Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Hard Conversations

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You know those topics that are highly uncomfortable? The ones that you try to avoid at all costs?  Well, sometimes, those convos need to take place...especially when you want your relationship to go to the next level (being exclusive, moving in together, getting engaged).   It is important to remember that you are the only one in your own head.  Your partner doesn't know what you are thinking (that you don't want to live there, don't want to see other people or want to get engaged, NOW).  You have to be open and communicate how you feel and what you want.  If you choose not to have the hard conversations, well then, don't be mad when things don't go your way.  How was anyone to know?

So, how do you prepare yourself to get our of your comfort zone and say what is on your mind?  Well, frankly, you need to ask yourself if keeping quiet is really making you happy.  If you are frustrated, feeling resentful or find yourself arguing all the time, it is probably time to take a minute and get ready to have the hard conversations.  Set up a time, make some notes to help keep you focused and above all, be honest.

One of the most difficult conversations to have is the one regarding your future.  If you are in a relationship and see it being your "forever", then you need to say something.  Not in a creepy "marry me or else" way, but in a, "I love you and can see myself spending the rest of my life with you.  I hope you feel the same.  We have been together for _________(enter the month/year amount) and I think it is time we discuss our future".  Wouldn't you want to know if the person you are with doesn't see themselves with you and is just having fun when you are totally ready to settle down? I sure as heck would!

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I know I was always very open with my TH when we were dating about my intentions.  I had no interest in dating other people (he was my first real boyfriend and I knew I had hit the love lottery), and wanted nothing more than to be his wife.  I wanted to have a large family and my dream was to be a wife and a mother.  I never changed my tune and was open and honest from day one.  I did apply some loving pressure after five years (and one serious move for me), but that was me just being honest about how I felt.   When we were doing our wedding planning we decided to do pre-marital counseling, not only because it came highly recommended from my Uncle Jack (the minister who married us), but because I love any excuse to talk and get my TH out of his quiet shell.  Granted, we felt pretty confident that we knew everything about each other, but we figured it would be a good exercise for our relationship (again, I'm sure my TH would haven't minded if we didn't, but I this communication major was pumped!)

Many of the topics presented were really helpful in getting conversations started in areas that may not have come up otherwise.  What family values did we find most important?  What did we see our roles in our relationship were?   If we wanted children, how many, when did we want them and how would that affect the roles we saw ourselves in?  What did we value about our personal families and what did we want to change about our families?  How did we view finances and spending money?  Were we planning to share accounts or keep our finances separate?...And so the list went on....

While those conversations weren't always the most comfortable, they were a great to get it all out on the table so we could discuss our opinions and work together to decide what we wanted for our future.  Not only were those hard conversations some of the best we've ever had, but we learned from them and are always willing to be open with each other to communicate what we see for ourselves/our family and take into account how the other feels.  It has saved us a LOT of guess work into what the other was thinking/feeling and we have been able to spend way more fun being happy and enjoying each other.

So, if you are one who crawls within themselves when it is time to talk, ask yourself why.  If you love the person you are with, don't you want to be on the same page of the same book?  Or would you rather not say anything and pray you are dating a secret mind reader (highly unlikely...)  Trust me, that will only lead to problems down the road.  I've seen it first hand, don't wait around hoping it will get better, just talk it out!

So, what hard conversation have you been putting off that you may just have today?



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