Acknowledge his feelings
Although the emphasis should be on your feelings—“I am feeling this way” vs. “You did this”—so as to not put blame, you should also acknowledge his feelings at some point. If you go into a rant about yourself, he’ll feel that you never paused to consider where he is coming from. So say, “When you do this, it makes me feel X way, but I know you probably do it because you feel Y way.” Show that you don’t think he is coming from a malicious place, but that you understand his potential train of thought or why he did something.
Don’t just charge into your speech at full pace, not stopping to think about what you’re sayin until you are done. If you do that, he will feel spoken at instead of spoken with. Be ready to be derailed: if you pause, he may say something that makes one of your points null, and that’s okay. Making that pause shows that you want to come to a conclusion and that you’re leaving space for his points too, rather than just wanting to fight and only hear your own voice.
Agree with him
If you watch debates often, then you know the way one opponent gets a foot up is by agreeing with the other opponent, when it applies. If your partner is talking, whenever he says something that is true, say, “That I agree with” or nod in agreement. He needs to know that you at least see some of the story from his perspective to feel there is even a point in discussing things with you.
Be a communicator yourself
How can you expect him to communicate if you don’t let anything out yourself? Don’t be passive aggressive. Don’t make jokes about something that actually upsets you. Don’t hold things in, waiting for him to ask what’s wrong because clearly you’re not being yourself. Be a communicator. Set the precedent. If he respects you, he will feel that he owes you communication in return.
Don’t bring up the past
In relationships, there should be no scoreboard. Maybe he didn’t bring you soup when you were sick once, even though you did do so for him. It doesn’t matter. Once you start keeping score, you’ve opened up Pandora’s box and you will never get to the issue at hand. All that matters is why the present issue bothers you. If you bring up the past, your man will feel like you’re constantly gathering ammo against him.
Never use it against him
Never use any information your partner tells you in confidence against him. That’s a sure fire way to get him to be very hesitant about opening up to you in the future. Plus, it’s just an extremely petty thing to do, and you wouldn’t want someone to use sensitive information as ammo to hurt you.
Don’t do it over text
No matter what you do, don’t bring up a big issue over text message! And while you’re at it, don’t do it over email, or Facebook or any other medium that should only be reserved for light conversation. Bringing something up over text is like saying, “I want to alert you to the fact that I’m mad, but I don’t really want to give you the chance to talk about it.” It comes off that way because nobody can truly express themselves through that type of medium.
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