Relationships require an impeccable amount of patience, trust and respect. One of the hardest parts of being in a relationship is having difficult, must-have conversations, so getting to the point where you are having healthy and open conversations with your partner can take time and practice. Don’t worry if you or your partner do not have great communication skills yet. If you are both willing to put in the time, there is no reason why you cannot build the best communication skills for your relationship. To get started, take a look at these tips on how to tackle difficult conversations with your partner.
Don’t Put Things Off
The worst thing you can do is to hold off on talking about something that is bothering you. If you let things go unsaid and let them build-up, it is only a recipe for disaster. Talk to your partner about things openly so there is constant communication between the two of you.
Identify The Real Problem
Have you and your partner ever argued about something small that turned into a major blow up? When things are left to build up, it can be hard to see where the anger initially stemmed from. Make sure you both ask yourselves what is triggering this emotion or reaction. Then start your conversation there.
Think Before You Speak
This doesn’t mean that you should keep things from your partner, it means that sometimes holding back what you want to say and really listening to what your partner has to say is all you need to do.
Use “I” Statements
In arguments, we immediately go for the “you” statements: “you don’t care how I feel,” “you never help around the house,” and so on. These statements can come off like an attack to the other person, which causes them to get defensive. When you are talking to your partner, try to make the shift from “you” statements to “I” statements. For example, “I feel like I don’t have the support I need around the house.”
Lay Ground Rules
If you and your partner don’t have ground rules for when you fight, things can get out of hand every once in a while. It is important to set boundaries and rules with your partner so that you refrain from calling each other names, bringing up the past, shutting down when upset, and so on.
Hearing criticism about yourself is never fun, but try to make sure that you and your partner respect each other when you do critique one another. Don’t let yourself get defensive, instead listen to what your partner has to say. It usually is, ultimately, coming from a place of love.
Don’t Try To Control Your Partner’s Emotions
Trying to control each other’s emotions is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. It is important to acknowledge that both partners have the right to feel their own feelings, and even if you don’t agree, you should respect one another.
Focus on Common Goals
When having difficult conversations with your partner, focus on what your goals as a couple are. Chances are if both partners don’t express what it is they want out of the conversation, someone is going to be left unsatisfied. If you recognize what your goals are, you can make the shift from argument to discussion.
Acknowledge Your Partner’s Feelings
Listen to and acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Most of the time, all we want is to be heard. The best thing you can do to diffuse an argument is acknowledge and support each other’s feelings, no matter how small.
Support Change in One Another
Long-lasting relationships go through many changes, both in the relationship itself and also within the individuals in the relationship. Change in any sense is a process, and it’s important to support your partner through changes so you can grow together.