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How to Communicate Family Issues with your Partner

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I learned the hard way that I wanted, well, needed the support of my significant other when it came to family matters.Unfortunately, I also learned that hearing negative things from my partner made me really angry, upset and uncomfortable, even if I agreed. In fact, I learned the most uncomfortable fact of all which was that I only felt good about things if I was the only one doing the talking and he just nodded and agreed with me. Which is not the ingredients of a strong, honest and healthy relationship.

I decided that if I feel that way, it probably makes sense that he feels that way as well. It was more than likely that while he wanted my support and input, he didn't want too much information and especially negative commentary from me with regard to his family issues, thoughts or feelings.

What to do? I wondered, how do I resolve this once and for all? How should the every important matter relating family be handled to create the most harmonious relationship possible?

What I finally came up with was a combination of letting things go. My solution, being a sounding board and letting my partner vent. At other times I figured I could really share my two cents if I tempered it with phrases such as "this is only my opinion, but..." or "you can take this with a grain of salt, but I think...." and so on. I am also careful not bombard him with an hour long tirade which make me feel feel better temporarily, but in the long run will leave us both feeling miserable.

Similarly, I try not to overdo it with opinions and gripes about my own family matters, as this opens the door to a number of conflicting concepts. Do I really want to portray things in such a definitive way? Do I really want to hear what it is that he has to say?

In conclusion, I want and need support just as I want and need to give support to my husband when it comes to family matters. However thinking before responding is important. Overstepping boundaries can and will occur, and when this happens, apologizing and showing you care and that you don't want to say anything hurtful are good ways to go.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.