Is something weighing heavy on your mind? Something you know you must share with a partner but aren’t sure how to begin? Voicing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, especially when they have the potential to negatively affect your poly relationships, can feel terrifying.
Just remember, you deserve to live your life honestly and to have partners who are open to forgiveness and to really hearing what you have to say. Here are tips for getting that dreaded conversation started.
How to Share Uncomfortable Feelings
1. Figure Out How You Really Feel
If you’re anything like me, you need to think about how you’re feeling before inviting others to weigh in. Anytime I haven’t done this, I’ve regretted it. I think that’s because I’m emotionally impressionable and easily swayed by other people’s opinions. Understanding my own take on things helps me to stay rooted in my personal experience.
That said, some people need a dialogue to really work through their emotions. If this sounds like you, choose a trusted person to confide in, someone who is patient and can refrain from interfering with your process.
2. Rehearse Your Opening
If you’re nervous, have a game plan. Think about how and when you’ll broach the topic, even crafting a little script. We see it all the time on TV and in movies—someone has something heavy to confess, so they stand in front of the mirror and rehearse. You don’t have to go that far, just have some idea of how you’re going to start. Once you get the ball rolling, the details will work themselves out.
Read: Confessing Your True Feelings
Trying to predict how others might react to your uncomfortable feelings can be helpful, but only up to a point. Eventually, you’ll need to let go of your expectations and just be in the moment.
3. Try to Stay Grounded
Speaking of staying in the moment, high anxiety can derail our thoughts and even make us feel that we’re not fully present in our bodies. This is called dissociation, and it can make sharing things even more challenging.
If this happens, there are a couple of things you can try. You can choose to honor the fact that you’re overwhelmed and request that you revisit the subject later once you’ve calmed down, or you can try The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique to manage your anxiety Above all else, be kind to yourself.
4. Don’t Apologize More than Once
When sharing uncomfortable feelings, it’s tempting to apologize repeatedly. That’s because many of us hate the idea of making someone we care about feel, well, uncomfortable!
But what if the thing that you’re sharing makes you feel guilty? Like you’ve fallen out of love, or cheated on one of your partners? Just be aware of how often you self-flagellate or ask for forgiveness. Not only is this behavior harmful to your self-esteem, but it puts the burden on others to reassure you, and—depending on what you’re confessing—they’ll have plenty of their own uncomfortable feelings to deal with.
Have you had to share something difficult with your polycule? Do you have any advice? Share your thoughts in a comment!
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