Want to know how to have difficult conversations with your partner? Then you’re in the right place.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to bring up something you don’t want to talk about.
Perhaps you and your partner need to talk about helping out around the house more often, or maybe you need to come to an agreement about money or children.
Don’t just sweep it under the carpet, whatever it is. This only creates anger and doesn’t help you resolve the issue.
Find some time to sit down and talk about it and remember that the more you communicate, the easier it will be.
How To Have Difficult Conversations With Your Partner
1. Avoiding difficult discussions can make problems worse.
You may believe that all you are doing is trying to keep the peace.
But if you want your relationship to be truly healthy and harmonious, you need to be prepared to deal with problems as they arise.
While it’s fine to wait until the right time to sit down and talk to your partner, don’t wait too long – ideally do it within a few days of discovering a problem.
2. Stay focused throughout the discussion.
Don’t try to fix everything in your relationship that has ever gone wrong. Instead, think about what upsets you the most. How do you feel and why do you think that is?
That’s what you should focus your efforts on. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.
Consider also the underlying problem behind the dispute. On the surface, you may be irritated because your partner eats fast food multiple times a week, but perhaps you are concerned about his health.
Also think about what you want the outcome of the conversation to be.
Don’t expect the other person to suddenly start saving every cent they earn if you’re angry because they spend money more frivolously than you do.
However, it’s fair to ask him or her to cooperate in creating a household budget that you can both live with.
3. Avoid scheduling a meeting when you are anxious or busy.
If you are in a hurry, busy, stressed or tired, you will find it difficult to stay calm during a difficult conversation. After all, with lots of things going on, it can be difficult to just talk.
Wait until you can both sit in silence and really focus on each other to make sure you are both in the best possible mood.
When you need to talk, going somewhere, like a park or a cafe, can help, especially if you’ve struggled over the subject before.
A change of environment can help you break out of some of the thinking habits you develop at home.
4. Make the conversation productive.
If you can achieve this, your partner will feel more involved in the discussion and not as if you are just condemning them.
Remember that you need to talk about this because you and your partner love each other and it is something you both need to work on as a couple.
5. Try to express yourself in your own words.
If you start with a list of all the things your spouse does wrong, he or she is likely to shut down and get defensive.
Instead, focus on why this is so important to you.
6. The way you say something is as important as what you say.
Try not to shout or cry while speaking and avoid sarcasm at all costs. Remember that your tone of voice can be a big trigger for someone’s emotions, so stay calm and focus on the purpose of the conversation.
This is a person you care about and it is important that you speak to them in a polite and caring way, even if you disagree.
Also avoid strained body language such as crossed arms, heavy sighs when your partner speaks, rolling your eyes or avoiding eye contact (1).
7. Remember that you can only work on one problem at a time.
When you’re having an awkward discussion, it’s easy to bring up everything else that went wrong in your relationship. However, the most important thing is to focus on only one task at a time.
Otherwise, you could both become overwhelmed and lead to an argument instead of working together to find a solution.
8. Don’t just sit there and wait for your time to speak.
Good communication is all about give and take, so pay attention to what your partner has to say.
Don’t prepare your response before your partner has had a chance to speak fully; be present when he or she speaks.
Take a few moments to assimilate what you hear before speaking again.
Relationship gurus advise paraphrasing what you hear from the other person. It may seem strange at first, but it can help you make sure you really understand what you are hearing.
9. Be willing to accept responsibility for your mistakes.
No one is flawless, and if you are trying to resolve an issue with your partner, it is important to understand how your words or actions have affected them in the past.
This may include recognizing when your emotions are getting in the way of a good discussion. It may also mean apologising if you have done something that has caused someone pain.
10. Breathe deeply to maintain balance and take breaks as necessary.
If you get upset and start raising your voice, the problem will almost certainly get worse. It may even escalate into a full-fledged dispute, which is the last thing you want.
Instead, if you start to get frustrated, take a few deep breaths and wait to speak until you feel you are back in control of the situation. You can even ask for a 10-15 minute break if necessary.
Think about how you might deal with things differently when you come back to yourself after the break.
11. Get an idea of where your emotions collide.
Whatever the issue, there is a good chance that you and your partner have the same basic goals (2). If you can focus on them throughout the discussion, collaboration will be much easier.
Not only that, but focusing on what you agree on, rather than what you disagree on, can help ease some of the tension and discomfort.
12. Discuss together how to find solutions.
You may have an idea of what you want to do before the discussion even begins, but it is also important to be flexible and listen to what your partner has to say.
If necessary, jot down some suggestions and come back to them when you’ve both had some time to consider them.
Just make sure you are on the same page when it comes to strategy and what you both want to achieve at the end of the day.
13. Getting help when you need it is perfectly acceptable.
Resolving conflicts together can be difficult for two people, especially if their communication styles are different or if they have never learned effective conflict resolution skills.
Meet with a couples therapist who can help you work through difficult discussions.
He or she will also help you learn new ways to communicate with each other so that you can have more productive discussions in the future.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to have difficult conversations with your partner. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.