How can I tell my spouse what's bothering me?

Kathy Sowder
If you are anxious about talking to you spouse about what is bothering you, practice ahead of time, or even write down what you want to say ahead of time to help you get clarity. Then it may help to ask if you can talk after dinner, kids are in bed, or when there are fewer interruptions. Then your spouse is prepared, and consenting. When you begin, ask if your spouse will listen and hear you out. Then be sure to express your feelings and perceptions with "I...feel/think...", being careful not to blame. Ask for what you would like or make a proposal. Try to stay on the subject of what you need to talk about, and not go into the past too far, or use words like "never" or "always". If your spouse listens, be sure to thank him/her.

Any anger or resentment will bleed through your actions, so it's best to be upfront about something unpleasant, even if you're nervous. Think about exactly what you'd like to say, and write it down if that helps. Suggest a good time to talk; don't pounce on your partner after an extra-long workday or wait before bedtime for a heavy discussion. Be calm and focus on the present, using "I" statements to describe how you feel. Don't wallow in the past, and don't blame.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.