How to use a feelings list for better communication in your relationship
Do you want to have better communication with your boyfriend? In a gay relationship, we don’t just have to deal with the normal relationship issues — we have to do all of that while being in a world that doesn’t always value and support our relationships. Everything is just a bit more stressful. Every conversation matters.
If your boyfriend makes you feel jealous or insecure or angry. If you’ve felt tired or lonely or horny and you want to be able to talk to your boyfriend about what you’re feeling… the nonviolent communication tactic of using a list of feelings (also called a “feelings inventory”) can be super helpful in improving your gay or polyamorous relationship communication skills.
In this video, I share what a feelings list is and how I use it to it have better communication with my boyfriends.
Download a big list of feelings
Really intense emotions are often portrayed in the media as sexy and desirable and I mean we want to feel something in a relationship that’s like a big part of the point but really big feelings can get in the way of healthy communication if you’re not careful.
I’m going to teach you how you can use a list of feelings so that your feelings can help rather than hurt your relationship.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a framework that has changed my life for the better.
It’s helped me at work, it’s helped me with my parents, it’s helped me with my roommates and of course it’s helped in my dating life.
The first step in nonviolent communication is to observe without judgment. I made a video and wrote about that last week.
The second step is to figure out what you’re feeling. I want to share with you one of the NVC tools that I use most often: a list of feelings, like, an actual list of feelings.
Here’s a pic of it:
It’s broken up into feelings when your needs are met, aka good feelings, and feelings when you have unmet needs, aka bad feelings. (more on “good” vs “bad” feelings here).
It’s got things like exhilarated, merry, motivated, secure, wonderful, wide-awake, puzzled, numb, panicky, weary, disgusted, bored, afraid, lonely, you get the picture.
So, this is what I do, when something happens that’s got me feeling some sort of way like, my boyfriend says something that pisses me off or he forgets about our date night or he’s getting hit on at the bar all night long and no one is talking to me…
I try to figure out what it is that I’m feeling, like exactly what I’m feeling. So, if I’m feeling bad, like what kind of bad angry, okay, why is that? Am I confused?
Or if I’m feeling jealous, what’s going on with that jealousy, is it because I’m lonely or insecure or horny or all of the above maybe.
The key is to get specific because the more specific that you can get, the more helpful that it will be for you.
Side note, you can also do this when you’re feeling a positive feeling, trying to figure it out if you’re content or excited or elated or surprised, is way more fun.
Now, just because you say “I feel” in front of something doesn’t mean that it’s a feeling. “I feel like you are picking on me” is not a feeling. And, another note if you say “like” after “I feel” it’s also probably not a feeling. Sometimes, it can be a judgment, “I feel like you are setting me up to fail”, is a judgment or it might be a desire, “I feel like screaming”, means I want to scream or I wish I could scream, right?
This takes practice, there isn’t an iPhone app that tells us exactly how we’re feeling, like if only.
Sometimes I get stuck and when I get stuck I need to consult this actual physical list of feelings.
There is a list in Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication and the Center for Nonviolent Communication has a list and I actually made my own, I pulled from both of those places and I dropped some stuff that felt outdated or irrelevant and I added some stuff in that I felt was missing because I mean HOW DO YOU HAVE A LIST OF FEELINGS WITHOUT HORNY ON IT?!? I mean come on! If you want this list you can snag it here.
Once you’ve figured out what it is that you’re feeling the next step is to use that info to get clear on what it is that you need and I’m here to help for that too. Enter your email address below and I’ll send you a video + article on how to do that once I finish it (in the next few days).