open to everything and slowly nudge them in the right direction. Tell them that you’re open to discussing everything, no matter how strange.
This openness will help your partner realize two things:
- It’ll prevent them from being forced into a corner or feeling attacked.
- It’ll help them feel more relaxed and make the conversation flow.
When your partner feels like they can discuss everything with you, new avenues for conversation will open.
12. Inquire about his day.
Some people assume that men are more action-oriented than emotional. Instead of questioning how your partner felt about something that happened that day, try asking him how he responded to things.
It’s instinctual for women to jump right into the emotional part, but men prefer to start with the action. Your partner may open up more about what he thinks and feels if he talks about what he does at work or when he’s out with his buddies.
13. Don’t make eye contact, it seems creepy.
Eye contact is really important to building trust. When it comes to talking to your man, however, it isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Eye contact can often make people uncomfortable, and men (or women) are no exception.
Not looking a guy in the eyes is one of the most crucial movements to urge him to open up. All of a man’s alarms start ringing when he sees a woman glare at him or stare him down when he’s talking.
14. Have a parked car conversation.
The car is probably the ideal place to express feelings and have a heart-to-heart. Because there isn’t as much emphasis or stress on the partner to “perform,” an unpleasant conversation can become a little more comfortable due to an easy stance and the diversion of driving.
Plus, it’s less scary to talk while seated side by side rather than when facing each other.
15. Take his personality into account.
When conversing with someone, it’s always a good idea to examine their personality, tastes, and preferences.
Be very understanding of the kind of person your boyfriend is. Is he an introvert? A visionary? Impulsive or methodical? How he approaches life will provide you with insights into how to interact with him.
16. Praise his achievements.
Men, like anybody else, dislike being criticized or feeling like they’ve failed. So, when having a candid discussion about things, try to avoid making any faces or judgmental statements.
Laud and praise your partner when he tells you about his achievements, and try to relate to his point-of-view when he shares his opinion on the different topics of conversation. This is a great way to get people to talk.
17. Decipher his “Love Language”.
There are 5 types of love languages, and understanding your partner’s might make the process of encouraging them to open up a lot easier. Being fluent in the language he speaks when it comes to love can help you get over a lot of proverbial romantic bumps in the road.
18. Remember that change can be a long process.
Because opening up doesn’t come easy to everyone, you should allow your partner plenty of time to practice. He may need to practice expressing his emotions actively, many times.
It’ll take some real-world practice to feel at ease expressing true feelings or emotions.
The Bottom Line
If you feel like your partner is closed up like a clam, there’s a good chance you’ve undoubtedly spent plenty of time trying to convince them to change their behavior.
One of the fundamental aspects of a healthy relationship is open and honest communication. However, just because it’s so important, doesn’t mean it’s simple for everyone to express their emotions freely.
Yet, for the sake of development and stability in your relationship, you’ll both need to be able to discuss your views, feelings, and worries in the long run.
It takes a lot of courage to be forthright about your feelings, and it’s not something that most men are taught to do. So, convincing them to open up can be a battle in itself. Being tolerant and sensitive can go a long way in ensuring that your relationship remains successful and continues growing.
Once you’ve made some progress in helping your partner open up, appreciate what they’ve said and praise them for entrusting you with their personal information.
Continue implementing the aforementioned methods, as well as other ways you can think of, to improve your connection as a couple. Prioritizing dates and learning how to work effectively through disputes can help your connection deepen.
Improvements may not happen immediately, but over time you and your partner will figure a way to keep yourselves happy in your relationship.