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Be Specific When Discussing Your Feelings

Use "I feel" or "I think" statements to express your feelings without blaming your partner for doing, or not doing, something you thought he or she should. Instead of saying, “You should have called me if you were going to be out so late,” say “I feel nervous when it gets late and I haven’t heard from you.” “I” statements - in which you begin with phrases like “I feel” or “I’m afraid when” - are less judgmental and much more effective than the more accusatory “you” statements.

Here is a good example: Instead of saying "You’re never home in time for dinner," say, "I feel upset about having spent time preparing a meal and having to eat it alone." Expressed this way, your partner knows how you feel but has not been personally attacked.

Starting a statement with "You always" will only cause you, your partner, or both of you to immediately become defensive. If blaming is an issue in your relationship, you can both help alleviate this problem by using "I" messages rather than "you" messages. It is important to avoid these types of accusations because they will only make a bad situation worse. Communicating in a positive manner will typically lead to a solution much more quickly.