(RE)ENGAGING YOUR PARTNER CONSTRUCTIVELY

Start the conversation by expressing your feelings. Try not to argue or bicker over what really happened or didn’t happen. Although you probably don’t know all of the details and have a lot of unanswered questions, it helps if you can begin the process by creating a sense of empathy between you and your partner. The more your partner can empathize with you, the more likely you’ll be to find out the truth and reach a satisfying solution.

Example of a Productive Conversation Using Empathy
She: “I’m sad, and I want to explain how I’m feeling.”
He: “What’s going on?”
She: “I felt hurt when I found out you talked to her. I don’t want to get into the details; I just want you to know how I’m feeling.”
He: “She reached out to me. I was just trying to be polite.”
She: “I really need you to listen to how I’m feeling right now. We can get into the details later, but I’ll feel better if you try to listen to how I’m feeling.”
He: “OK, I’m listening.”
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