Tip #3- How Do I Tell My Partner That Something They Do Bothers Me?

Try using “I Statements”.

I feel __________ when you ________________. I need or prefer that you _________________.

When you use an “I Statement” you talk about your own feelings rather than attacking the other person. The hope is that your partner will be able to take in what you’re saying without getting defensive and he/she can then care about what you’re feeling.

This is an example of the wrong way to approach your partner.

You always leave your socks on the floor and I can’t stand it. (Attack!)

Here’s an example of a better way to approach your partner.

I feel disrespected when you leave your socks on the floor. I work hard to keep the house in order and I need for you to put your socks in the laundry basket. Can you do that for me?

Try addressing something small and less important until you get comfortable using ‘I Statements”.  At first it may feel awkward but the more you use it the more natural it will feel. Good luck! You can do it!  Afterwards, teach your partner to use “I Statements”.

Want to learn other communication skills?


About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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