How to Have a Hard Conversation (With Your Partner)

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Published Date|
January 23, 2017

How to Have a Hard Conversation (With Your Partner)

Sometimes it’s easier to not bring up things that can be bothering you in a relationship: wishing they were more attentive, not feeling the spark anymore, or even feeling unsatisfied with your sex life.

However, what I’ve found worse than having these hard conversations is not having them at all.

When you don’t face certain problems in a relationship with your partner, it can feel like you are silently suffering with issues of your own. Your partner may be unaware you are even having these feelings or could also be feeling in a similar way, but be just as uncertain about how to bring it up. More so, nothing can change unless we admit we want them to. Always trying to make sense of feelings, I’ve learned that hard conversations are hard for different reasons: admitting we are unhappy is hard, facing difficult problems in a relationship can seem solely like a personal fault, not wanting to hurt yourself in the long run, not wanting to hurt the other person, and also not wanting a hard conversation to be the last conversation. Because of these reasons, here are some tips that might help when having a hard conversation:

1.Write down or say what you really feel beforehand

Sometimes when you are in the middle of a hard conversation, your mind can become cloudy with so many emotions and thoughts. This makes it hard to say what you really want to convey and it can leave you feeling worse, rather than better. The point of this is not to say what you write or practice verbatim, but to clearly articulate how you feel. Even if you get nervous or overwhelmed during the conversation, you can usually remember some of the things you wanted to say (instead of trying to think about how you feel, while also trying to have the conversation).

2. Say what you need to say THEN allow room for them to speak

Hard conversations are hard because we care about the other person. Allow yourself to say what you need and don’t hold back. If you stop yourself from saying what you truly feel and only touch on some points, then you’re pretty much back to where you started. However, it’s also good to get their point of view as well. Knowing where they stand on the issue can help you understand their perspective. From there, it can be easy to make changes if you are both on the same page. If not, there are other conversations that might need to be had and perhaps it is worth working out, perhaps not. If anything, at least you get to be transparent and honest with each other and know where you both stand.

3. Be true to yourself

Sometimes we try to protect the people we love most but forget about ourselves. When having a hard conversation, it’s inevitable that you will always worry about the feelings of the other person or else it wouldn’t be a hard conversation at all. Empathizing with those we love is not a bad thing. However, you can’t let the possibility of hurting their feelings stop you from truly voicing how you feel. It will be tough, but keep in mind that

1) hurting your partner’s feelings is not (well, shouldn’t be) your intentions and
2) it’s worse for your relationship and wellbeing to bottle up your feelings just because you are afraid of the outcome.
Author |
Couples Counselling
Dating and Relationships
KMA Therapy
mental health
self awareness
self care
Tools and Tricks
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