How often do you communicate how you truly feel to your significant other? Are you the type to fear what might come with voicing your feelings? In order to get the most out of a relationship, it is important to evaluate your emotions properly and be able to discuss them with your partner (or potential partner) freely.

It’s definitely scary to fall in love. You may have heard the quote, “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, and trusting that they won’t.” No matter how long you’ve been with someone, there is always the off-chance that something will go wrong. You may be dating to marry, but that isn’t guaranteed. Unless you communicate.

Even when you’re in the beginning stages of becoming serious with someone, it’s not a good idea to bottle up your feelings, no matter if they’re positive or negative. If you feel like you can’t say what’s on your mind at any given moment in time, then there must be an issue. It’s one thing to censor yourself in terms of profanity and sensitive topics (i.e. death, mental health, etc.), but it’s another to suppress any ideas you may have in moving forward in your relationship.

If you know they’re the type to stay hush about a lot of things, especially their emotions, then it may be good to jumpstart the conversation.

I know there’s always the fear of rejection. What if they don’t feel the same way? How do you go back to the way things were before you brought the issue up? My advice is to stop overthinking. Communication should not be one-sided. It’s not a “here’s the problem, fix it” kind of thing. It’s more of a back and forth for an hour or maybe even days, in order to thoroughly answer any wonders or questions that may exist between the two of you.

This works the same for people who may not be entirely certain about their relationship. Losing feelings is normal, as confusing as it may sound, and it’s important to be able to speak up if you aren’t content with your situation. By communicating, you are being considerate of others as well as yourself. Don’t lead them on, plain and simple. If you don’t see yourself being capable of reciprocating feelings, don’t beat around the bush. “Ghosting” is childish and only makes it more awkward when you run into each other in person.

Everyone wants a happy ending, it’s true. But it’s not ideal to keep playing into a fantasy that may cease to exist in a matter of months. Not everyone wants to settle down immediately. Not everyone sees themselves parenting three children in 10 years. You really don’t know unless it’s been seriously discussed. It’s not as simple as an “I want you forever, baby” text. We depend so much on virtual communication because it makes it increasingly easier to divide our time amongst our priorities and also check in on our significant others; but it’s not the same as verbally voicing how we feel.

So if that one thought has been running through your mind on replay and you have yet to address it, the time to do it is now.