Communication may be the single most important component to any relationship.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Communication problems” was the breaking point for a majority (65 percent) of divorces in a study by lifestyle website YourTango.com.
For some of us, communicating about our problems and emotional state feels excruciating. But being emotionally available is what ensures that your partner feels heard, that problems are resolved, and that you connect to each other without stress. If you’re not sure how to be more emotionally available, here are some insights to help you open up.
1. Commit to Opening Up
The journey to opening up won’t be easy, especially if you’ve spent years walling off your inner world. You’ll need a firm commitment to becoming more emotionally available if you’re going to succeed.
It might also involve resolving old beliefs that you don’t deserve love or that you always destroy your long-term relationships. To go the extra mile, let your partner know about your efforts, and consider seeking couples counseling for this step and the ones below.
2. Figure Out How You Feel
In the heat of a conversation or argument, you might feel a flash of conflicting emotions that make it hard to tell what you’re feeling. Consider your thoughts and mindset, even if you need to step away for a few minutes to decide how you’re feeling.
3. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
If you tend to lash out at your partner, using your temper to cover your true feelings, it’s important to work on taking control of that anger. When we’re not emotionally available, we can become adept at finding and exploiting others’ vulnerability to create distance. This has to stop.
Don’t allow your anger and frustration to become personal attacks, or to bully your partner into backing off.
4. Make Time for Your Partner
Make sure that you’re available and accessible to your partner, even when you know an emotional conversation looms. Even if you’re anxious about opening up, try not to avoid phone calls, texts, or visits.
Be there for your partner, and show that you’re invested in connecting with them and creating closeness. Their needs and emotions are just as valid as yours!
5. Speak With Kindness and Clarity
Work toward clarity in your conversations, and don’t resort to personal attacks when you’re feeling vulnerable. This is much easier said than done, and there are going to be times when the conversations will leave you deeply uncomfortable and even vulnerable. However, working to create meaningful dialogue is what keeps the communication—and the relationship—going strong.
The Road to Becoming Emotionally Available
No one walks into a relationship expecting it to be easy, but communication is what helps us connect and work through our differences. Working to express your emotions is difficult, but the road to true partnership involves letting ourselves be known. As mentioned above, don’t hesitate to reach out for counseling as needed to make the journey easier.
For more of the self-improvement and relationship insights you need to know, check out our other blog posts.