Wouldn't it be great if, once you're in a relationship, you could automatically convey how you were feeling to your partner? That way, he or she could simply adjust his or her behavior to suit the situation and we could avoid the unpleasantness of arguing or bringing up difficult issues. Unfortunately, telepathy hasn't yet been accepted by the scientific community and remains the stuff of fantasy and fiction. That means that in order for your partner to know how you're feeling, you have to learn to speak up.
Many people are reluctant to voice their concerns because they want to maintain the illusion that everything is perfect in their relationship. There's also the fear of the unknown -- a comment you made innocently could lead to a fight or something else that you didn't expect. However, holding in your feelings will breed anger and resentment. While you're seething on the inside, your partner might continue to do or say whatever upsets you, because he or she has no idea of what's truly going on.
If the issue really bothers you, it will probably eventually come through in your actions or even your facial expressions. This will only confuse your partner as to your actual feelings. Once you do speak up for yourself, he or she may be hurt that you chose to wait instead of being honest. A happy, healthy relationship means trusting that you can be yourself with your partner and have your opinions respected.
Start with thinking about exactly what you want to say or even writing it down. If it's an especially difficult topic, try to pick a time that's good for both you and your partner -- after an extra-long day at work isn't the best time to start a long discussion. Learning to express your thoughts and opinions will build mutual respect and trust with your partner and make for a happier relationship. So will learning how to listen to each other, and we'll talk about that in the next section.