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There are many ways to express difficult emotions, but only a few of them help when you're in a relationship. The silent treatment, unexplained hostility and avoidance are all passive-aggressive ways to let someone know how you feel. Passive aggression is usually ineffective. It won't make you feel better and certainly won't improve your relationship. If your boyfriend has hurt you, the best thing you can do is calmly express your feelings to him in a productive way and actively look for solutions together.

Accept your difficult feelings. Learning to accept your feelings helps you communicate them better. Acceptance also helps you to manage your emotions without them controlling you. When you have a bitter grip on your feelings, you can be the master of how you express them.

Refrain from showing anger or getting defensive. Doing so will probably only make your boyfriend upset and increase the scope of the disagreement. Keeping your stress level down helps you to better communicate your feelings. Otherwise, you become more affected by difficult emotions and risk alienating your boyfriend.

Avoid blaming or attacking your boyfriend. There are ways to respectfully tell your boyfriend how you feel without undermining his self-esteem.

Maintain a respectful tone and attitude. Remember that just because your boyfriend hurt you, it does not give you the right to turn into an unkind or harsh person. When you're respectful, he's more likely to return the favor.

Use an "I" message to explain your feelings. "I" messages, or statements that begin with the word "I," are effective because they keep the focus on you rather than the other person. For example, you could say, "I felt hurt and embarrassed when you flirted with the waitress," or "I felt upset when you didn't invite me to your friend's wedding."

Allow your boyfriend to ask questions and explain his perspective. He may try to justify his actions. If this happens, return the focus of the conversation to your feelings by saying, "I understand you didn't mean to be hurtful, but I still felt upset when you forgot about our date. I don't want to make you feel bad or blame you. I just want to figure out how to make our relationship better."

Ask your boyfriend to help you brainstorm solutions for the future. Remember, the goal is to reconcile and take steps to prevent the same mistake from being repeated. Involving him in problem-solving lets him know you care about his opinion.


Never stay in a relationship that threatens your physical or emotional safety.