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Validating You Partner’s Story

Validation You communicate that you understand and accept without judgment your partner’s feelings and that it makes sense to you given your partner’s perspective. The bottom line: Convey, “You have a right to have these feelings.”

Validation has several steps:

  • Accept and respect that this is your partner’s experience based on your partner’s perceptions, feelings, history, biology, and emotional makeup (psychology).
  • Actively communicate your understanding and acceptance that this is how the speaker feels and sees things.
  • Encourage additional communication. If the speaker starts to get upset with your response, then the odds are the speaker is not feeling validated.

Neither empathy nor validation has to do with placating, agreeing, liking, disliking, or determining if something is “true” (from your perspective). Every feeling is valid, based on the person’s perceptions, beliefs and history. Continued dialogue may change that perception or belief, but in healthy relationships partners need to be able to express their true thoughts and feelings at the time.

An example of an empathic and validating response would be to say something like this:

  1. So you are feeling… (upset, happy, fearful, confused, excited, etc.)
  2. About… (name the specific events, people, circumstances related to feeling),
  3. Because… (express the reason, motivation, belief, you hear that explains the speaker’s feelings)
  4. And I can understand why you feel this way; or “That makes sense.”

Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to us here.