24 Feb Having a Difficult Conversation With Your Significant Other | Scoop Sorority
No relationship is without its problems; it’s only natural for disagreements and conflicts of opinion to arise every once in a while. What matters far more is how you deal with the situation — open communication sets the foundation for a healthy relationship marked by trust and mutual respect.
If there’s something bothering you, you should feel comfortable talking about it with your partner, even if it pertains to them. In fact, especially then. Such conversations may be difficult to broach, but we’re here to help you out with some general guidelines on how to approach sensitive topics with your S.O in a productive rather than inflammatory manner:
It’s always best to be candid when voicing your concerns. Don’t waste time beating around the bush, dropping hints that you’re upset and expecting them to pick up on them. Your partner is, unfortunately, not a mind reader. Go ahead and explicitly mention what is bothering you. If you’re not clear about the problem from the start, you’re never going to be able to fully resolve it and it is likely to pop up again as a recurring issue.
Respect Their Reaction
The reality is that you cannot control how they respond. So don’t be alarmed if their reaction doesn’t perfectly align with the one you cooked up in your head, when practicing this in the shower. Remind yourself to keep an open mind going into this. Just as your feelings and concerns are valid, so are theirs.
Let Them Speak
This is a conversation, not an intervention! Make sure you’re allowing your partner to share their thoughts on the matter as well, rather than just droning on and on in some dramatic monologue that they get lost in. You’re not Hamlet and this isn’t a play. Once you’ve shared what’s on your mind, give them space to bring up their side of the story, and make sure you’re listening attentively throughout.
Avoid Accusatory Language
Hold back the personal attacks. You’re meant to be a team, so the goal here is to work together to solve the underlying problem. Keep the finger-pointing to a minimum and try instead to frame it in a way that reflects your desire to actually resolve the issue. The last thing you want to do is have a deep, important conversation dissolve into a heated argument.
If you’re pointing out a problem, then be prepared to propose a workable solution. Complaining without indicating a desire to change things is neither productive nor mature. Rather than simply listing things that your partner did wrong, try to elaborate on how they can do better: “I’d prefer it if you gave me your full attention when I’m talking,” as opposed to “I hate it when you don’t listen,”.
Don’t bring up irrelevant issues or the one time they pissed you off six months ago by stealing your fries. Unless of course, fry-stealing is the thing you want to address. By focusing on the main topic of the conversation, you’re indicating to your partner that you feel strongly about this issue and that it really is worth addressing. If you decide to tie together a bundle of irrelevant one-off events and put it up for inspection, you’ll probably leave your S.O feeling frustrated and helpless, which is unlikely to spark a productive discussion.
Allow Space to Reflect
Yes, for both parties — give yourselves the time and space to reflect on the conversation you just had. It’s okay to feel a little hurt, confused or even taken aback by the interaction, as long as you can both agree that it was eye-opening and helpful in the long-run. Remember: the key is not to pretend the difficult, uncomfortable conversation never happened but rather to ensure you learnt from it… so it doesn’t need to happen again.