By: Sarah Divine
Talk with your partner and ask them if they are open to listening to you talk about your bad days.
Are you able to go home to your significant other and share the bad days with them? Is that something that you would like to do? Do you want to be held and comforted by the person closest to you? What’s stopping you?
Maybe it’s fear of being judged as weak or not wanting to burden your intimate partner. Perhaps you feel you have to portray a certain persona. Or is it something else that is holding you back from sharing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to experience a deeper connection? To be able to share how you are feeling with your lover, what you just experienced and to receive acknowledgment from your partner for your hard work? Wouldn’t it be nice to receive support and comfort for the nightmares you’ve seen?
Don’t you deserve that?
Below are five steps to create a safe space for sharing so you can freely and safely talk with your partner about your thoughts, feelings, and emotions leading to a deeper, more fulfilling connection.
Step 1: Get an agreement
It is important to know that your intimate partner is willing and able to listen. Talk with your partner and ask them if they are open to listening to you talk about your bad days. Ask for general and specific permission. If they are open in general to receiving your information, and then before you share, if they have the bandwidth at that time.
If they say yes, move to step two.
If they say no, say “thank you for being honest” and reach out to a friend, co-worker or counselor you trust to release the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. If your lover is unable or unwilling to hold space for you, do not be upset with them.
Step 2: Create a code word
The code word should signal to your partner that you would like to have some time alone with them with no distractions, giving you their undivided attention.
Clarify with each other when this time is going to happen. Make sure you both are clear on whether it will happen immediately or if one of you needs some time to complete a task so you can be focused and present.
Step 3: Clarifying questions (and context)
Find out how much information your partner is open to hearing about. Are they open to hearing the details, or do they prefer hearing about your shift minus the particulars?
This is important information to check and confirm each time you are ready to share. Sometimes your partner may be able to handle more or less depending on what is going on with them. Good communication at this step will help you to get the support you need without putting too much on your partner.
Ask these important questions to your Firefighter.
- How would you like me to respond?
- Do you want feedback or would you like me to just listen?
- How can I support you at this time? What support would you like from me at this time? Or how can I support you through this share?
Remind your firefighter that you are there for them. Give them the security they need. What you are looking for is to be non-judgmental, non-reactive and willing to listen. This is a great gift to them and an often undervalued one. Remind them to share feelings and emotions freely and that it is okay to be vulnerable.
Unless your firefighter asks you, do not feel like you must share examples. Many partners see their loved ones in pain and want to ‘fix it’ or try to make it positive. Go back to the answers your firefighter gave you and stay within those boundaries unless they lead you outside of them through the conversation.
Step 4: Share
Share your experience, feelings and emotions with your partner. Be open and vulnerable (or as much as you can). Think of it as a growing or developing muscle. As you test their ability to be there for you, you may find this gets easier and you are more able to open more deeply over time. There is no right way to do this. In the beginning, it might be enough to just say, “I’ve had a really hard day.” The vulnerability does NOT make you weak. It creates trust and allows for a deeper connection.
Remember your partner agreed to and wants to be there for you!
- Stay present
- Remember to breathe
- Wiggle your fingers and toes throughout the share to stay grounded
- Honor your firefighter’s wishes and respond the way they requested
- When the time is right, it is okay to ask, “How did I do? Is there anything you want more of or less of from me going forward?”
Step 5: After-care
It’s important to know what your partner needs in order to process the information you just shared with them.
- Do they need to be held?
- Would they like to ask questions to help them better understand the information you are sharing — if you are open to that?
- Would they enjoy a walk together to decompress and enjoy each other’s company?
Check-in with each other and make sure you are giving each other what has been requested to make the share happen. Sharing the good times and the bad are an important part of a healthy relationship.
May the sharing bring a deeper, more meaningful connection to you and your lover.
Sarah Divine’s true passion is in the field of the human body, sexuality and relationships. Sarah has over 5000 hours in hands on body work experience. She’s certified in deep tissue massage, has her master reiki certification, was a holistic health practitioner and is a Certified Erotic Blueprint coach.
Photo by Joshua Ness
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