“I’m fine.”

Those two little words will sound familiar to any girl who’s ever held back her feelings in a relationship. Whether you mutter them through gritted teeth just before you sit down with friends for dinner, or say them lying in bed after an argument, we’ve all used the “I’m fine” trick once or twice.

The thing is though, by saying “I’m fine,” we are just giving our partners an easy way out. We may assume that by saying the words in a certain tone or with angry body language it should be obvious that we are most certainly NOT fine right now… but in all likelihood it’s probably only clear to us.

We say, “I’m fine,” so we must be alright. But by using those words, we are just withholding the truth. If you’re not fine, but you aren’t in the mood for confrontation right now, why not say exactly that? Why pretend that everything is okay?

It’s not the words themselves that are the problem – there are many different versions of the “I’m fine” lie – but simply the fact that we are holding back our feelings at all.

Often we keep our feelings tucked away because we’re worried about the reaction. Why stir things up when we could just gloss over it? But if something upsets you, it’s worth discussing. If something bothers you, it’s important for that reason alone. What affects you should affect your partner too. Our emotions are valid and when something’s not right we shouldn’t just let it go.

If someone cares about you, they shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t express your emotions. Sure, sometimes a full-on discussion just isn’t appropriate, in a public place or at a gathering with friends, for example. But that’s no reason to pretend things are fine when they’re not. It’s okay to say, “what you did just now really upset me, can we talk about it later?” It’s alright to say, “That hurt me.”

Us ladies have a big complex about being thought of as cray-cray. We’d do anything to avoid being “that girl,” the high maintenance and demanding girlfriend who always seems to have a problem with something. But having negative feelings does not make you crazy. What makes you crazy is holding them in and pretending that everything’s just perfect.

Next time something’s bothering you, avoid the silent treatment and just let your other half know what’s up. Yes, it might cause stress or heated words in the short term, but it’s a far better option than saying nothing and waiting for those bottled up emotions to explode further down the line. Make being open your New Year’s resolution and remember that no issue is too big or too small to talk about with someone you love.