In my earlier post, I had shared the importance of having conversations with people in your life, especially family. In this one, I want to talk about having difficult conversations with your life partner…
When you’re in a relationship, it’s unavoidable that you’ll have to bring up a topic you’re not looking forward to discussing. Maybe you should talk to your partner about helping out more around the house, or maybe you should agree on something important like finances or parenting. Don’t just brush it under the rug, whatever it is. That only breeds hatred and accomplishes nothing. Set aside some time to talk things out and remember that communication gets easier the more you do it!
Why is it tough to have these conversations? Well, that awkwardness and “need” to dodge the topic occurs when one person is insecure or has some fears, it could also stem from their past experiences. But all said and done, these are things that you need to have out in the open, and close before getting on with the day.
After all, this is the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with, and you want to make sure that your relationship is strong and healthy.
Here are a few tips:
1. Choose the right time and place, but don’t wait too long.
Don’t try to have a difficult conversation when you’re both tired, stressed, or hungry. Instead, find a time when you can both relax and focus on each other. It’s also important to find a place where you won’t be interrupted.
2. Start by expressing your love and respect.
Before you launch into the difficult topic, start by telling your partner how much you love and respect them. This will help to create a safe and supportive space for the conversation.
3. Be specific and honest.
Don’t beat around the bush. Be direct and honest about what’s bothering you. But be careful not to be accusatory or judgmental. Instead, focus on your own feelings and experiences. Also, it is best to use “I” statements. I feel this way, I have been hurt by what you said/did etc.. Also, don’t bring up things that might have happened in the past and start slinging dirt..
4. Listen to your partner’s perspective.
Once you’ve shared your thoughts and feelings, it’s important to listen to your partner’s perspective. Try to see things from their point of view and be willing to compromise. Do not talk when they are sharing and just hear them out with an open mind. Even if you feel angered or want to stop them, do not. Maybe just take a sip of water. When they are done, if there is something that is your fault, accept it.
5. Focus on finding a solution.
The goal of a difficult conversation should be to find a solution that works for both of you. So, once you’ve both had a chance to share your perspectives, work together to come up with a plan.
6. Be patient and understanding.
It may take some time to resolve a difficult issue. Be patient with each other and be willing to work together to find a solution.
Here are some specific tips for having difficult conversations about common topics:
Money: Money can be a sensitive topic, but it’s important to be able to talk about it openly with your partner. If you’re having financial problems, be honest with each other about your income, expenses, and debt. Then, work together to create a budget and financial plan.
Physical Intimacy/Sex: Sex is another important topic to be able to discuss with your partner. If you’re not having enough sex, or if you’re not satisfied with your sex life, talk to your partner about it. Be honest about your needs and desires and be willing to listen to theirs.
Parenting [includes Pet parenting as well]: Parenting can be challenging, especially if you and your partner have different parenting styles. If you’re struggling to agree on how to raise your children, talk to each other about your concerns. Try to find common ground and be willing to compromise.
Each other’s parents/In-laws: In-laws can be a source of conflict in many relationships. If you’re having problems with your partner’s family, talk to your partner about it. Try to understand their perspective and be willing to work together to find a solution.
Remember, the goal of a difficult conversation is to strengthen your relationship. By being honest, open, and respectful, you can work through any challenge together.
Here are some additional tips:
Avoid using accusatory language or blaming your partner.
Focus on the present and avoid bringing up past hurts.
Be willing to listen to your partner’s perspective, even if you don’t agree with it.
Take breaks if needed.
End the conversation on a positive note, even if you haven’t resolved the issue completely.
If one of you feels you need a third-party intervention [even therapy/counselling], then be open and go for it. It just might help resolve things.
If you’re struggling to have a difficult conversation with your life partner, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can provide guidance and support and help you to communicate more effectively. What is the most important according to me about these conversations is you be clear, share your thoughts, put your points ahead without demeaning the other person & let them also share their thoughts before coming to a conclusion.
Do not speak in raised voices
Do not do these discussions over the phone or chat,
and always have them face to face when it’s just the two of you!