At some point while you’re dating a new man, he is bound to do something that makes you feel weird, uncomfortable, or just plain angry. But you’ll probably feel like you don’t want to rock the boat with him.
So you’ll stuff down your feelings and pretend everything’s okay. You act like nothing’s wrong, because you believe you need to “go with the flow” or he’ll think you’re high maintenance and lose interest.
But not letting him know how you feel actually prevents you from connecting with him at a deeper level. Conflict is actually an opportunity to get closer to him and build a relationship. When you express your feelings, he gets to see who you really are. It shows that you trust him to reveal something difficult, and it gives him the chance to make things better. In turn, he’ll start to feel safe with you and let you in on what he’s feeling, too. This is where understanding and acceptance start to happen, and these are the seeds for the romance of a lifetime. But the key is to express your feelings in a non-blaming, non-judging way. These examples show you how.
WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY THAT HE’S LATE
He said he’d meet at a certain time, but now you’re all dressed up waiting, fiddling with your phone, and worried you’ll miss the start of the show. When he finally shows up in a rush and wanting to kiss you, you want to hit him. He can sense it, and now the whole evening feels tense.
If this is the first time it has happened and he is sincerely sorry about it, let it go. But if it’s a recurring thing, you need to talk with him about it. Your impulse might be to tell him that it’s inconsiderate to keep people waiting, but this will only create more distance with him and won’t inspire him to please you. That’s because all he’ll hear is that he’s wrong, and it will sound as if you’re preaching to him. Instead, say, “I really feel angry when I have to wait, and I notice we’re often late to things. What do you think we could do that would work for both of us?” Now he sees you’re unhappy, and he has an opening to make it up to you. If he doesn’t come up with a compromise or he resists you, you’re getting valuable insight into how he handles relationship conflict.
WHEN YOU’RE TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT HIS EX
Sometimes a man will thoughtlessly mention his ex, but when her name keeps popping up in conversation, you’re right to feel upset. It could be a sign that he’s not over her or still living in the past; or it could mean that he’s doing it because he’s not sure how you feel about him, and he wants to see your reaction.
So find out, and let him know it’s not okay with you when he mentions her. Try, “I feel really uncomfortable when I hear about other women, and I don’t want to take away from what I’m enjoying with you. Is there something I should know?” Remember, dating is a time to see whether or not you’re on the same page with him. Use this as an opportunity to find out if she’s still in his life and to let him know you won’t settle for second best.
WHEN YOU’RE FRUSTRATED THAT HE RARELY CALLS
Texting and emailing all the time but not calling can mean he’s either shy, not that invested in you, or simply clueless about how it’s affecting you. But asking him, “Why don’t you ever call me?” will instantly put him on the defensive and won’t motivate him to call you more. It needs to come from him – he needs to feel it’s his choice to call. Otherwise he feels forced, and this creates distance.
When he does call, say, “Oh, it feels so good to hear your voice. I really love it when you call me.” Now, you’re creating a positive experience for him that will actually inspire him to call you more. Avoid the temptation to say, “I really wish you’d call me more often,” because then you’re back to blaming and making him feel wrong. When you tell him instead that you miss him and you sound genuinely pleased when he calls, he’ll want to keep calling. You’ll have avoided that tense discussion, and you’ll have brought him closer…which is what you really wanted to begin with.
When you share your feelings upfront like this in a way that doesn’t make him wrong, you prevent resentment from building up in you and exploding into argument. He’ll also recognize that with you he doesn’t have to guess what’s going on, and that he has the ability to please you even though you might hit a bump in the road. The openness you show with your feelings will help you both navigate the inevitable ups and downs of any relationship…and become all the closer for it.
To learn more ways to express your feelings in a way that will make a man want to listen to you and come closer to you, subscribe to Rori’s free free relationship advice e-newsletter. You’ll learn a simple three-step system you can use in any situation to connect more deeply with your man whether you’re dating or in a committed relationship.