Are you tired of your partner playing hide-and-seek with their thoughts and feelings around you? Do you want to find out how to get your partner to open up? Well, close your eyes and picture this for a moment: you and your partner, snuggled up on a cozy couch, sharing secrets like two best friends at a slumber party.
Sounds amazing, right? That’s what we’re aiming for. Because let’s get real, open and honest communication plays a huge role in a rock-solid healthy relationship. It increases intimacy in a relationship and brings you both closer to each other. So, if you wish to know how to make your partner speak freely and open up to you, buckle up because we’ve got 8 tested tips that will crack the code!
Why Does My Partner Struggle To Open Up About His Feelings?
If your partner’s a guy, then according to research, “Since childhood, many men are taught vulnerability equals weakness and therefore men are not supposed to be vulnerable. It can also be difficult to be vulnerable as there might be a fear of feeling embarrassed or being hurt by someone’s response.” But the research says, “Vulnerability is actually a strength. In order to be a strong and healthy individual, vulnerability must take place with the people that you have built trust with. In doing so, one strengthens relationships, improves mental health, and improves quality of life.”
This makes it important for everyone, including men, to be vulnerable in relationships. However, you might have often heard: “My partner doesn’t open up emotionally in a relationship. How can I make them talk about their feelings?” In such a situation, have you ever wondered why your partner struggles to open up about their feelings with you? Before diving into the many ways to get your partner to open up, let’s uncover a few possible reasons:
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8 Ways To Help Your Partner Open Up
Research states, “Openness in a relationship, understood as the ability to reveal one’s feelings, thoughts, needs and fears, is associated with a higher satisfaction with the relationship, and its lack leads to conflicts and a breakdown of the relationship. Openness is one of the key elements of high-quality communication between partners, which in turn allows them to effectively cope with stress.”
We all crave this transparency in a relationship and want that special someone to be our go-to person, right? But when you’re dating someone who struggles to open up, it can feel like a real challenge. If you’re in such a situation, I’ve got some tips to fix your communication issues and get your man to open up emotionally or make your woman feel safe enough to talk to you:
1. Try to understand their past
When your partner was a child, was their family open about expressing feelings or did they keep things bottled up? Your partner may have grown up in environments where expressing emotions, especially difficult ones like sadness or anger, was discouraged, shamed, and punished. This makes it difficult for them to connect with you on a deeper level.
So try to understand your partner’s emotions and respond with appropriate feelings of your own. This understanding can help you recognize what they’re subconsciously dealing with in their inner world, and why they face challenges opening up. If your partner’s difficulty in opening up in a relationship is deeply rooted in past trauma or emotional issues, you can suggest professional help. Individual therapy or relationship counseling can help them effectively work through these challenges, and can help foster healthier communication patterns.
2. Try some hobbies for couples or fun activities together
Engaging in hobbies can create a comfortable environment for your partner to open up. Such hobbies for couples are one of the most important components for bonding. During these fun activities, you can casually ask open-ended questions. You may also share your own feelings during a romantic game to initiate deeper conversations. It won’t happen overnight, but if you continue deepening your bond, these shared experiences will get the self-disclosure flowing at varying speeds. Here are some ways to get your partner to open up:
- Plan a date night where you can go out for dinner, watch a movie, or do something you both enjoy. This relaxed and enjoyable setting can encourage open conversation
- Spend time outdoors and go for a walk or hike in a scenic location. Being in nature can reduce stress and create a calm atmosphere for difficult conversations to flow naturally
- Play board games, card games, or puzzles that require interaction and open communication (special tip: Try romantic Scrabble)
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3. Practice active listening (and yes, put your phone away)
A study has revealed that being vulnerable and voicing your feelings can decrease the impact of your emotions and lead to quicker emotional recovery. This means that opening up to someone creates the opportunity to articulate and work through your feelings, ultimately helping you process your emotions. Therefore, when your partner opens up to you, it is equally important that you actively listen to them. Follow these simple steps to be a good listener:
- Give them your full attention
- Be mindful of your body language, for instance, maintain eye contact and warm facial expressions
- If they have trouble opening up, avoid interrupting when they talk. This will make them feel safer sharing their thoughts
- Reflect back on what they’ve shared and ask questions to follow up
- Repeat this method of active listening if you’re wondering how to get someone to open up to you emotionally
4. Be vulnerable yourself and lead by example
If you want your partner to open up emotionally in a relationship, it’s important to be open and vulnerable yourself. By sharing your own vulnerabilities, you create a safe space for your partner to feel comfortable doing the same. Here are some broader ways to get your partner to open up:
5. To get them to open up, ask questions but don’t overwhelm them
Wondering how to get someone to open up to you emotionally? Asking thoughtful questions can encourage your partner to open up, but it’s crucial to strike a balance and not overwhelm them. If you’re just getting started, ask them about their day, pets, festivals, or anything that interests them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Choose the right time to ask questions when your partner is likely to be relaxed
- Ask open-ended questions that allow your partner to share their thoughts and feelings more freely
- After asking a question, give your partner time to process and respond. Practice patience, and make sure they’re not feeling interrogated
- Everyone has different boundaries in a relationship and their own comfort levels, so please respect that. If they are hesitant to answer a particular question or seem uncomfortable, let them know it’s okay
6. Ditch texting and instead, meet in person or video call each other
Avoid using text messages for discussions that require depth or sensitivity. Instead, try to communicate through phone calls, video calls and Zoom dates (if you’re in a long-distance relationship), and meet in person whenever possible. Shell (34) from New Jersey says, “Opening up in our relationship was the best thing to happen to our marriage. While social distancing, much like the average person, Alex and I found ourselves in the hot seat of our relationship. I realized that texting wasn’t really working for us and we needed to video call more often.”
She adds, “Despite my partner’s unwillingness at first, we had successfully begun making headway by the end of week two. With time, my partner outright expressed his interest in sharing his deepest thoughts and feelings via video calls. This is why I said earlier that opening up in our relationship was the best thing to happen to our marriage. Trust me, we discovered each other in a completely new way!”
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7. Be consistent in displaying your care and affection
If your partner feels that you don’t really care about them, they will naturally hesitate to open up to you. Consistent and genuine displays of care and affection can help your partner feel valued and more inclined to open up to you. Here are a few examples to help you get started:
- When you do something special for your partner, like buying them flowers, add personal notes to enhance the gesture
- Surprise your partner with a warm embrace and a gentle kiss, letting them know that you are there for them and that you deeply care
- Plan thoughtful surprises, such as preparing their favorite meal or getting them tickets to a show they’ve been wanting to see
8. Address the communication issues and your own needs
Have you tried various approaches to encourage your partner to open up, but still feel like they’re closed off? If so, keeping in mind the previous points we discussed, go ahead and have an honest conversation about your own desire to communicate and strengthen your relationship. Here’s an example: “I value our relationship and want to create a space with emotional safety, where we can openly communicate. Is there anything specific you need from me to feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts? Whether it’s more time, reassurance, or a different approach, please let me know.”
- Show that you care through affirmations, gestures, and acts of love, and in this process, create an environment where your partner can feel emotionally safe and comfortable while expressing themselves
- If you are wondering how to get your partner to open up, meet in person or video call each other instead of communicating via text during intimate discussions
- Try some hobbies for couples or fun activities together to set up a relaxing environment and get your man to open up emotionally
- Understand their personal history and upbringing to discover their communication style. If deeper emotional issues or past relational trauma are hindering their ability to open up, you can suggest professional help
To keep that open and honest communication flowing, continue practicing these tips. You may also try out some other strategies to deepen your connection as a couple. Hint: Get creative with date nights! Whether it’s a virtual date or a cozy evening at home, prioritize spending quality time together. Remember, all the communication issues in your relationship won’t be resolved on just one date. It will take time, but with a little patience and consistent efforts, you and your partner can build that magical connection you’re looking for.